EARTH MEANDERS: The Only Way Forward Is Back to Gaia’s Garden

Geo-engineering madness will complete the destruction of the biosphere and human being(s). It is critical that we reject industrial geo-engineering, to instead embrace a program of sufficient global ecological protection and restoration.
By Dr. Glen Barry, EcoInternet
Earth Meanders come from Earth's Newsdesk
Human Hubris
Gaia (or the Earth System if you rather) is not a science project, it is alive (albeit sick) and fully inhabited. To speak of geo-engineering the climate before having exhausted local, national and international efforts to reduce emissions, protect and restore old forests, reform industrial agriculture, and other ecologically sufficient policies to sustain being, is rash and foolhardy. Continued ill-conceived technological, industrial diminishment of naturally operating ecosystems can only hasten and ensure global ecological collapse.
Sadly, President Obama's new science advisor, John Holdren, has indicated the administration is investigating geo-engineering — massive planetary alterations such as shooting aerosols into the upper atmosphere — to 'solve' climate change and associated ecological crises. The Obama administration is clearly signaling it is going to take a compromising, technology heavy approach to climate change policy. Social change and personal transformation necessary to achieve global ecological sustainability have received nary a mention.
Obama's climate policies will not be guided by what science tells us is required to stop hazardous warming. Rather, the U.S. government will only pursue policies that do not threaten economic growth, and rely upon more industrial technologies at the expense of natural ecosystems. Given America's history of exceptionalism, I suppose such hubris — going from doing nothing to address climate change, directly to seriously considering engineering the biosphere, completely skipping the stages of self-examination and national transformation — is to be expected.

