Ecological Disaster Quotes

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No, Simi. No food. (Astrid) ‘No, Simi. No food.’ You sound like akri. ‘Don’t eat that, Simi, you’ll cause an ecological disaster.’ What is an ecological disaster, that’s what I want to know? Akri says it’s me on hunger binge, but I don’t think that’s quite right, but that’s all he’ll say about it. (Simi)
Sherrilyn Kenyon (Dance with the Devil (Dark-Hunter, #3))
Perhaps the most crucial stage is that of ‘intraspecies chaos.’ This is the proving ground, the awkward adolescence when a species either learns to come together on a global scale, or dissolves into squabbling factions doomed to extinction, whether through war or ecological disasters too great to tackle divided.
Becky Chambers (The Long Way to a Small, Angry Planet (Wayfarers, #1))
We're an ecological disaster." "Exactly," said the expendable.
Orson Scott Card (Pathfinder (Pathfinder, #1))
The usual state of nature is recovering from the last disaster,” she said. It was a truism of ecological biologists, and she said it the way a religious person might pray. To make sense of what she saw. To comfort herself. To give the world some sense of purpose or meaning. Species rose in an environment, and that environment changed. It was the nature of the universe, as true here as it had been on Earth.
James S.A. Corey (Cibola Burn (Expanse, #4))
If you are a feminist and are not a vegan, you are ignoring the exploitation of female nonhumans and the commodification of their reproductive processes, as well as the destruction of their relationship with their babies; If you are an environmentalist and not a vegan, you are ignoring the undeniable fact that animal agriculture is an ecological disaster; If you embrace nonviolence but are not a vegan, then words of nonviolence come out of your mouth as the products of torture and death go into it; If you claim to love animals but you are eating them or products made from them, or otherwise consuming them, you see loving as consistent with harming that which you claim to love. Stop trying to make excuses. There are no good ones to make. Go vegan.
Gary L. Francione
War, as the foremost ecological disaster of any age, merely reflects the larger state of human affairs in which the total organism called “humanity” finds its existence. —PARDOT KYNES, Reflections on the Disaster at Salusa Secundus
Brian Herbert (House Harkonnen (Prelude to Dune, #2))
Similar ecological disasters occurred on almost every one of the thousands of islands that pepper the Atlantic Ocean, Indian Ocean, Arctic Ocean and Mediterranean Sea. Archaeologists have discovered on even the tiniest islands evidence of the existence of birds, insects and snails that lived there for countless generations, only to vanish when the first human farmers arrived. None but a few extremely remote islands escaped man’s notice until the modern age, and these islands kept their fauna intact. The Galapagos Islands, to give one famous example, remained uninhabited by humans until the nineteenth century, thus preserving their unique menagerie, including their giant tortoises, which, like the ancient diprotodons, show no fear of humans. The First Wave Extinction, which accompanied the spread of the foragers, was followed by the Second Wave Extinction, which accompanied the spread of the farmers, and gives us an important perspective on the Third Wave Extinction, which industrial activity is causing today. Don’t believe tree-huggers who claim that our ancestors lived in harmony with nature. Long before the Industrial Revolution, Homo sapiens held the record among all organisms for driving the most plant and animal species to their extinctions. We have the dubious distinction of being the deadliest species in the annals of biology. Perhaps if more people were aware of the First Wave and Second Wave extinctions, they’d be less nonchalant about the Third Wave they are part of. If we knew how many species we’ve already eradicated, we might be more motivated to protect those that still survive. This is especially relevant to the large animals of the oceans.
Yuval Noah Harari (Sapiens: A Brief History of Humankind)
The islanders, they write: carried out for us the experiment of permitting unrestricted population growth, profligate use of resources, destruction of the environment and boundless confidence in their religion to take care of the future. The result was an ecological disaster leading to a population crash…. Do we have to repeat the experiment on [a] grand scale?… Is the human personality always the same as that of the person who felled the last tree?
