07 November 2010


‎"In the end, our society will be defined not only by what we create, but by what we refuse to destroy."
--John C. Sawhill, Pres., Nature Conservancy (1990-2000); frontispiece quote in The Future of Life, by sociobiologist E.O. Wilson, who spent his formative years crawling on the ground near Mobile, AL, looking minutely at ants.

Perhaps proactively and collectively we should begin listing what we refuse to destroy. I fear, though, the process of accelerating ecological destruction has already been set in motion and environmental triage will necessitate saving a few places, habitats, and species, although this museumization of natural places is not assured, either.

It is a pessimistic view, certainly. It sounds like science fiction, but the status as internal, or domestic, environmental refugee might become a normal status, as many millions of people would need to move away from coasts.

I also foresee that many people who look for the fulfillment of "end-time" prophecy, would take a functionalist view. Functionalism, meaning the explanation of a process by reference to its function within some overarching and determining end point; in this case, end-time events seen as set in motion, and teleologically determined, by an inevitable end-of-the-world sequence of preordained events. I might have talked in a circle there! In any case, it is the idea of why do anything if it is preordained and inevitable. If one's eschatology is informed by the Book of Revelations, then just wait for the destruction.

Hopefully, and increasingly, many more people will develop the attitude of cherishing the Earth.

Jared Diamond, at the end of Collapse, sees one aspect of current life as a point of hope: our very connectivity (global communications), unlike previous civilizations that collapsed without knowing about others that previously collapsed or were in the same general time frame of collapsing, will communicate the (last-minute) need to take effective action. At that point, it might become a demand for instantaneous rectification!

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