Climate change is exhibiting itself as abrupt and highly unpredictable changes in climate consistency. So what we do now is throw more variability into the system? Geo-engineering will lead inexorably to more climate variability, biological diminishment and loss of natural ecosystems, precisely at the time when we must stop digging our ecological hole (grave). Surely there will be as many or more losers as winners as climate predictability breaks down further with unexpected outcomes. To even consider such outrageous actions distracts from the urgent measures that need to be taken now on energy efficiency, conservation, renewables and a whole host of ecologically sufficient policies that require sacrifice.
Geo-engineering is Madness, Shear Madness
Geo-engineering is a lot of malarkey and can never work. The atmosphere and biosphere of which it is part is simply too complex to manipulate in a dependable, predictable way. Humanity is unable to control exotic species, keep plastics out of the oceans, stop illegal logging and fishing, and provide clean water for all; yet now we have the ecological expertise and political will to commandeer the Planet?
For 3.5 billion years the Earth has maintained conditions conducive to life and continued evolution; and now, in order to avoid giving up and sharing with the poor our large homes, cars, air travel and other conspicuous consumption, humans (including scientists that should know better) are considering taking the risk of humans ourselves maintaining the atmosphere and all attendant water, energy and nutrient flows. Even considering this as an option puts off the necessary actions to stop climate change and onrushing global ecological collapse by falsely suggesting there are technologies to avoid the necessary social changes required to lighten and reverse humanity's footprint upon natural ecosystems.
Nothing even remotely comparable to humanity engineering the Earth's biosphere has been attempted. Fertilizing the oceans, making charcoal of its ecosystems to bury, space mirrors, aerosol sprays, giant umbrellas — are we crazy, or just in denial? Setting aside the ecological uncertainties for a moment, how would such a program be carried out socially? Who makes the rules of who can change the climate? I would suppose it is American business interests and not peasants more intimately dependent upon natural climatic patterns. What is proposed is similar yet even grander than Mao's Great Leap Forward and numerous megalomaniacal attempts to conquer the world throughout history.
Age of Ecological Restoration
Gaia is full of unbelievably varied, evolved, co-dependent and precious life. The biosphere, the relatively thin zone of life from under the soil and ocean depths, through terrestrial and marine ecosystems, to the top of the atmosphere; is the finely honed skin upon Gaia, of unbelievable complexity and sensitivity. Water and oceans are her precious blood. The sum total of over 3.5 billion years of evolution in organisms and Gaia, the super-organism, is a habitable Earth.
Eight millennia of forest clearance for agriculture, three hundred years of accelerating industrial fossil fuel dependence, and a century of growth in human population and inequitable consumption, have resulted in us all cutting and burning Gaia to death. We have misplaced our faith in technology, failing to understand it is the Earth System which supplies both natural and technological resources. You cannot eat a cell phone or money.
There exists a fundamental split between those that are willing to use technologies such as the Internet when they are appropriate, while generally proposing ecologically based policies; and those whose only response to environmental harm is further industrial technology at the continued expense of ecosystem diminishment. These decisions regarding which is the best path forward to global ecological sustainability — geo-engineering and continued economic growth, or ecological regeneration and powering down to a steady state economy– are questions of life and death for us all.
Humanity must return to nature, limiting our excesses, not complete her dismemberment. It is beyond our capabilities to dependably engineer a biosphere. At this moment of awakening of our oneness with the Earth, and the fact we have done her wrong, I intuit with all my being and ecological knowledge that we must return to nature's fold and not pursue more of the same resource industrialism that has brought us to ruin. A biosphere cannot be engineered, but it may be able to be restored. There is still time, just barely, to get back to Gaia's garden.
Restoring Gaia's Garden
Together the human family must commit itself to an Age of Ecological Restoration, disavowing geo-engineering proposals and minor reforms, in order to single-mindedly pursue global ecological protection and restoration. It is up to our best and brightest to aid ecosystems to regenerate with large-scale, targeted restoration ecology efforts placed to maximally benefit landscapes — both ecologically and in terms of sustainable agro-ecological food and other plant material production.
Significant ecosystems, animals and genetic materials still exist as seed stock and blueprints for the new garden. Restoring the Earth is labor intensive and will provide many jobs and means of sustenance from healthy land. And restoring old woodlands where they historically occurred will absorb massive amounts of carbon. This is a sort of geo-engineering, but based upon restoring the natural systems that we have ripped asunder.
The hairless ape with opposable thumbs must return to Gaia's garden and restore and expand natural ecosystems, while reclaiming the industrial agricultural landscape with agro-ecological farming such as permaculture and other systems of sustainable agriculture that renew natural resources, increase natural diversity and enrich local ecosystems.
Land degradation is a much larger component of climate change and general ecological decline than generally supposed. We must not prematurely give up on Gaia's resiliency and the ability of her ecosystems to be restored and to persevere, even as human industrial society powers down to avoid further ecological collapse.
Now is the time to return to the land, sea and water; and begin rebuilding core strictly protected ecosystems and buffering agro-ecological ecosystems of abundance and joy, adequate to maintain being for humanity and all Gaia's creatures. Natural systems continue to exist that can be restored and aided to regenerate. Important remnants exist as roadmaps and seeds to allow their expansion and reconnection.
We must reject further industrial capitalism, brought to a maddening crescendo with ill-conceived geo-engineering proposals, and instead allow ourselves to be bioengineered at Gaia's command. Together we can create with natural stocks, and our hands, minds and communities; Gaia's new, old garden.
One Year for Governments and Then a Stewardship Revolution?
We could choose to give one year for the current governments (with plenty of escalating protest action) to get their act together and start taking ecologically sufficient policy measures on climate, forests, water and oceans; and reject geo-engineering, or it will be our and the human family's deepest calling to take whatever actions are necessary to destroy the industrial growth machine and begin powering down industrial society.
A Stewardship Revolution to stop industrial ecosystem liquidation, including its intensification through geo-engineering, may best serve humanity and the Earth's long-term prospects. It may be better to crash the global industrial economy now, to relieve unsustainable pressures upon ecosystems, than to allow the technological madness to advance to a state where humanity and indeed all complex life are irreparably lost forever. A credible revolutionary threat may spur governments to required ecologically sufficient action.
A mighty buck deer comes to my window when the moon is full to tell me these things. And a lifetime of ecological education helps too. I have found my oneness with Gaia. I encourage you to do so too, by seeing the natural world around you, and what it is saying to you, and by studying and acting upon political ecology. When you understand and feel the enormity of looming global ecological collapse, which if not acted upon will devastate you and your family, I encourage you to act accordingly, and with suitable urgency, using all actions within your power.
We are fighting for shared survival. Please start by fully understanding that we will never, ever, ever be able to design and run a biosphere. To try is ecocide and must be resisted using all means necessary by all ecologically knowledgeable, clear minded and free thinkers. But we may be able to recreate natural ecosystems and new agro-ecological systems. There is one chance for the corporate/industrial/military complex controlled governments to get ecological sustainability policy right at Copenhagen in late 2009, and if they fail, it will be up to global citizens to take the biosphere into our own hands.