Ronald Wright (A Short History of Progress)
There is nothing extreme about ethical veganism. What is extreme is eating decomposing flesh and animal secretions. What is extreme is that we regard some animals as members of our family while, at the same time, we stick forks into the corpses of other animals. What is extreme is thinking that it is morally acceptable to inflict suffering and death on other sentient creatures simply because we enjoy the taste of animal products or because we like the look of clothes made from animals. What is extreme is that we say that we recognize that “unnecessary” suffering and death cannot be morally justified and then we proceed to engage in exploitation on a daily basis that is completely unnecessary. What is extreme is pretending to embrace peace while we make violence, suffering, torture and death a daily part of our lives. What is extreme is that we excoriate people like Michael Vick, Mary Bale and Sarah Palin as villains while we continue to eat, use, and consume animal products. What is extreme is that we say that we care about animals and that we believe that they are members of the moral community, but we sponsor, support, encourage and promote “happy” meat/dairy labeling schemes. (see 1, 2, 3) What is extreme is not eating flesh but continuing to consume dairy when there is absolutely no rational distinction between meat and dairy (or other animal products). There is as much suffering and death in dairy, eggs, etc., as there is in meat. What is extreme is that we are consuming a diet that is causing disease and resulting in ecological disaster. What is extreme is that we encourage our children to love animals at the same time that we teach them those that they love can also be those whom they harm. We teach our children that love is consistent with commodification. That is truly extreme—and very sad. What is extreme is the fantasy that we will ever find our moral compass with respect to animals as long as they are on our plates and our tables, on our backs, and on our feet. No, ethical veganism is not extreme. But there are many other things that we do not even pay attention to that are extreme. If you are not vegan, go vegan. It’s easy; it’s better for your health and for the planet. But, most important, it’s the morally right thing to do.
Gary L. Francione
When conquest became the mode, people burnt the feminine out of the planet. We made it like this that the masculine is the only way to be successful, and we have compelled even women to be very masculine today in their attitude, approach and emotion. We have made everybody believe that conquest is the only way to success. But to conquer is not the way; to embrace is the way. Trying to conquer the planet has led to all the disasters. If the feminine was the more dominant factor, or at least if the two were evenly balanced, I don't think you would have any ecological disasters, because the feminine and earth worship always went together. Those cultures which looked upon the earth as the mother, they never caused too much damage to the environment around them.
Sadhguru (Of Mystics & Mistakes)
Only Norway regularly sends colonists from Europe, and we all know of that country’s ecological disasters.
John Scalzi (Questions for a Soldier (Old Man's War, #1.5))
Sheep farming in this country is a slow-burning ecological disaster, which has done more damage to the living systems of this country than either climate change or industrial pollution. Yet scarcely anyone seems to have noticed.
George Monbiot (Feral: Searching for Enchantment on the Frontiers of Rewilding)
In fact, ecological turmoil might endanger the survival of Homo sapiens itself. Global warming, rising oceans and widespread pollution could make the earth less hospitable to our kind, and the future might consequently see a spiralling race between human power and human-induced natural disasters. As humans use their power to counter the forces of nature and subjugate the ecosystem to their needs and whims, they might cause more and more unanticipated and dangerous side effects. These are likely to be controllable only by even more drastic manipulations of the ecosystem, which would result in even worse chaos.
Yuval Noah Harari (Sapiens: A Brief History of Humankind)
Singer cited the famous essay “The Tragedy of the Commons,” in which biologist Garrett Hardin argued that individuals acting in their rational self-interest may undermine the common good, and warned against assuming that technology would save us from ourselves. “If we ignore the present warning signs and wait for an ecological disaster to strike, it will probably be too late,” Singer noted. He imagined what it must have been like to be Noah, surrounded by “complacent compatriots,” saying, “‘Don’t worry about the rising waters, Noah; our advanced technology will surely discover a substitute for breathing.’ If it was wisdom that enabled Noah to believe in the ‘never-yet-happened,’ we could use some of that wisdom now,” Singer concluded.
Naomi Oreskes (Merchants of Doubt: How a Handful of Scientists Obscured the Truth on Issues from Tobacco Smoke to Global Warming)
Our world is falling apart quietly. Human civilization has reduced the plant, a four-million-year-old life form, into three things: food, medicine, and wood. In our relentless and ever-intensifying obsession with obtaining a higher volume, potency, and variety of these three things, we have devastated plant ecology to an extent that millions of years of natural disaster could not. Roads have grow like a manic fungus and the endless miles of ditches that bracket these roads serve as hasty graves for perhaps millions of plant species extinguished in the name of progress. Planet Earth is nearly a Dr. Seuss book made real: every year since 1990 we have created more than eight billion new stumps. If we continue to fell healthy trees at this rate, less then six hundred years from now, every tree on the planet will have been reduced to a stump. My job is about making sure there will be some evidence that someone cared about the great tragedy that unfolded during our age.
Hope Jahren (Lab Girl)
What man does for his own desires and comforts affects the complex total-of-life, the ecology, and his short-term gains can bring long-term disadvantages. The Machines taught us to set up a human society which would minimize that, but the near-disaster of the early Twenty-first Century has left mankind suspicious of innovations.
