We cannot win a war against nature. Nor should we persist in our war against nature more broadly. That is the message of the UN’s sober but devastating report into biodiversity that warns human overpopulation is harming the very plant and animal species on which we rely for survival. It’s hard to get one’s head around the UN forecast that up to 1-million of the planet’s estimated 8-million species now face extinction. The assessment says that our dominant species is now eroding the ecosystems that form the foundations of our economies and our quality of life. The debate is no longer simply about ethics and cuddly polar bears; it has become about self-interest and the need to preserve those ugly but essential creatures, insects and nematodes, which are vital to pollination and soil fertility. Perhaps, as a result, it will gain more traction. A “background” level of extinction, an ebb and flow of species, is perfectly normal. Some species die out because they are poorly adapted; some...

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