This is a question I am asking myself in the last weeks again and again. The motivation of thinking in this direction I got after reading a wonderful article written by Ralf Buckley, Can We Afford Wilderness?
I found it as a critically important subject to clarify to be able to continue in my personal commitment – to protect European wilderness! However I am not asking this question in the global context of ever-expanding human population pressures throughout the globe but very much because wilderness in Europe is still pretty much unknown concept.
My discussion with various European stakeholders usually ends up in the following questions: Do we have wilderness in Europe at all? Do we Europeans need wilderness? Can we Europeans afford to protect wilderness? Is wilderness really important for us – we have much more serious troubles and challenges in our daily life), etc.
Nevertheless the shocking information was mentioned at the beginning of the mentioned article: To afford something means to have enough money to buy it. The total cash cost to buy all the world’s remaining areas of high biological diversity at current local prices is less than annual US expenditure on soft drinks. Shocking!!!
And short conclusion: after weeks of thinking I have to admit that Ralf Buckley is right: the correct question is not if we can afford wilderness but: a more fundamental question is whether we can afford to lose wilderness… And this is even more relevant here in the crowded Europe!!!