Isaac Asimov (The Bicentennial Man and Other Stories)
It is an iron rule of history that what looks inevitable in hindsight was far from obvious at the time. Today is no different. Are we out of the global economic crisis, or is the worst still to come? Will China continue growing until it becomes the leading superpower? Will the United States lose its hegemony? Is the upsurge of monotheistic fundamentalism the wave of the future or a local whirlpool of little long-term significance? Are we heading towards ecological disaster or technological paradise? There are good arguments to be made for all of these outcomes, but no way of knowing for sure. In a few decades, people will look back and think that the answers to all of these questions were obvious. It
Yuval Noah Harari (Sapiens: A Brief History of Humankind)
As we use our last reserves of petroleum and pollute our world drilling for oil in areas where an “accident” can quickly become an enormous ecological disaster; as our air becomes more and more polluted and unhealthy; as food, housing, energy, transportation, and clothing become less and less affordable; what can save the Earth and civilization? Hemp can!
Alan Archuleta (The Gospel of Hemp: How Hemp Can Save Our World)
To be 'radical', after all, means aiming at the roots of troubles; to be radical in the chronic emergency is to aim at the ecological roots of perpetual disasters.
Andreas Malm (Corona, Climate, Chronic Emergency: War Communism in the Twenty-First Century)
Although it costs taxpayers more than twice as much to send an 18-year-old to prison as to university, politicians reap greater rewards from lobbyists and conservative voters for building cells than for building classrooms.
Mike Davis (Ecology of Fear: Los Angeles And The Imagination Of Disaster)
South Central Los Angeles, for example, is a data and media black hole, without local cable programming or links to major data systems. Just as it became a housing-and-jobs ghetto in the postwar period, it is now evolving into an off-net electronic ghetto.
Mike Davis (Ecology of Fear: Los Angeles And The Imagination Of Disaster)
Naysayers at their polite best chided the rewilders for romanticizing the past; at their sniping worst, for tempting a 'Jurassic Park' disaster. To these the rewilders quietly voiced a sad and stinging reply. The most dangerous experiment is already underway. The future most to be feared is the one now dictated by the status quo. In vanquishing our most fearsome beasts from the modern world, we have released worse monsters from the compound. They come in disarmingly meek and insidious forms, in chewing plagues of hoofed beasts and sweeping hordes of rats and cats and second-order predators. They come in the form of denuded seascapes and barren forests, ruled by jellyfish and urchins, killer deer and sociopathic monkeys. They come as haunting demons of the human mind. In conquering the fearsome beasts, the conquerors had unwittingly orphaned themselves.
William Stolzenburg (Where the Wild Things Were: Life, Death, and Ecological Wreckage in a Land of Vanishing Predators)
I invite the reader to consider the possibility that we are now entering a period of hospice for ourselves and with one another. Never before in human history or in our own personal history has our full embodiment, the healing of the mind-body split, been as urgent as it is in this moment. Never before have we so desperately needed to reflect upon our lives and find meaning in them as we do now.
Carolyn Baker (Love in the Age of Ecological Apocalypse: Cultivating the Relationships We Need to Thrive)
She is soft, but knows when to stand her ground. Natural disasters aren't a mistake. They're not just a big ol' whoopsy that happened when Mother Nature and Source were planning their calendars out. Mother nature is intentional. Everything about her is intentional. Every rainfall, is intentional. Every sunny day, is intentional. Every storm, is intentional and every natural disaster is intentional. She will roar when she needs, when she needs us to take a closer look. That's what natural disasters are. She won't rob us of our opportunity to rise up together- that's our evolution and she's not gonna do our dirty (epic) work for us. But she will nudge us. And she does nudge us. Do you notice? If we don't do our best to take care of global warming, the tides will rise and beach side cities will be wiped. Perhaps our kids or our kids' kids won't ever see the glaciers of today. She's not gonna cover up for us, but she will love us on our journey and gives us clues and signs. It's up to us to pay attention.
Peta Kelly (Earth is Hiring: The New way to live, lead, earn and give for millennials and anyone who gives a sh*t)
Despite the wishful thinking of evangelicals impatient for the Rapture or deep ecologists who believe that Gaia would be happiest with a thin sprinkling of hunter-gatherers, megacities like Los Angeles will never simply collapse and disappear. Rather, they will stagger on, with higher body counts and greater distress, through a chain of more frequent and destructive encounters with disasters of all sorts; while vital parts of the region’s high-tech and tourist economies eventually emigrate to safer ground, together with hundreds of thousands of its more affluent residents.