  1. Hallo, To say that Scientists should know better is False!!!Knowledge/Education does not mean that you are Conscious,As like so many they are driven by Greed and the Ego(I want recognition)Awareness is the key. Blessings Ivan

  2. Dear Dr. Glen,
    I am well pleased that you have not quit on your intimate thoughts and are sharing this with the EcoInternet Community! As a biology teacher, I find it difficult with all my encouragements….i.e., northern deciduous woodland and swamp habitat field trips, ecological enlightenment, right out my classroom door……teenagers are vastly run by hormonal impulses. My top students have excelled in nature's classroom. Climate change is ever so politically charged in the classroom…at my previous position 3 years ago in a public school, in a district of upper middle-class republicans….their was an overwhelming despising of me because I saw what was happening to the earth (I am extensively travelled in the neotropics) and the incredible speeding up of climate change. Twelve years ago our grand-kids would be dealing with it, six years ago our children and now we are seeing the end of nature. My students mostly don't care that we are in Earth's 6th great extinction spasm. The media has perfected the art of relegating nature to at the very most, the last 2 minutes of the national news. A shooting in New York State draws the national media's focus while the collapse of the Wilkens Ice Shelf is just another minor point in the continuing saga of rapid climate disintegration. I would have rather seen an ice sheet from the mainland the size of Maine break off and wake the planet up (if possible)! That would have surely raised sea-level by several inches. Obviously these ice shelves are holding back land based ice. I agree on the restoration of Gaia…..a key novel I embrace is Thoreau's Walden. The one word….SIMPLIFY>>>is ever present in my mind. Having lived with families in the rainforest of Peru and Costa Rica, I see the world through eyes of everyday needs. I have a very difficult time believing North Americans are anywhere near this concept and still are clueless on earth's dire state. The realm of comfort will be witnessing some major shocks in the next several years…..let's see the Einstein's of the world dig us out of this pit!
    Sincerely, Karl
    P.S. Maybe they'll send some of the worlds best into the Yellowstone Caldera to stimulate an atmospheric particulate reflective response….

  3. You say that credible revolutionary threat may spur governments to required ecological sufficient action. In the vast majority of developing nations (where much of the action will need to take place) the people will not go on the barricades at all, or only when they are hungry or politically oppressed. You can't tell an illegal logger in Sumatra to stop doing what he does if you not give him another means to support his family. Gaya's old, new garden can only come about if there is a pay check at the end of the month for the gardeners who care for it.

  4. Activist here and gardener and educator etc etc. Working with youth in the cities to give hope and earth and mulch and worms and food and flowers and adults too.
    I will keep trying to keep the coal in the mountains and dancing as should we all, but a huge die off is coming and the total collapse of the “western” world. That simple. Chief Seattle was right, they will not stop until every tree is cut. But, they will be maxed out by then too. So till then…
    That said, someone needs to be more clear, there needs to be a stop to all the children people are having. It is a mania. Really. A newly inspired poetics and art of not procreating to sink into peoples consciousness.

