Mother Nature strikes back


According to Bryan Appleyard, in his review of Stewart Brand’s Whole Earth Discipline: An Ecopragmatist Manifesto,

Secondly, much of the book is about the author’s changes of mind. He is now, for example, pro-nuclear power and genetically engineered foods. This is honourable but it does cast a slight shadow of doubt over his latest enthusiasms.

True, but strange. Shouldn’t the inability to change one’s mind cast a huge shadow of doubt? (See also, “Why all the certainty?“)

Appleyard continues

That said, the book brilliantly defines our present predicament – our need to deploy science to clean up the mess made by science. The modern world was made by burning half a trillion tons of carbon since the Industrial Revolution. The next half trillion will be burned in about forty years at present rates of increase. If that happens, then global temperatures will rise by up to 4 degrees and it is reasonable to assume, on the basis of current scientific thought, that our species’ continued existence will be at risk.

A couple paragraphs down, Appleyard unleashes the metaphor that bit down hard on my attention

Climate change really means Mother Nature is preparing to rid herself of humans. If we are to survive, we can no longer worship her, we must fight back with smart weapons.

Reminds me of psychohistorian Lloyd deMause!


Aside: Interesting factoid from the book, according to Appleyard

Did you know, for example, that only a tenth of the cells in your body are you? The rest are microbes – ‘We are a portable swamp.’


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