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.
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