Saturday, October 13, 2007

I wish I weren't thinking about this. All the time.

It's Blog Action Day (it will be on Monday, anyhow) and the theme is the environment. At the very least, both the goldfinches (and the other passeriforms and aves in general, and in fact life on Earth) and the fiber bearers (sheeps and camelids mostly, most of whom are domesticated) need fairly specific ones. I had not realized that the two in my title were so opposed, one being wild and one being mostly domesticated. One being part of the ecology and largely dependent, one being a part of the ecology that gets really a lot of technological help and, given enough, will degrade the environment in which it lives well beyond the area's capacity to carry it.

I love a good polarization.

People are part of nature. We are a reflective part of nature, which allows us to do things to our environment ("I could farm here if there weren't so many trees"), and eventually to consider what it is we are doing ("I can't farm here now that it doesn't rain... I wonder if it has something to do with the lack of trees?"). The latter has only become widespread as people have spread into all the habitable ground and the effects of intense exploitation have become unavoidable. It is only a recent part of human life to HAVE TO consider ourselves part of our environment; most of the human experience has been about most becoming part of the humic layer real soon.

I like people, many in particular and quite a lot of things about us in general. We are learning so very much about how it all works as we realize how easily it can all stop 'working,' in the sense of 'working the way we like it, with food, air, water, charismatic fauna and flora,not too much dengue, a good place for Moore's Law to operate.'

There probably need to be fewer of us and we really really must take Stuart Brand's words to heart: We are gods, and we may as well get good at it. There is nothing we can do that does not matter. (This is frankly a drag.)

I have been weirdly cheered by Al Gore and the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change's winning the Nobel Peace Prize. Maybe something will go better. The whole world situation suggests that none of the Marvel superheroes (or the DC ones), the Mission:Impossible team, UNCLE, or the Avengers are answering their calls (go Google them yourself if you're so young you don't know).

If I have a talent other than ineffective kindness and grammar-fascism (I rather like this link but the site may be crap)it is biblography. Not much idea how you should live, but lots on what you might read:

Historical and relevant (and not terribly encouraging):

The Long Summer, By Brian Fagan. You settle, you get used to the climate, you grow, the climate changes. Most of you die or migrate. Repeat.

by Jared Diamond. Do trees prefer totalitarians?

A Forest Journeyby John Perlin -- really brought home to me that you have to burn something.

by Charles Mann. What was my face before my great-grandparents immigrated? The only book on American history I have really been excited by.

Pretty good fiction:

Forty Signs of Rain
Fifty Degrees Below
Sixty Days and Counting, all by Kim Stanley Robinson.

Link to a list of links for Blog Action Day.

1 comment:

Cathy said...


Especially about "the having to burn something". That always takes one up short.