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Saturday, October 13, 2007

What if it was another species?

What if it was another species?

Let's just take raccoons as an example. I know this is bizarre, but
suppose we were to discover that those cute raccoons were digging up coal and oil and burning it, and were also running various industrial processes that dumped mercury and lead and hundreds of chemicals into the air, soil and water. And in addition they were cutting down huge tracts of forest, using some of the wood, burning some of it, and letting some of it rot. Furthermore, they had increased their population to over 6 billion, and were inhabiting almost every region of the globe. And finally, both their population and these activities were predicted to steadily increase. Measurements showed that the composition of the atmosphere had changed markedly. Even the seas were slightly more acid, and poisonous chemicals could be detected in them. Raccoon trash could be found on the shores of the most distant pacific isle.

How would the human race react? How would YOU react to that news?

It seems pretty clear that the raccoons would be treated as worse than rats, and we would make war on them, trying to kill as many as possible.

But, as you know, the human race is doing all of those things. Because it's us, our attitude is different. Few people will advocate killing large numbers of humans in order to protect the biosphere. Although I love the earth and its plants and animals, I also love my children and friends and myself. I want the humans and the biosphere to both survive and be healthy.

That will not be easy to achieve. The present day habits and attitudes of the dominant human cultures are leading us slowly toward catastrophe. There are potential solutions, but they are complex, and require sustained effort by all major nations. The fundamental requirement is to change peoples attitudes and expectations, even aspirations. If most people in the world struggle to acquire a large vehicle and a large home we cannot avoid the catastrophe. Although science and technology played a major role in creating the problem, they are essential ingredients for solution.

I'm hoping that Earthchurch will help to change peoples attitudes, and to support the required technological innovations.



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