European Wilderness Society

The public land of future generations

What do you think of appointing future generations as owners of protected public land. Is this legally possible? Probably not, but let’s explain and play with the idea further.

The concept is simple: as soon as a public land (a.k.a. state owned or crown land in kingdoms) is designated for protecting biodiversity the land owner will not be the state (that is led by politicians), the king or the queen, but the un-born future generations.

Why? As this people are not reachable the land would be locked for conservation. The famous quote of ‘We do not inherit the earth from our ancestors; we borrow it from our children’ would suddenly get a true meaning. We would become visitors of the land that belongs to our children, grand children, grand-grand children, but we would not be able to change its ultimate land use: nature conservation!

The idea came from the land purchase concept of Manfred Mann’s Earth Band. More than 25 years ago when the environment movement was in its infancy, Manfred Mann bought 10 acres of wild and desolate hillside near Builth Wells. The pop star then proceeded to give it all away, offering fans who bought a copy of Manfred Mann’s Earth Band LP, The Good Earth, a square foot parcel of land along with their 10 new music tracks.

Their idea was that – as the land ownership was so much divided (and no one really know who bought the LP) – no one will be able to build upon this land and it will be kept just as it is for ever – a gift to future generations. Brilliant idea!

Let us take a step further buy saying that the unborn generations as owner will be ensured that protected public land remains protected for their health and wealth.

Finally this concept should be accompanied with purchasing land for Wilderness preservation in Europe. We must put public and private funding into purchasing land for future generations in order to increase Wilderness cover in Europe. Buying land with the purpose of giving it to future generations is not an old-fashion way of nature conservation in Europe, but the the best way to guarantee Wilderness preservation in Europe (however this deserve another post on our website).

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