  5. Dear Sir:
    This is too important for words. Thank you for your gigantic effort trying to save the Earth and all that still exists on it. Hope enough people help to make it a fact.
    I am a 78 year old woman and made an error I am unable to correct when signing. If you receive these words please keep me up dated with your efforts.
    Thanks Maria

  6. Interesting essay..If this guy's not a pagan, he should be. Gaia as a living entity is a common neo-pagan theme.

  7. thanks for your treatise – as usual, I agree with every word. Buddha sat under a tree and Enlightenment came his way. How much will it take to get through to the thickos in government what is needed? It is all down to Superman, Batment and the other Marvel heroes – politicians believe it can all be solved by Man's intervention. Keep me informed. We work here to save our wee bit of Scotland – my friends and I have 4 nature reserves. I have just been for 4 pints of real beer and when I got in I tried a can of my son's beer from an aluminium can – I could taste the metal; what a difference! The populace are so inured to what is happening that they cannot taste the difference between the ersatz from the real. Greer Hart

  8. The concurrent economic, social and ecological challenges are GAIA's voice trying to help us awaken. The overall challenge facing us is one of conciousness as that determines our actions which determine our footprint. As far as climate change is a result of human activity (nobody knows how much is attributable to us)it is only an impact of part (eg energy consumption) of the 3rd level of 'the problem' (ie the components of footprint). We need to become more concious as a species of how we interact with each other and the earth. Science can only act at the 3rd and 2nd levels and because science today is money driven, it can't even do that properly! I think it was Einstein who said you cannot solve a problem by dealing with it at the level it was created. Many in our world believe more in the life force of a dollar bill, a computer or a part of life created in a laboratory than in GAIA or a peasant. That is unconcious awareness. Media is the way to raise conciousness and change human behaviour in modern society.
    The Indigenous cultures of the world have much to teach us yet many have been bought to their knees by materialistic global living.

  9. Hi Glen, As usual your unvarnished truth is a bracing reminder of the peril we face. So the big question is what to do to break through the logjam of conventional thinking.
    Here are my ideas:
    Obama has allocated considerable funding to energy conservation and efficiency. This is good as far as it goes, but we can and need to do much more of it. It is the cheapest and most effective way to reduce our carbon footprint immediately.
    We need a carbon tax. This idea has gotten a lot of traction recently, but it still is a very difficult sell, politically. My proposal is to push for a modest gas tax increase immediately, say 50 cents/gallon, and then raise it each year over the next 10 years until we reach $5/gallon. The incremental aspect of this approach may make it more palatable. It will also give carmakers and consumers time to adjust to it in an orderly fashion, thus removing some of sting.
    We have got to stop population increase. That is the most basic source of our problem. I am not a feminist per se, but I am now convinced that improving the lot of women in developing nations will reduce rampant population growth and eliminate a lot of misery along with it. Developed countries are already doing a good job keeping population growth in check.
    OK, these are not exactly new ideas nor a complete list, but the problem of course is how to get them implemented. We face the well-financed agenda of big industry, who prefer paying for window dressing ads touting their green credentials as opposed to taking real action. We also have a public that is preoccupied with celebrity gossip and is unwilling or unable to see beyond the next few weeks.
    On the other hand, we have made major progress in public perception. Global warming was considered a joke a couple of years ago, now it is an accepted part of public discussion and the naysayers are on the defensive. People are becoming much more sensitive to environmental issues, although this attention often results in fairly trivial "feel good" action. We proudly use reusable shopping bags so now we think we are off the hook.
    Finally, the deep financial crisis paradoxically has given us a window of opportunity. People are deeply troubled economically and have lost a lot of faith in the unconstrained capitalism that has run rampant for so many years. They are questioning the validity of many deeply held assumptions about what makes for a good and successful society. While people are in this questioning mood, we must find a way of getting our message across more forcefully and help them to redefine their thinking along lines that will get us out of the mess we are in.
    We have many organizations committed to environmental action, each with its own set of priorities and objectives. We have some very big pocket activists, Bill Gates being the big Kahuna in that crowd. I think it is time to close ranks, set our specific concerns aside for the moment and address the fundamental problems.
    We, the folks who are reading this, all belong to one or more environmentally oriented organization, such as the Sierra club or the Auduban society. We should contact the leadership of these organizations and request that they convene a meeting to define objectives and a global strategy for implementation. In other words, we should have an environmental United Nations, hopefully more effective than the real United Nations. With a common set of objectives and a pooling of resources, we can be a political voice that rivals that of Exxon and the coal industry. By getting our act together we will also increase our credibility with legislators and maybe even get Bill Gates to part with a few billions.
    What do you say? Shall we give it a try?
    Paul Rosenberger

