Paving the Way for Nature

In conversation with George Monbiot and Alvaro Umaña-Quesada

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The loss of biodiversity due to human agricultural land-use is the global elephant in the room. Even though the High Seas Treaty and the Montreal Pledges are promising, urgent solutions to radically scale up biodiverse landscapes across the world remain out of sight. How do we prevent governments from forgetting past promises in favour of present gains?

According to George Monbiot, the time has come to drastically minimise the environmental impact of farming and let nature take its course. The idea is similar to what Alvaro Umaña-Quesada successfully introduced in his native country of Costa Rica. From the 1980s onwards, Costa Rica has been able to protect the rights of nature by paying landowners to protect old-growth forest areas and to plant new trees to contribute to reforestation.

Could such an approach work for Europe with its Common Agriculture Policy? What reforms of legal instruments and subsidies would be required to pave the way for nature?

Paved Paradise

This programme is a spin-off of Paved Paradise – a film by Hidde Boersma and Karsten de Vreugd that premieres the first week of April.


George MonbiotJournalist, zoologist, author of Feral and Regenesis
Alvaro Umaña-QuesadaCosta Rica’s first Minister of Environment
Jessica den OuterAuthor, Rights of Nature advocate
Frans SchepersCo-founder and executive director Rewilding Europe

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