|Why are you here?|
In the late 1960s, when the 'ecology' movement was in full flower, I was a graduate student in Sociology at Univ. of Michigan. I realized that the type of 'ecology' being advocated was inconsistent with a real understanding of ecology as a science. We were being asked to 'save the ecology'. Would we be asked next to 'save the theory of gravity?'. Leaving Michigan I went to Cornell where I taught a course in "Human Ecology" in which the central tenant was that the works of humans are a part of the system. I wonder if any of my old students from 1972 to 1974 are out there? I integrated readings from biological ecology , sociology, urban planning and population studies. We encoded some of the principals into a game, CLUG (Community Land Use Game) in which certain rules about transportation costs created an urban setting and put waste into streams etc.
Reading ISHMEAL and THE STORY OF B has been a breath of fresh air. I would like to re-connect with folks that think from a systems point of view.
The real problem for me was stated in the story of B where the author describes the accelerating growth of population in the past century. Extraporlating this into the future can we expect population to double in one year by the year 2050? It won't happen. The carrying capacity of the world will not allow it. We simply cannot distribute food and energy fast enough.
So what will happen? There is evidence from bilogical ecology to this point. If populations are allowed to exceed (or approach) their carrying capacity, social disorganization and famine results. This is shown in studies of rats given unlimite food but limited space. Also a study of an island in which deer were introduced and no hunting was allowed. In both cases, there were massive die-offs, murder and canabalism.
Human interation with the environment is mediated by politics. This does not remove us from the laws of life, it is simply a lens through which we focus much of our energy. And we have the bomb. And India and Pakistan and maybe Iran and maybe Iraq have the bomb.
Some humans will survive to the year 2100. The question is, what will be the nature of our social organization at that time?
The remaining question is what is the alternative? Do we dismantle our cities and return to hunting and gathering? Do we pratice less invasive agriculture without pesticides, herbicides or gas-powered tools?
I can't imagine this. However, in the 1960s I did not think I would see a free South Africa and now Mandella is free and in power. In our lives we have seen many things that were thought to be impossible.