  10. The preservation of Earth's body and environs, and its maintenance as a fit place for human habitation, could be initiated so simply, sensibly and responsibly by following “Ten Commandments” for immediate economic reform.
    Ten principles for a Black Swan-proof world
    By Nassim Nicholas Taleb
    Published: April 7 2009 20:02 | Last updated: April 7 2009 20:02
    1. What is fragile should break early while it is still small. Nothing should ever become too big to fail. Evolution in economic life helps those with the maximum amount of hidden risks – and hence the most fragile – become the biggest.
    2. No socialisation of losses and privatisation of gains. Whatever may need to be bailed out should be nationalised; whatever does not need a bail-out should be free, small and risk-bearing. We have managed to combine the worst of capitalism and socialism. In France in the 1980s, the socialists took over the banks. In the US in the 2000s, the banks took over the government. This is surreal.
    3. People who were driving a school bus blindfolded (and crashed it) should never be given a new bus. The economics establishment (universities, regulators, central bankers, government officials, various organisations staffed with economists) lost its legitimacy with the failure of the system. It is irresponsible and foolish to put our trust in the ability of such experts to get us out of this mess. Instead, find the smart people whose hands are clean.
    4. Do not let someone making an "incentive" bonus manage a nuclear plant – or your financial risks. Odds are he would cut every corner on safety to show "profits" while claiming to be "conservative". Bonuses do not accommodate the hidden risks of blow-ups. It is the asymmetry of the bonus system that got us here. No incentives without disincentives: capitalism is about rewards and punishments, not just rewards.
    5. Counter-balance complexity with simplicity. Complexity from globalisation and highly networked economic life needs to be countered by simplicity in financial products. The complex economy is already a form of leverage: the leverage of efficiency. Such systems survive thanks to slack and redundancy; adding debt produces wild and dangerous gyrations and leaves no room for error. Capitalism cannot avoid fads and bubbles: equity bubbles (as in 2000) have proved to be mild; debt bubbles are vicious.
    6. Do not give children sticks of dynamite, even if they come with a warning . Complex derivatives need to be banned because nobody understands them and few are rational enough to know it. Citizens must be protected from themselves, from bankers selling them "hedging" products, and from gullible regulators who listen to economic theorists.
    7. Only Ponzi schemes should depend on confidence. Governments should never need to "restore confidence". Cascading rumours are a product of complex systems. Governments cannot stop the rumours. Simply, we need to be in a position to shrug off rumours, be robust in the face of them.
    8. Do not give an addict more drugs if he has withdrawal pains. Using leverage to cure the problems of too much leverage is not homeopathy, it is denial. The debt crisis is not a temporary problem, it is a structural one. We need rehab.
    9. Citizens should not depend on financial assets or fallible "expert" advice for their retirement. Economic life should be definancialised. We should learn not to use markets as storehouses of value: they do not harbour the certainties that normal citizens require. Citizens should experience anxiety about their own businesses (which they control), not their investments (which they do not control).
    10. Make an omelette with the broken eggs. Finally, this crisis cannot be fixed with makeshift repairs, no more than a boat with a rotten hull can be fixed with ad-hoc patches. We need to rebuild the hull with new (stronger) materials; we will have to remake the system before it does so itself. Let us move voluntarily into Capitalism 2.0 by helping what needs to be broken break on its own, converting debt into equity, marginalising the economics and business school establishments, shutting down the "Nobel" in economics, banning leveraged buyouts, putting bankers where they belong, clawing back the bonuses of those who got us here, and teaching people to navigate a world with fewer certainties.
    Then we will see an economic life closer to our biological environment: smaller companies, richer ecology, no leverage. A world in which entrepreneurs, not bankers, take the risks and companies are born and die every day without making the news.
    In other words, a place more resistant to black swans.
    The writer is a veteran trader, a distinguished professor at New York University's Polytechnic Institute and the author of The Black Swan: The Impact of the Highly Improbable

