Notes from Nature:
First, It seems to me that the author spends more time critiquing other histories than he does presenting any. This should be labeled as a critique not a historical summary. Unless is a historical summary of how historians have interpreted and understood history and not focusing on that history itself.
“Depending on your standpoint, humanity had either fallen from his state of grace, where it had been unencumbered by institutions, or had risen beyond its barbaric confines through the salutary mechanisms of culture and human laws.” Can there be no in-between?
“and if change is the only constant in the natural world as well as in human society, where is the urgency or sense in trying to preserve in perpetuity something both relatively recent and likely to change of its own accord anyhow?” And if we do want to control “bad” change then how do we know what is good change and bad change.
There seems to be a semi-consistent continuum of attitudes on the natural depending on the level of control is by humans or the forces of nature. On the far human end is the urban world which is both good and bad. On the far natural end are wildernesses which are considered too chaotic and hellish. Closer to humans than the natural are destructed areas like the meadowlands which are seen negatively. Closer to the natural but still somewhat controlled by humans is nature. Nature in this sense would be parks or gardens or the countryside. Nature is seen as positive.
Human Control (Urban)——(Destruction)——(Nature)——(Wilderness) Natural
Is nature a luxury for those of economic and social means, that are removed from the land but can visit nature and therefore appreciate it?
Current Environmental Notes:
Here is an MIT review of the sterile mosquito project based around the new technology CRISPR. This “extinction invention” is relatively easy to use but comes with strong moral questions about how we effect environment. We have affected the evolutionary pressures of the world for a long time but never have we had the capacity to change the genetic basis of evolving organisms. We are still struggling with how we should/do affect the environment with current technologies and adding this in will only complicate matters. But it made me realize that in a way it is no different from previous technologies. The effect of a technology changes the environment and when it affects it badly we blame the ignorance or immoral attitude of the society that used it. But scientists have never been in a position where they understood the environmental processes well enough to know how they will be affected by a certain technology before that reaction occurs. It is only in hindsight that we can know. So fear of environmental change would lead to no technology.