Mike Davis (Ecology of Fear: Los Angeles And The Imagination Of Disaster)
If [Hurricane] Katrina pulled back the curtain on the reality of racism in America, the BP [Deepwater Horizon] disaster pulls back the curtain on something far more hidden: how little control even the most ingenious among us have over the awesome, intricately interconnected natural forces with which we so casually meddle. BP has spent weeks failing to plug the hole in the earth that it made. Our political leaders cannot order fish species to survive, or bottlenose dolphins not to die in droves. No amount of compensation money can replace a culture that has lots its roots. And while politicians and corporate leaders have yet to come to terms with these humbling truths, the people whose air, water, and livelihoods have been contaminated are losing their illusions fast.
Naomi Klein (On Fire: The (Burning) Case for a Green New Deal)
A SOLAR OASIS Like everywhere else in Puerto Rico, the small mountain city of Adjuntas was plunged into total darkness by Hurricane Maria. When residents left their homes to take stock of the damage, they found themselves not only without power and water, but also totally cut off from the rest of the island. Every single road was blocked, either by mounds of mud washed down from the surrounding peaks, or by fallen trees and branches. Yet amid this devastation, there was one bright spot. Just off the main square, a large, pink colonial-style house had light shining through every window. It glowed like a beacon in the terrifying darkness. The pink house was Casa Pueblo, a community and ecology center with deep roots in this part of the island. Twenty years ago, its founders, a family of scientists and engineers, installed solar panels on the center’s roof, a move that seemed rather hippy-dippy at the time. Somehow, those panels (upgraded over the years) managed to survive Maria’s hurricane-force winds and falling debris. Which meant that in a sea of post-storm darkness, Casa Pueblo had the only sustained power for miles around. And like moths to a flame, people from all over the hills of Adjuntas made their way to the warm and welcoming light.
Naomi Klein (The Battle For Paradise: Puerto Rico Takes on the Disaster Capitalists)
A recent Chicago study, for example, has shown that it costs $60,000 to hook up a new house in an outer suburb to the utility infrastructure as against $5,000 for the same house in an existing suburb. “Who foots the bill? Taxpayers in the established suburbs.”72
Mike Davis (Ecology of Fear: Los Angeles And The Imagination Of Disaster)
But we have to be honest that autocratic industrial socialism has been a disaster for the environment, as evidenced most dramatically by the fact that carbon emissions briefly plummeted when the economies of the former Soviet Union collapsed in the early 1990s. And Venezuela's petro-populism is a reminder that there is nothing inherently green about self-defined socialism. Let's acknowledge this fact, while also pointing out that countries with strong democratic-socialist traditions (like Denmark, Sweden, and Uruguay) have some of the most visionary environmental policies in the world. From this we can conclude that socialism isn't necessarily ecological, but that a new form of democratic eco-socialism, with the humility to learn from Indigenous teachings about the duties to future generations and the Interconnection of all life, appears to be humanity's best shot at collective survival.
Naomi Klein (On Fire: The Case for the Green New Deal)
Getting past the client-server model will be a long, slow slog. Technological inertia and backward-looking economic interests will conspire to ensure this. But slowly the barriers to progress will yield. The pressure will come from several sources. The already-common disasters associated with too-big-to-fail centralized services will become ever more common and serious. As a result, it will begin to dawn on the public that the vulnerabilities that these events expose are not growing pains but are inherent in the model.
Peter Lucas (Trillions: Thriving in the Emerging Information Ecology)
The good news is that for hundreds of years humankind has enjoyed a growing economy without falling prey to ecological meltdown. Many other species have perished in the process, and humans too have faced a number of economic crises and ecological disasters, but so far we have always managed to pull through. Yet future success is not guaranteed by any law of nature. Who knows if science will always be able to simultaneously save the economy from freezing and the ecology from boiling.
Yuval Noah Harari (Homo Deus: A Brief History of Tomorrow)
The American chestnut may well be the greatest and most useful forest tree to ever grow on this Earth. Its decline is considered by many ecologists to be one of the greatest ecological disasters to strike the US since European contact.