  11. Dr. Barry,
    Having worked behind the scenes in government for over two decades, I've seen first hand the roll that momentum plays in decision making processes for government officials. Their intentions are for the most part honorable, but they'll take no radical paths unless forced to by radical circumstances.
    But the essential truth comes down to the question: How do you feed, clothe, house, tranport, and generally care for the nearly 7 billion humans upon this planet? This is the question that governemts face every day, and when faced with making decisions, they take the path that appears the safest and most likely to succeed.
    The other big factor is the reluctance of well-off humans to give up their comforts and addiction to consumption. This addiction to the consumer lifestyle is like a plaque the quickly infects societies that become more affluent. Once people begin to taste the supposed “comforts” avaialabe at the Walmarts fo the world, they are not likely to give them up willingly.
    So you have two major hurdles in your way before humans will willingly “retrun to the garden” of Gaia– the inertia of government, and the consumer driven economy.
    In the face of all this, I am personally an optimist and believe in the wisdom of Gaia to heal herself. She already is reacting to what has become a human infection across her face, in her waters, and even in the air that surrounds her. Homo Sapiens began as a minor species, almost wiped out several times by ice ages, and finally during just the last ten thousand years, rapidly growing in numbers and technology to have become a threat to the whole balance of ecosystems across Gaia. But this ten-thousand years of human explosion is but a mere blink of an eye to Gaia, and now she's already mounting responses to the infection.
    As a side note, I am particularily amused by the “consumer green” people– those who buy a Prius for example, as a way to “save” the planet. They would seem to want to have their cake and eat it too. Do they realize how destructive the mere production of their “green” car is to Gaia? If you want to return to the garden, you'll have no car at all!
    In the face of what has already started and what will come (drought, plague, water wars, etc.)One can't but help ask the question: Am in helping or hurting Gaia's cause by even wanting human civilization to continue? Or, is it better that human civilization collapse and small bands of humans remain, living by necessity closer to the earth, and returning to the “garden of Gaia” out of necessity? What I'm saying is: either way, Homo Consumerus can not survive, as Gaia can't allow it, and those who voluntarily return to being Homo Sapiens, living close to the earth (in the sense that indiginous people such as Native Americans did) are the ones whose genetic offspring are the most likely to carry on the human family.
    R. Gates

  12. Hi Glen,
    I totally agree. The need for restoring the ecosystems of the planet is
    critical.But we have to deal with the huge human population that now
    occupies the land. This is why I began working on Analog Forestry thirty
    years ago.
    I belive that we have to use such tools, designed on natures processes
    rather than the deadly

  13. Dear Glen
    Beautiful article.
    Obama is still on the messiah track. He got a considerable proportion of his votes by misleading people to believe he is
    concerned about the earth's well-being. He is just trying to make money for big-business and himself. No better than Bush.

