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An epiphany about humans and nature

18. August 2008 by Erle 0 Comments

Appropriately enough, I'm going to begin with a thought that pushed me to start this blog, which I recorded on the morning of August 8, during the Ecological Society of America annual meetings in Milwaukee.  I was taking a break from the conference and reading an article in the New Yorker about the neurobiology and uniqueness of human insight, which finished with the line: "and then he lit a match".  This led me to the thought that by our collective "lighting of the match", which has changed the earth with technology forever, we as humans are doing exactly what the pinnacle of Earth's evolutionary process should be doing.  Perhaps we humans are the next stage of Earth's evolution and it is good and natural that we are now in control of nature and are changing it as we are.  Maybe this is the way things should be, and all of the things we are doing to the earth are right and good, and exactly as nature intended! 

This does not imply that pollution or global warming or biodiversity loss are good because anything that we do is good!  The fascinating thing is that we know that these things are not good- everyone can recognize that there is nothing good about these things.  Many have not made an effort to deal with or change our activities to avoid these negative impacts of the way that we are managing/changing earth systems, and some deny that they are significant or even happening,  But no one will claim that these are good things.  I am therefore confident that as long as our social systems allow us to continue with our earth changing powers, we will evenentually repair much of the damage, and avoid the worst of these things in the long run. 

On the other hand, there is no "big picture" guiding the diverse desires of our populations and societies- and we have forgotten where we are in the world by failing to see the larger result of our activities and growing powers.  Fortunately, it does seem that we are waking up to the fact that without paying attention to what we are doing, we can very easily destroy the things that we love and desire, at great cost, even at the cost of losing them without possiblity of replacement.  Whenever we roll over, things get crushed, and sometimes, it is then too late to do anything about this.  Our best hope is to learn as populations and societies to keep the big picture always in the picture, to make the inevitable results of our earthchanging powers beneficial to all of us in the long term...


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