The Earth can take care of itself

Hungry African kidsDid you enjoy Earth Day?

Well, not everyone did. In fact, people in some equatorial countries are rioting over food shortages – a situation that even the slow-poke UN is worrying about.

One of the causes of spiralling food costs is the corn ethanol boondoggle. While it’s a good thing that we’re turning away from our dependence on oil derivatives, all the ethanol cars in the world will be of little comfort to hungry people … so we should probably be getting right behind the cellulosic ethanol researchers. And while we’re on the subject of cutting down on our oil diet, we could be making plastics from pig piss.

Perhaps you think I’m being a tree-hugger. If so, you’re missing the point. As happens so often, Jamais Cascio sums it up in the intro to an essay you should go and read:

The grand myth of environmentalism is that it’s all about saving the Earth.

It’s not. The Earth will be just fine. Environmentalism is all about saving ourselves.

[Supplementary links sourced from MetaFilter, Slashdot, BoingBoing and more; image by Felipe Moreira]

One thought on “The Earth can take care of itself”

  1. The Earth may be a system attempting to achieve homeostasis, but that does not ensure that it ‘can take care of itself’, nor is it fair to say that the environmental movement is just about human survival (though it certainly is when limiting the discussion to sustainability). A great deal of environmental effort is aimed at the preservation of natural habitat and at-risk species for their own sake. Moreover, if certain tipping points are reached in terms of global climate change, the massive changes in the Earth’s biosphere would leave the planet in a far, far different state than it has ever experienced, with the single greatest die-off in history.

    While some may say that’s just the Earth ‘taking care of itself’, a better analogy, given that this is an anthropogenic event, would be an experiment in which someone is given a potentially fatal virus and then simply observed to see if he/she survives. Whether the Earth, as a rock floating in space, continues to exist or not isn’t the issue. The issue is humanity’s responsibility for the damage it is knowingly causing, regardless of whether that damage comes back to haunt us or not.

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