Zak Hill Week 4 Blog Post


Fanaticism w/ the Apocalypse:

This weeks reading was very interesting because of the way he approached the subject of humans degrading the environment.  Bruckner uses a lot of hyperbole, and sarcasm to reinforce his points about humans degrading the environment.  An interesting point he made was about humanity starting to dislike itself.  He attributes ecologism to the sole force that has entered humans into a form of redemption.  What he means by that is within the last half century humans have started to understand the full impacts we have as a society on the environment.  With understanding the effects we have the more we are beginning to despise ourselves because of the horrible things we are doing to the environment in all sorts of ways.  He also states that it is misleading to talk about the environmental movement when there are several bundles of movements present.  He seems to have a very pessimistic view of human’s role in the world.  “[Humans] an invasive species that should be shrunk to the size of a pin.” (154)

“Saving the world requires us to denigrate everything that has to do with the spirit of enterprise and the taste for discovery.”  This quote shows that if we as people want to save the environment from ourselves we have to give up all the ideas in society that we envy like the sense of adventure that comes from discovery.  It also asks us to give up our sense of enterprise that the American Dream was founded upon.  This quote really makes the reader think about what our goals of a society should be, and especially at this time in history.  Another interesting quote I found was “We are asked if making society seem uglier than it really shows discernment.  It depends of course, on what one considers ugly.  I find my world becoming uglier, but I share it with many others who apparently do not.” (53)  This quote made me think about what people consider to be beautiful and ugly.  Then I realized everyone has a different perception of that subject. We as a society must figure out how to define and make people believe in some beautiful things in regards to nature for people to appreciate and want to protect it.  “Either capitalism dies or Mother Earth dies.”  I thought this quote was interesting because Francis Fukuyama (Political Scientist/ Political Economist) believes that capitalism is the final form of government in the world.  So with my perception of each of these pieces of information, it pretty much is saying either we or nature is going to be left standing not both, there is not enough room for both of us.  However, I believe that there is enough room if we interact with the environment in a positive way.

Environmental News:

This article was about how with climate change many of the world’s parasites could go extinct.  The article quoted as much as 1 in 3 species could go extinct within the next century due to climate change.  People get kind of squeamish when it comes to parasites like tapeworms and other worms, but they are essential to many food webs. This author, believes parasites deserve as much respect as top predators do like Grey wolves. Parasites also account for 20 to 1 more biomass in the food webs than do top predators. Parasites are essential for food webs.  As much as 80% of food webs have some sort of connection to these parasites.  Parasites can also control populations of animals and such by either killing them outright or making them sterile after they are infected.  We don’t realize how much we actually need parasites until they are all gone, and the food web is all messed up.

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