Monday, October 30, 2023

The Big Question

We have lived with a catastrophic myth for a long time. We have believed that we live outside nature. Derek Lynch writes:

Globally, we have entered the Anthropocene, with humans the dominant force driving change in all ecosystems. Through our overwhelming influence on the atmosphere, hydrosphere and biosphere, no ecosystem anywhere is sheltered from our influence.

Whether it be through colonial redistribution of species, habitat loss, the diverse forces of climate change, overextraction or pollution by plastics, forever chemicals, and reactive nitrogen and phosphorus, there is no unaltered ecosystem. As some of these forces of change combine, ecosystems are being pushed past tipping points of collapse at a faster rate.

During the COVID-19 pandemic, incidences of reverse zoonosis, in which humans became the reservoir and source of infection for domesticated and wild animals, emphasized how the fate of humanity and all creatures sharing the biosphere is linked.

There is a new vision rising:

Ecologists are recognizing that “othering” the natural world is meaningless, and the study of natural processes has to include those modified by humankind. Indeed, the idea of ourselves as distinct from all non-humans is considered by some to be the fundamental driver of our current planetary crisis.

Given such deepening understanding, is it now the time to go beyond “nature” as a concept external to humanity? Instead, we could promote a deeper understanding of biodiversity and community as the shared long history and future fate both of humanity and of non-human life.

Such revised paradigms are closer to Indigenous viewpoints of community, in which land management is conducted in partnership with our relatives within all ecosystems.

Will this new paradigm save us? That's the big question.



Anonymous said...

All of the philosophers that I can think of have separated mankind even from himself. It's the mind over the body, the man over nature. In the western world, we have thought of ourselves as our consciousness and ignored our biology and evolution. We call ourselves civilized because we have separated ourselves from the landscape and the other creatures on the planet. How else do you explain a society that ignores a climate crisis and instead floods the airwaves and internet news cycles demonizing people who insist that humans are mammals, and they can't change their sex. The believe that somehow "science" will save the environment and humans are only their consciousness and not their bodies are both coming from the same place -- the belief that only human mind matters. The Big Brains forget that they get carried around by a body, that can't long survive the climate conditions that are coming.

Owen Gray said...

Sometimes the big brains miss what is painfully obvious, Anon. Please initial your next comment.

Northern PoV said...

Alas, the Anthropocene has ended and we've entered the Suicene.

Owen Gray said...

If only life were as simple as a game of Pokemon, PoV.

Toby said...

While "Indigenous viewpoints of community, in which land management is conducted in partnership with our relatives within all ecosystems" has some merit it also has serious shortcomings; most notably there are more than 8,000,000,000 of us to feed, clothe and shelter.

Owen Gray said...

Quite true, Toby. Nature's bounty is finite.