Akiva Silver (Trees of Power: Ten Essential Arboreal Allies)
Permanent Revolution THE INDUSTRIAL REVOLUTION OPENED up new ways to convert energy and to produce goods, largely liberating humankind from its dependence on the surrounding ecosystem. Humans cut down forests, drained swamps, dammed rivers, flooded plains, laid down hundreds of thousands of miles of railroad tracks, and built skyscraping metropolises. As the world was moulded to fit the needs of Homo sapiens, habitats were destroyed and species went extinct. Our once green and blue planet is becoming a concrete and plastic shopping centre. Today, the earth’s continents are home to billions of Sapiens. If you took all these people and put them on a large set of scales, their combined mass would be about 300 million tons. If you then took all our domesticated farmyard animals – cows, pigs, sheep and chickens – and placed them on an even larger set of scales, their mass would amount to about 700 million tons. In contrast, the combined mass of all surviving large wild animals – from porcupines and penguins to elephants and whales – is less than 100 million tons. Our children’s books, our iconography and our TV screens are still full of giraffes, wolves and chimpanzees, but the real world has very few of them left. There are about 80,000 giraffes in the world, compared to 1.5 billion cattle; only 200,000 wolves, compared to 400 million domesticated dogs; only 250,000 chimpanzees – in contrast to billions of humans. Humankind really has taken over the world.1 Ecological degradation is not the same as resource scarcity. As we saw in the previous chapter, the resources available to humankind are constantly increasing, and are likely to continue to do so. That’s why doomsday prophesies of resource scarcity are probably misplaced. In contrast, the fear of ecological degradation is only too well founded. The future may see Sapiens gaining control of a cornucopia of new materials and energy sources, while simultaneously destroying what remains of the natural habitat and driving most other species to extinction. In fact, ecological turmoil might endanger the survival of Homo sapiens itself. Global warming, rising oceans and widespread pollution could make the earth less hospitable to our kind, and the future might consequently see a spiralling race between human power and human-induced natural disasters. As humans use their power to counter the forces of nature and subjugate the ecosystem to their needs and whims, they might cause more and more unanticipated and dangerous side effects. These are likely to be controllable only by even more drastic manipulations of the ecosystem, which would result in even worse chaos. Many call this process ‘the destruction of nature’. But it’s not really destruction, it’s change. Nature cannot be destroyed. Sixty-five million years ago, an asteroid wiped out the dinosaurs, but in so doing opened the way forward for mammals. Today, humankind is driving many species into extinction and might even annihilate itself. But other organisms are doing quite well. Rats and cockroaches, for example, are in their heyday. These tenacious creatures would probably creep out from beneath the smoking rubble of a nuclear Armageddon, ready and able to spread their DNA. Perhaps 65 million years from now, intelligent rats will look back gratefully on the decimation wrought by humankind, just as we today can thank that dinosaur-busting asteroid. Still, the rumours of our own extinction are premature. Since the Industrial Revolution, the world’s human population has burgeoned as never before. In 1700 the world was home to some 700 million humans. In 1800 there were 950 million of us. By 1900 we almost doubled our numbers to 1.6 billion. And by 2000 that quadrupled to 6 billion. Today there are just shy of 7 billion Sapiens.
Yuval Noah Harari (Sapiens: A Brief History of Humankind)
We had already realized from the disaster on Mars that transplanting Earth ecology wouldn't work. Crops would not grow without specific symbiotic fungi on their roots to extract nutrients, and the exact fungi would not grow without the proper soil composition, which did not exist without certain saprophytic bacteria that had proven resistant to transplantation, each life-form demanding its own billion-year-old niche. But Mars fossils and organic chemicals in interstellar comets showed that the building blocks of life were not unique to Earth. Proteins, amino acids, and carbohydrates existed everywhere. The theory of panspermia was true to a degree. I had found a grass resembling wheat on our first day on Pax, and with a little plant tissue, a dash of hormone from buds, and some chitin, we soon had artificial seeds to plant. But would it grow? Theory was one thing and farming was another. Then a few days before the women had died from poisoned fruit, Ramona and Carrie had seen the first shoots, ...
Sue Burke (Semiosis (Semiosis Duology, #1))
Some of the older people I've counseled seemed almost disappointed that humanity was spared its just ecological deserts." "It was tough on the Schadenfreude crowd," Majewski agreed, grinning. "The ones who viewed humankind as a sort of plague organism spoiling what might otherwise have been a pretty good planet. But paleontologists tend to take a long view of life. Some creatures survive, some become extinct. But no matter how great the ecological disaster, the paradox called life keeps on defying entropy and trying to perfect itself. Hard times just seem to help evolution.
Julian May (The Many-Coloured Land (Saga of Pliocene Exile, #1))
During the past thirteen billion years humanity has become an enormous presence on earth, as if it were an envelope surrounding the planet. All other species are now influenced by humanity, and humanity is literally determining the genome of the earth community. We affect how the rest of the planet survives—or not. The one notion that not only envelops but suffocates the planet is that of industrial growth, which inherently fosters the perspective of the earth as a resource rather than as a relationship we must cultivate. Humanity is now being challenged to replace the resource concept with a deeply emotional experience of the earth as a being with which we are related.
Carolyn Baker (Love in the Age of Ecological Apocalypse: Cultivating the Relationships We Need to Thrive)
For those of us who have come to believe that unless we are thinking we are wasting time, it may be challenging to simply linger with a beautiful sunset, an exquisite painting, or an arresting piece of music. The intellect often reacts to the seductions of beauty by attempting to recapture us.
