On Monday, I went to a training course on using WordPress. I was really looking forward to learning how to add images (nae laughing!) and what I did wrong when trying to add a Twitter button. Sadly, time did not allow for this but it did make me think I should dust off the Cheery Pessimist and at least say hello to the 2 people with an RSS feed!
My problem is time – I do not know how people find the time to write. Or to garden. Or to cook. Or to visit friends. Yeah, my problem is myself! Anyhoo, I found myself commenting on a blog so the least I can do is cut & paste it here. Then at least I’ve managed 2 posts this year.
Having a wee break from reviewing climate justice papers (so interesting yet so depressing!), I had a look at Twitter and came across a tweet on wilderness, which led the this blog. Which stimulated the following stream of thought…
This debate seems to be another example of disagreement stemming from perceptions – what we see people as being. Surely it’s not whether any people live on a piece of land, it’s what they do to that piece of land in order to live on it that matters. Do they destroy every obviously useful ecosystem and then move on, or do they live in ecological balance with it for generations – millennia, even?
Our problem is that we don’t seem able talk honestly and openly, rationally even, about what ‘civilisation’ and ‘progress’ are. We won’t accept that nature simply cannot keep giving what we think we need. Economies cannot keep growing – even under the false flag of making poverty history. How about making millionaires history too? Balance up the equation a bit.
I understand and sympathise with both sides of the wilderness argument because neither side gets this fundamental problem of how we live and of what we mean by ‘development’. It’s the same for energy. One side says we absolutely need renewables while the other says they cannot replace fossil fuels. Both are right but they rarely slap their foreheads and give each other a hug as they rush off to radically reduce their energy demand.
John Muir came from a time before oil, before huge opencast mines and mountain-top removal, before extinction rates and pollution were understood. Back in the days when our own bees could pollinate crops and most people knew how to feed themselves. When Muir was born, only a billion people walked the Earth & most of them lived ‘sustainably’ compared to what we do today. It does make you wonder what he’d think if he saw us today.
That’s another of these areas of disagreement – population. I have no idea if current systems of intensive, fossil-fuelled food production could, theoretically, feed everyone if only we wasted nothing and distribution was fair. I don’t know – reports vary. But I’d bet my arse that such systems cannot be sustained, even if population growth was falling.
It’s our mindset which has to change, our attitude to all people, rich and poor, and to ALL species, not just those we have a use for or which look cute. I long for the day when we don’t have to protect nature from ourselves.