Wild Thing, You Make My Heart Sink
Wilderness is pretty much a thing of the past, says report
Regardless of whether humankind was given dominion over the earth, we’ve most certainly taken it. A new report in Science calculates that only 17 percent of global land mass has been untainted by human dwellings, agriculture, or roads. And that was as of 1995; we’d venture to guess that the percentage is even more depressing now. Speaking of depressing: Half of the planet’s land surface is used for crops or grazing, says the report, and nearly six times as much water is artificially stored by dams in the world than flows freely. Human-made wilderness areas don’t make the cut, writes coauthor Peter Kareiva of The Nature Conservancy: “In the modern world, wilderness is more commonly a management and regulatory designation than truly a system without a human imprint.” Things have gotten so bad, says the article, that conservationists should give up on protecting nature and instead shift their focus to managing a domesticated world. Guess Kareiva’s employer might want to look into a name change.