Carolyn Baker (Love in the Age of Ecological Apocalypse: Cultivating the Relationships We Need to Thrive)
Industrial civilization has held us in a subhuman state all our lives, and we now have the opportunity to discover the powers of the universe coursing through us and our environment. Likewise, we have the extraordinary privilege as consciously self-aware humans of intentionally participating with those powers in an intimate, passionate, caring relationship with the universe.
Carolyn Baker (Love in the Age of Ecological Apocalypse: Cultivating the Relationships We Need to Thrive)
I believe that the Last Emergency has not arrived without reason, nor are we now moving into the throes of it by accident. As the bearers of conscious self-awareness on this planet, we have failed miserably thus far in recognizing our inextricable oneness with the universe. Whether we can refine this innate capacity in time to prevent the annihilation of the Earth—a travesty in which we have consciously and unconsciously colluded, is unknown. Nevertheless, in the remaining days of our presence here, we can love the Earth and we can love all its sentient beings.
Carolyn Baker (Love in the Age of Ecological Apocalypse: Cultivating the Relationships We Need to Thrive)
The technologies that humankind’s ancestors used to meet their needs supported much lower living standards with much higher per-capita impacts on the environment. Absent a massive human die-off, any large-scale attempt at recoupling human societies to nature using these technologies would result in an unmitigated ecological and human disaster.
Anonymous
The results are all around us in the Western church and in the worldviews that Western Christianity has generated. Secularists often criticize Christians for contributing to ecological disaster, and there’s more than a grain of truth in the charge. I have heard it seriously argued in North America that since God intends to destroy the present space-time universe, and moreover since he intends to do so quite soon now, it really doesn’t matter whether we emit twice as many greenhouse gases as we do now, whether we destroy the rain forests and the arctic tundra, whether we fill our skies with acid rain. That is a peculiarly modern form of would-be Christian negativity about the world, and of course its skin-deep “spiritual” viewpoint is entirely in thrall to the heart-deep materialism of the business interests that will be served, in however short a term, by such hazardous practices.
N.T. Wright (Surprised by Hope: Rethinking Heaven, the Resurrection, and the Mission of the Church)
Recounted in numberless articles and books, the Maya collapse has become an ecological parable for green activists; along with Pleistocene overkill, it is a favorite cautionary tale about surpassing the limits of Nature. The Maya “were able to build a complex society capable of great cultural and intellectual achievements, but they ended up destroying what they created,” Clive Ponting wrote in his influential Green History of the World (1991). Following the implications of the Maya fall, he asked, “Are contemporary societies any better at controlling the drive toward ever greater use of resources and heavier pressure on the environment? Is humanity too confident about its ability to avoid ecological disaster?” The history of these Indians, Ponting and others have suggested, has much to teach us today.
Charles C. Mann (1491: New Revelations of the Americas Before Columbus)
Perhaps the most crucial stage is that of “intraspecies chaos.” This is the proving ground, the awkward adolescence when a species either learns to come together on a global scale, or dissolves into squabbling factions doomed to extinction, whether through war or ecological disasters too great to tackle divided.
Becky Chambers (The Long Way to a Small, Angry Planet (Wayfarers, #1))
If we combine the mass extinctions in Australia and America, and add the smaller-scale extinctions that took place as homo sapiens spread over Afro-Asia - such as the extinction of all other human species - and the extinctions that occurred when ancient foragers settled remote islands such as Cube, the inevitable conclusion is that the first wave of Sapiens colonisation was one of the biggest and swiftest ecological disasters to befall the animal kingdom. Hardest hit were the large furry creatures. At the time of the Cognitive Revolution, the planet was home to about 200 genera of large terrestrial mammals weighing over fifty kilograms. At the time of the Agricultural Revolution, only about a hundred remained. Homo sapiens drove to extinction about half of the planet's big beasts long before humans invented the wheel, writing or iron tools. This ecological tragedy was restaged in miniature countless times after the Agricultural Revolution. The archaeological record of island after island tells the same sad story. The tragedy opens with a scene showing a rich and varied population of large animals, without any trace of humans. In scene two, Sapiens appear, evidenced by a human bone, a spear point, or perhaps a potsherd. Scene three quickly follows, in which men and women occupy centre stage and most large animals, along with many smaller ones, are gone. (p. 80)
Yuval Noah Harari (Sapiens: A Brief History of Humankind)
It is useful to classify the economic and ecological disruptions that make up this “new normal” of instability into two groups: shocks and slides. Shocks present themselves as acute moments of disruption. These are, for example, market crashes, huge disasters and uprisings. Slides, on the other hand, are incremental by nature. They can be catastrophic, but they are not experienced as acute. Sea level rise is a slide. Rising unemployment is a slide. The rising costs of food & energy are a slide.
