Humorist Will Rogers once quipped, “We sew wild oats six days a week. On the seventh, we pray to our religion for crop failure.” The problem is that our prayers have not been and will not be answered. Our “wild oats” have taken root. We have grown many problems and have created a destructive and unsustainable momentum. The evidence is everywhere apparent. We are aware of it. Our survival instincts inform us that we are in trouble.
We are depleting our resources: our forests, fisheries, range lands, croplands, and plant and animal species. We are destroying the biological diversity on which evolution thrives (this is being called the sixth great wave of extinction in the history of life on earth, different from the others in that it is caused not by external events, but by humanity). With new and powerful electrical and diesel pumping techniques, we are draining our aquifers and lowering our water tables. We are systemically polluting our air, water, and soil, and consequently our food chain. We are depleting the stratospheric ozone that shields us from harmful ultraviolet radiation. We are experiencing symptoms of global warming: heat waves, devastating droughts, dying forests, accelerated species extinction, dying coral reefs, melting glaciers, rising sea levels, more frequent and intense storms, and a more rapid spread of diseases.
The destruction of the natural world is not the result of global capitalism, industrialization, ‘Western civilization’ or any flaw in human institutions. It is a consequence of the evolutionary success of an exceptionally rapacious primate. Throughout all of history and prehistory, human advance has coincided with ecological devastation. – John Gray, author of “Straw Dogs”