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How Much Should We Protect?

August 23, 2011

The Chagos Marine Protected Area is the largest in the world. 

How much of the natural world – both oceans and land – should be protected?   

This question is being asked by the Zoological Society of London in a short, 1-minute survey.  Importantly, ZSL will then the results at Rio+20, a major meeting where the world’s governments will review the state of the planet.

I encourage you all to TAKE THE SURVEY!

Giving my two cents, I think we need to protect 30% or more of the planet.  I think we need such extensive, pristine environments for our survival, enjoyment, and remembrance of where we came from.  Yet only 6 percent of the Earth’s land surface receives some level of natural resource protection, and less than 0.5 percent of the ocean receives the same.  Meanwhile, member states of the Convention on Biological Diversity have set a target for 17 percent of land and 10 percent of the ocean to be protected.

I’ll add that 30% is not based on any analysis.  To my knowledge, we don’t yet have any clue as to how much we should really protect.  So 30% is my number.

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