Adrienne Maree Brown (Emergent Strategy: Shaping Change, Changing Worlds)
The outcome—today’s technological civilization with its massive psychopathologies and unending ecological disasters—is a collective reflection of the traumatized personality.”1
Jasmin Lee Cori (Healing from Trauma: A Survivor's Guide to Understanding Your Symptoms and Reclaiming Your Life)
What undreamed of new technology will soon be a ubiquitous part of everyone’s lives, we can only guess. With quantum computing, nanotechnology, advanced robotics and artificial intelligence emerging on the horizon, the future has never looked brighter – or bleaker, as the potential for self-destruction and ecological disaster is also accelerating at breakneck speeds. Never before in human history has there been so much cause for both hope and alarm. We are living in a world of increasing uncertainty, and each day brings new reason for both celebration and concern. The brighter the light grows, the darker the shadows become.
David Jay Brown (Mavericks of the Mind)
The question is not whether the world’s problems will become everyone’s problems, but on what terms they will. Militarized borders, resource wars, and inequality that grows as its ecological and economic faces interact: These are the features of a re-barbarized world, in which people and peoples do not even try to live in reciprocity or aim at any shared horizon beyond the ecological scarcity that presses down inequitably on everyone. The ways the world’s respectable powers have been pretending to build a global commonwealth, by growth and trade, have brought us here. Although the polite official response to global inequality is still to regret it and seek ways to mitigate it, the rising political tide is a cruder and more candid call to maintain your own relatively and (temporarily) secure place in it against whoever would take it away. There is neither time enough nor world enough—we would need several worlds with comparable resources—to grow and trade our way to a global capitalist version of commonwealth. But the notorious fact that in the long run we are all dead, and so is the world, has become a perverse source of comfort to those who think they can ride out disaster long enough for their own purposes, until their own lights go out.
Jedediah Purdy (This Land Is Our Land: The Struggle for a New Commonwealth)
the first wave of Sapiens colonisation was one of the biggest and swiftest ecological disasters to befall the animal kingdom.
Yuval Noah Harari (Sapiens: A Brief History of Humankind)
Angry activists on Cape Cod were pushing to halt construction of this tunnel, fearful that all the wastewater flowing out of it would harm marine life and damage the ecologically fragile waters off the Atlantic coast.
Neil Swidey (Trapped Under the Sea: One Engineering Marvel, Five Men, and a Disaster Ten Miles Into the Darkness)
Singer cited the famous essay “The Tragedy of the Commons,” in which biologist Garrett Hardin argued that individuals acting in their rational self-interest may undermine the common good, and warned against assuming that technology would save us from ourselves. “If we ignore the present warning signs and wait for an ecological disaster to strike, it will probably be too late,” Singer noted. He imagined what it must have been like to be Noah, surrounded by “complacent compatriots,” saying, “‘Don’t worry about the rising waters, Noah; our advanced technology will surely discover a substitute for breathing.
Naomi Oreskes (Merchants of Doubt: How a Handful of Scientists Obscured the Truth on Issues from Tobacco Smoke to Global Warming)
When Europe killed feral and stray cats, the bubonic plague came and wiped away lives. Generations of families ended with the plague. Some say coincidence. Some say divine retribution. Some say killing cats upset the world’s ecological balance. When humans interject themselves in the natural food chain that exists between animals, disaster consumes the earth. Cats have always lived heroically among humans and other animals. We look like we belong in ancient temples and art deco theaters. We go with any architecture,
Mary Matthews (Splendid Summer's Grace, Jack & Magical Cats Boxed Set)
Fundamentally, the task is to articulate not just an alternative set of policy proposals but an alternative worldview to rival the one at the heart of the ecological crisis - embedded in interdependence rather than hyper-individualism, reciprocity rather than dominance, and cooperation rather than hierarchy. This is required not only to create a political context to dramatically lower emissions, but also to help us cope with the disasters we can no longer avoid. Because in the hot and stormy future we have already made inevitable through our past emissions, an unshakable belief in the equal rights of all people and a capacity for deep compassion will be the only things standing between civilization and barbarism.
Naomi Klein (This Changes Everything: Capitalism vs. The Climate)
The usual state of nature is recovering from the last disaster,” she said. It was a truism of ecological biologists, and she said it the way a religious person might pray.
