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« Only a matter of time... | Main | Forsaking all others...Dulcinea, be mine »

22 February 2007


Comandante Agi

We’re in need of a paradigm shift, indeed.

Here’s a passage from William Cronon’s Nature's Metropolis that is quite apropos to your discussion. (It’s from the introduction – the book is a history of Chicago during the mid to late 1800s).

On the other hand, our nostalgia for the more “natural” world of an earlier time when we were not so powerful, when the human landscape did not seem so omnipresent, encourages us to seek refuge in pastoral or wilderness landscapes that seem as yet unscarred by human action. Convinced of our human omnipotence, we can imagine nature retreating to small islands—“preserves”—in the midst of a landscape which otherwise belongs to us. And therein lies our dilemma: however we may feel about the urban world which is the most visible symbol of our human power—whether we celebrate the city or revile it, whether we wish to “control” nature or “preserve” it—we unconsciously affirm our belief that we ourselves are unnatural. Nature is the place we are not.

Hey Mr Fundamental,

If all those thousands of miles of streams are so pristine, what do you think about bellying up and taking a tall drink out of them?

Just wondering is all.

Crusader AXE

Actually, my long silent now energized and excellent brother meant "piss-stream..." We're defeatists, not idiots. Well, that may not be mutually exclusive.

mr. fun

oh oh teachable moment!...monkey (who probably would fling poo at me if we met) is on to something. heh. I got a friend in (surface) water treatment who is always hounding me about dirty runoff costing him and his clients more money. so really if you're going to tax for the water protection or whatever then that money should go to help actual people affected by it. but instead we get blanket taxation and people with too much time and information on their hands to know what to do with any of it trying to preserve wilderness or whatever their ideal world is. heck I wouldn't drink from a 'clean' stream anyway - there might be a dead animal upstream I'm not aware of oozing into it. clean is an illusion. you should talk to my microbial ecologist friend. you'd have to scrub yourself right off the planet to get rid of all the dirt and organisms on your person. as for fairness to all life on the planet: whatever, I've seen a coyote in NYC. and even my version of perfect still includes you, monkey. for whatever that is worth.

mr. fun

and thanks Agi - I think our planet is a lot more flexible and tolerant of us than we are of it (and ourselves).

aXe to the rescue!


Mr. Fun, you may be (mildly) pleased to learn that a serious reevaluation of many of the concerns you've raised is an ongoing practice in environmental circles. The best example I've seen so far is the No Hair Shirts effort. There are also some goodwill efforts to close gaps between people of apparently irreconcilable differences. Will any of it be widely adopted? No, of course not. The very worst solutions, such as the already failed carbon-trading corporate welfare scheme, and the punitive liberalism of personal carbon allowances will be put in place.

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