I don’t see “becoming Leavers” as something to be achieved directly, the way people “become Christians” or “become scientists.” It isn’t a matter of living a certain way or of doing more of this and less of that. I think of it this way. If there are still people here in the year 2100, they will not be living the way we do (because if people go on living the way we do, there won’t be any people here in the year 2100). They won’t be living the way we do because they won’t be thinking of themselves and the world the way we do. We think of ourselves as belonging to an order of being that is higher than and separate from the rest of the living community, and if people go on thinking this way, the human race is going to become extinct. One of the worst results of thinking of ourselves as belonging to a higher and separate order of being is that we imagine that as our population grows, the rest of the living community remains the same (because it’s separate from us), whereas in fact, the biomass that we’re adding to the human population comes directly from the rest of the living community. As conservatively estimated, up to 200 species a day are becoming extinct to support our growth–their biomass is either being lost (contributing to the desertification of the world) or is being converted into our food (and ultimately into our biomass). If there are still people here a hundred years from now, they will know that they’re not separate from the rest of the living community (and will be living accordingly). In short, they will have become Leavers–but how exactly they will be living is beyond my powers of prognostication. All I can say with certainty is that it’s possible for people to live here sustainably. I’m rather like a physicist in the year 1890 who might have been able to say with certainty that heavier-than-air flight is possible–without knowing exactly how it would eventually be achieved.
posted: 11 Dec 2000
updated: 01 Apr 2002
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