  14. Dear Friends,
    Wonderful discussion. The ideas generated here appear vital to me. While I agree with everyone who says no one can predict the future, I also believe we can likely agree that if the human community keep doing precisely what we are doing now, we will keep getting what we are getting now.
    One indication of faulty reasoning and extreme foolishness, I suppose, would be for us to believe that we can keep overconsuming, overproducing and overpopulating as we are doing now and somehow achieve different results from the ones in existence now.
    If, for example, by doing “more of the same business-as-usual activities” that we are doing now, we could be leading our children down a “primrose path” to a recognizably horrendous fate of some unknowable kind, would reason and common sense not suggest a change in behavior?
    We have self-proclaimed Masters of the Universe among us who are recommending to the children that all of us can live large and long; that we can conspicuously consume limited resources, pollute the frangible environment, overpopulate the finite planet and ravage the Earth……just the way they are insisting all of us do now. These arrogant and avaricious leaders are living examples of patently unsustainable lives and, yes, they take pride in their gigantic ecological 'footprints' and lifestyles based upon excessive consumption and unbridled hoarding. If our children were to keep doing what my not-so-great generation of elders are adamantly advocating and doing now, what is likely to become of them?
    My growing sense of frustration results from a realization that remarkably clear, intellectually honest and morally courageous reports from so many responsible and duty-bound scientists show us that the Masters of the Universe are determined to deny what could somehow be real and not to speak publicly about what they believe to be true regarding the predicament in which the family of humanity finds itself in these early years of Century XXI. Even worse, their minions with leadership responsibilities and duties in environmental organizations have collusively been enjoined from speaking about whatsoever they believe to be true. As a consequence, a conspiracy of silence has been established among all these leaders and the absurdly enriched talking heads in the mass media who eschew intellectual honesty and moral courage in favor of reporting repetitively about whatsoever is politically convenient, economically expedient, socially agreeable and religiously tolerated.
    The silence of so many leaders is deafening, while the duplicitous, disinformational chatter of the talking heads is morally outrageous. What is much worse, sad to say, is that the determination of these leaders and the talking heads to live large and long in such stupendously unsustainable ways — come what may for the children — is not only grossly irresponsible, it is a profound dereliction of their duty to warn, I believe.
    Perhaps change is in the offing.
    Sincerely yours,

  15. Hi Glen,
    I totally agree. The need for restoring the ecosystems of the planet is
    critical.But we have to deal with the huge human population that now
    occupies the land. This is why I began working on Analog Forestry thirty
    years ago.
    I belive that we have to use such tools, designed on natures processes
    rather than the deadly

  16. The reality is that the vast majority of our leaders and citizens worldwide believe that technological improvements will both raise the overall standard of living of the majority of the population and mitigate the excesses of consumerism that are contributing to climate change. As a species we want to control. Communication and technology will only continue its increasing pace and each new success will fuel new innovations. Will we succeed in reversing the climate impacts of our actions and the pressure of too many people? No, of course not, but people need to believe we can solve our problems and we will keep trying. I believe we will make progress in slowing our negative impacts on the environment, but it will not be enough Those of us that are young enough will live to see major upheavals across this planet. One way or another, this century will be the turning point in the history of man's integration into the biosphere.

  17. The more biodiversity an ecosystem has, the more stable & productive it is. Unfortunately, mass extinctions are happening now at unprecedented rates as the human population grows. We alter species' habitats through agriculture, deforestation, urbanization, & global warming. And once a species is extinct, it is gone forever.
    If biodiversity is preserved, not only would more animal species survive, but we would also have a potential cushion for all future food & pharmaceutical needs. Throughout human history, there are about 7000 plant species that have been gathered for food, but more than 30,000 plant species have edible parts. There are still thousands of undiscovered potential food resources to find & develop, but only if the species are identified, inventoried, & protected. If they go extinct, we obviously can't do that.

  18. Dear R Gates, Cassie and Friends,
    Thanks for speaking out. As all of you know so well, if the leaders of the human community keep advocating precisely what they are doing now, then the explosion of global human numbers will soon enough become patently unsustainable on a planet with the size, composition and fragile ecologies of Earth.
    Please note the silence of so many on this topic. That silence is the thing to be most feared, I believe. There is no global threat so great as humankind's leaders' elective mutism with regard to notifying the public about humanity's central role in recklessly dissipating Earth's finite resources and relentlessly degrading Earth's ecology. Such outrageous behavior could have the effect of ruining the planetary home God has blessed us to inhabit as fit place for human habitation. If people do not speak out now, then human civilization, life as know it and the integrity of Earth and its environs will be put at risk soon…………much sooner than most people imagine.
    Good people everywhere, the willful silence of knowledgeable leaders and followers is a colossal mistake with profound implications for the future of life on Earth. Please, speak out loudly, clearly and often. Say whatsoever you believe to be true and real regarding the human predicament in which humankind finds itself in these earliest years of Century XXI.
    With highest regard for what all of you are doing, I remain

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