Response to Fanaticism of the Apocalypse:
I found this book interesting, it seemed that Bruckner had some good points regarding how we are fighting humans and persecuting ourselves, though I felt that he did a lot of complaining about how we are giving up all of our virtues for this undeterminable event that is probably either a farce or has no answer, but he didn’t really expand on how he thinks we should approach the problem. I think it’s fair to say that modern ecologists tend to back ideas that decrease our global impact without any regard as to what this means in the face of progress and I also think that its important to think critically about where the place of humans is if we are considering both human progression and minimizing impact. If we are going to figure out how to combat problems such as how to optimally help conserve nature while determining the place of humans in this world we need to understand the arguments presented in the book.
Something I didn’t like about the book was that it seemed to be attempting to discredit all ecological conservation efforts as being radical defeatist ideas or insignificant acts. Most of the examples Bruckner was citing were very radical, intermixed with pretty normal conservation efforts, which attempted to say that all the ideas were ridiculous and asking too much, when they don’t really even affect the individual’s life once the change is implemented. For example, there are people who believe that we should have mass human death to regain a sustainable population, and he places this argument with the idea that we should sort our garbage into recycling and compost and implies that both are equally arbitrary and unattainable, but obviously killing a bunch of humans is a lot more difficult and moral changing than sorting your garbage, which is both more attainable and doesn’t really change our way of life.
I think it is important to note, as Bruckner did, that we can’t be 100% certain of climate change and its exact effects, and as he states, convictions are dangerous and we can’t predict exactly what will happen just because of our models. However, unlike Bruckner I don’t think this means that we should just avoid the science altogether and pretend like nothing will (or is) happen(ing). I also don’t think that taking preventative measures means that we have to give up the human ideal of progression, nor does it mean that we have to give up all worldly pleasures or desires, and I think it’s important to find a balance.
I like when Bruckner talks about vegetarianism and this contradictions of this lifestyle. He discusses how not eating meat products in order to help decrease our carbon (methane) footprints, while all well and good, brings up a philosophical problem of what we are deciding to conserve, who we are deciding to protect, and whether it should be in our rights to annihilate livestock populations in order to feed humans. I think that this is important, something to be discussed, though I believe we should keep in mind that it isn’t entirely dissimilar from the game hunting that we allow for population control.
I disagree with Bruckner’s opinion on why we conserve things, and that this is out of our own greediness, wanting more of certain things like wilderness, and though I don’t think this is entirely wrong or an unprecedented opinion, I think that taking this stance is a polarizing viewpoint. Though there are many things that are chosen to be conserved over other things due to bureaucratic opinions on what is best for humanity to conserve, and like Leapold said in the Sand County Almanac, we each have our own biases on what we would personally want to conserve, Bruckner’s viewpoint says that we only do this out of greediness, and therefore should not conserve them, which I think is an incomplete argument.
I think it’s really good to look at a book like this because it shows a public opinion shared by a large percentage of the population, that doesn’t necessarily match that of the general population we surround ourselves with, and understanding their viewpoint is an important part of creating a discourse to farther spread sustainability ideas and climate change science. Bruckner, though not necessarily intentionally, spreads the ideas of climate change deniers, something that I intend to help combat, so I think it’s good to look at their arguments and rationale.
News: Young birds suffer in the city
New research from Lund University in Sweden shows that birds in urban environments undergo more stress than those in rural environments and therefore, birds under the age of 1 year old are less likely to survive in urban environments. I think it’s more interesting though, that they showed no increase in stress for adult birds, and no increase in mortality. This means the birds are able to adapt to their environment.