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    thenewatlantis.comTed Nordhaus23 min
    5 reads10 comments
    9.0
    thenewatlantis.com
    5 reads
    9.0
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    • Pegeen
      Top reader this weekReading streakScoutScribe
      4 months ago

      “But it is to ask: what is nature for? What do we need from it and what do we owe it?” Really important questions. From my perspective, I feel I AM nature. I don’t separate myself from it. It IS that dreadful cliche that “we” are all connected.” I don’t feel that means just us humans. I feel it truly means the trees, the flowers, animals, birds, rivers, oceans - ALL of it. There’s just too much evidence to support that Nature has innate Intelligence just like us. I certainly don’t feel superior - quite the opposite. I think we owe nature respect, admiration, gratitude and love - everything we humans also need and deserve. Nature gives constantly - awe, peace, beauty, excitement, adventure and sometimes severe life lessons via disasters. We interfere too much only because we are so mindless, disconnected and arrogant.

      • Karenz
        Scribe
        4 months ago

        This is the first article I’ve read on climate change and such that gave me some hope we’re not all heading toward the Apocalypse! I agree with Pegeen that we are a part of nature as it is a part of us and we owe it reverence and respect. People who have lived among great apes and mule deer have a deep respect for the animals. I have it for trees and flowers and have been privileged to develop relationships with horses. I was happy to hear of the boards of professionals we have now studying and trying to protect nature.

    • jeff
      Top reader this weekScout
      4 months ago

      I absolutely loved this article. It puts in to words the optimism I feel about our ability as a species to continue to improve our quality of life well into the future despite some of the negative effects of technological progress such as global warming.

      In the Western imagination, a future of climate-fueled resource wars, famines, and mass migrations seems truly apocalyptic. It also roughly describes the human condition throughout most of our time on the planet.

      I think one of the biggest problems with eco-apocalyptic literature is the depiction of humans as an adversary of nature; that there was some perfect Garden of Eden that we came along and trashed for the fun of it. I think it's important to realize that there is no idyllic past to long for a return to.

      At the same time no one wants to live in a toxic waste dump. The best way to make sure that doesn't happen is to continue to incentivize innovation and make sure we're prosperous enough as a society to be able to afford the occasional cleanups and maintenance that are bound to be required along the way, and even those that aren't.

      The notion that we choose to protect nature for its intrinsic value perhaps gets closer to mark, in that it is ultimately an aesthetic commitment. One saves pupfish for the same reason one keeps Rembrandts and Picassos in the Louvre: Because we think they are beautiful, or at least because we think the idea of them is beautiful. Also, because we can.

      • Pegeen
        Top reader this weekReading streakScoutScribe
        4 months ago

        I certainly appreciate your view here Jeff. But reading about all the scientists and extreme measures taken to fix our abuse of nature reminds me of our supposed “health care system.” I truly believe we really don’t want a cure for cancer - the pharmaceutical companies are making too much money in the treatment of it. We need continued education and prevention on all fronts - health and environment.

        • jeff
          Top reader this weekScout
          4 months ago

          We need continued education and prevention on all fronts - health and environment.

          I'm with you there!

          I truly believe we really don’t want a cure for cancer - the pharmaceutical companies are making too much money in the treatment of it.

          I don't agree with this though. By this logic there wouldn't be any therapeutics available that cure, rather than manage, chronic conditions but there are in fact many. Also I think using "a cure for cancer" as an example is a bit of a strawman since there are over a hundred different types of cancer and it's very unlikely there would ever be a single cure for all of them in any case.

          I actually think the COVID-19 pandemic is a positive example of our ability to engineer our way out of problems at a global scale. Even in the absolute worst-case scenario of humans being directly responsible for producing and releasing the virus from a lab, in less than a year we not only got multiple safe and effective vaccines produced at a record pace, but also an entirely new method of creating them!

          • Pegeen
            Top reader this weekReading streakScoutScribe
            4 months ago

            Thanks Jeff, I see your point again. I tend to get triggered and make generalizations at times. I am typically not a fan of the pharmaceutical industry. They seem WAY too powerful and abusive of that power. I don’t feel they should be allowed to advertise on television. I fear we are becoming a “medicated” society - dependent and disempowered. But like you pointed out, there is no “one sided coin.”

      • Jessica4 months ago

        I think it's important to realize that there is no idyllic past to long for a return to

        I appreciate this perspective, Jeff.

        I often catch myself thinking, “the environment was better when ...” perspective, but I also don’t know what that “better” circumstance is supposed to look like.

        I read this article with a very calloused perspective the first time.

    • DellwoodBarker
      Top reader this weekReading streakScoutScribe
      4 months ago

      Even as our assaults continue, in many places nature is coming back. As continuing innovation has reduced the amount of land many regions need to grow food, forests are returning across the United States, Europe, and much of Asia and Latin America. The pupfish may be in trouble, but deer, coyotes, mountain lions, and countless other generalist species are thriving.

      To observe these things is not to make light of the plight of the pupfish or the Great Barrier Reef. Nor is it to suggest that we should not attempt to slow global warming. But it is to ask: What is nature for? What do we need from it and what do we owe it?

    • Jessica5 months ago

      The very first line to this article raises a compelling question.

      If a fish goes extinct in the desert but nobody knows it existed, did it ever actually exist?

      A very informative but also harrowing read. We can’t engineer our way out anymore, since the “fix the environment” process has engineering in cyclical loops. Of course amid all this, we inevitably prioritize human health and safety. It’s impossible to tell the perspective of another species from our own consciousness.

      • Pegeen
        Top reader this weekReading streakScoutScribe
        4 months ago

        Compelling read Jessica - thanks!