Life Duty Death

Marty G. Price mprice at Ra.MsState.Edu
Sat Sep 9 07:21:34 EST 1995

Brief summary followed by long rant follows:

Swan recently offered some very extreme statements regarding our 
ecological future, and suggestions including some I vehemently disagreed 

A gentleman named Joseph Askew (hope I remembered the spelling of your
last name---offence not intended if I did not) replied with what I can
only conclude were some very dumb statements. i.e.---we are now living
better than ever. 

Mr. Askew: the former Soviet Union is in a state of ecological collapse.  
In their bureaucratic foolishness, its previous leaders created 
Chernopyl, leaking oil pipelines, open nuclear dumps, 
lakes-turning-to-deserts, .... (you get the idea); we in the West managed 
to fish out the greatest reservoir of ocean fish on the planet (the Grand 
Banks); if you want a list of a few of the species we've extinguished 
over the past few hundred years, pick up Farley Mowat's _Sea of 
Slaughter_.  The death count will open your eyes, if the book does not 
make you physically ill (officially list that as the book I *could not 
read*.  Made it about a quarter to half way through).  I could go on.

Twenty years ago, we in the *civilized* West probably hit the peak of our 
consumption/waste cycle.  Increases in net comfort since have been 
because we're become (blessedly) more efficient in our use of the Earth's 
resources.  Signs, albeit modest, of scarcity of some items are visible, 
just as signs of our economic instability (the increasing homeless 
population, etc.) have become more visible.  Some of these problems 
signal transition in our economy, not necessarily a bad thing if we react 
to them responsibly.  Others, however, signal growing long-term problems.

The world faces twin problems: self-destructive over-consumption in the 
West; similarly destructive population pressures in the less-industrial 

It's not a joke or a *plot*.  It is not necessary to believe, as Swan 
does, that human life is approaching its end, to appreciate the 
seriousness of the problem.  

We must learn to live in harmony with the Earth, or we and our 
descendents will live lives that are increasingly short, ugly, and brutish.

End of rant.

Blessed Be,

Red Deer

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