Winning the Battle

Santa Cruz, Bolivia forest conversion between 1975 and 2003.  Source:  NASA.

Santa Cruz, Bolivia forest conversion between 1975 and 2003. Source: NASA.

Modern man does not experience himself as a part of nature but as an outside force destined to dominate and conquer it. He even talks of a battle with nature, forgetting that, if he won the battle, he would find himself on the losing side. Until quite recently, the battle seemed to go well enough to give him the illusion of unlimited powers, but not so well as to bring the possibility of total victory into view. This has now come into view, and many people, albeit only a minority, are beginning to realize what this means for the continued existence of humanity. — E. F. Schumacher, Small is Beautiful

As in military campaigns, one can gain superiority technologically or the old fashioned way, with overwhelming numbers of troops.  In the battle Schumacher refers to, humanity is at a tipping point where it is bringing both an army measured in billions and equally overpowering modern technologies compared to the dynamics of the biosphere.  Humans now can, if not careful, literally win the battle and lose the war.

Advertisements

About qdwheeler

Quentin Wheeler is the 4th president of the State University of New York College of Environmental Science and Forestry
This entry was posted in Uncategorized and tagged , . Bookmark the permalink.