James S.A. Corey (Cibola Burn (Expanse, #4))
Indeed, today there is an enormous danger that the Left has lost the ability to offer a genuinely useful critique of America’s emerging role and has degenerated into what is dangerously close to a full-fledged fantasy ideology. The danger here is the danger that arises with any criticism that has become too obviously tendentious or even merely spiteful: it stops being listened to. Under the present circumstances, this is a risk that the Left has been running more and more, both in America and in the world community, with the result that the culture war threatens to position the American academic Left not as a constructive critic, or even as a usefully carping one, but rather as an outright enemy. This was apparent both before, during, and after the Iraq war, so strikingly that it even led one liberal Left critic to write an astonishing article, in which he confessed to the Schadenfreude he felt at each apparent hint of a prospective disaster for the forces of his own country, made up of his fellow citizens. The problem with this reaction is that it represents a radical imbalance in our civic ecology: if criticism is to push in the right direction, it must not seem to be coming from those who have absolutely nothing in common with us. When the Left-wing intellectual seems to have contempt for everything that the average American holds dear, how seriously do you think his advice will be taken? That is why the intellectual, conservative, liberal, or radical, must submit his own “natural” point of view to the same kind of critique that Marxists have traditionally applied to all other forms of ideological distortion and disguise. For it is not only our economic class that colors how we see the world, but our particular vocation within that class.
Lee Harris (Civilization and Its Enemies: The Next Stage of History)
What matters in the story of our human relationships is not whether they lead to happily ever after but who and what they make of us. All relationships are our teachers, and this is especially so in a time of societal unraveling.
Carolyn Baker
We are part of the natural world and evolved within its embrace. This understanding is perhaps as ancient as humanity itself. Giving children the gift of knowing nature as their home, of feeling themselves as part of the web of life is an invaluable life resource for exploring their inner self and for developing their ability to act in this world and on its behalf. It is perhaps our culture’s break with nature, the viewing of our planet as nothing more than a collection of things to be exploited and discarded, that has brought us to this time of crisis. And perhaps more than anything else, this time of turmoil and transformation calls for a rediscovery of humanity’s place within the earth community. This revisioning of our relationship with life on earth, rooted in indigenous wisdom and shaped for contemporary times, is perhaps the cornerstone of the human initiation and evolution being called for today. For children to discover their place within the natural world, to grow their connection with it, has everything to do with their ability to remain grounded in turbulent times, everything to do with their being able to grow their vision and play their part in this upcoming transition.
Carolyn Baker (Love in the Age of Ecological Apocalypse: Cultivating the Relationships We Need to Thrive)
Quality parenting in a Last Emergency world requires our letting go of control and trusting what we have instilled in our offspring. A part of them already knows or senses what lies ahead; whether they wish to consciously acknowledge it or not or discuss it openly with us or not, our emotional availability and love surpass all else we may be able to provide.
Carolyn Baker (Love in the Age of Ecological Apocalypse: Cultivating the Relationships We Need to Thrive)
What, then, is the soul of community? It is a desire to be connected with something greater than the egos of other people and the projects in which we might engage with them. Fundamentally, a successful human community is the unfolding of a spiritual dynamic. It cannot be contrived or made to happen. Rather, it erupts from our desire for the depths, and that desire is certain to constellate the shadow in ourselves and the other.
Carolyn Baker (Love in the Age of Ecological Apocalypse: Cultivating the Relationships We Need to Thrive)
Any relationship, no matter how fulfilling and restorative it may be, can always be enlivened and enriched. Regardless of how elated or deflated you feel about your work, what can you do to breathe new life into it—to make it more rewarding than it has ever been? Do you need to leave your current work and answer another calling? What is your spiritual employment, dear reader, carrier of so many gifts?
Carolyn Baker (Love in the Age of Ecological Apocalypse: Cultivating the Relationships We Need to Thrive)
A post-petroleum world will necessitate walking long distances and exerting much more physical energy to accomplish even routine tasks than we are now accustomed to. Most of our bodies in current time are not up to the task. Yet preparing the body for living in a collapsing world is one of the most fundamental of preparations. Although we may not be able to store vast quantities of food or water, may not have our homes or property equipped as much as we would prefer in preparation for collapse, and may not have learned all the skills we would like to master, becoming present in our bodies and keeping them healthy and fit are factors over which we have control.
Carolyn Baker (Love in the Age of Ecological Apocalypse: Cultivating the Relationships We Need to Thrive)
The extraction of deep wisdom can be done at any age, and if we are to love the time of our life, it must be. Imbedded within us is the deeper story we came to live, and the core issue at every age for any awakened human being is the extent to which we are living that story in the present moment.
Carolyn Baker (Love in the Age of Ecological Apocalypse: Cultivating the Relationships We Need to Thrive)
Are we out of the global economic crisis, or is the worst still to come? Will China continue growing until it becomes the leading superpower? Will the United States lose its hegemony? Is the upsurge of monotheistic fundamentalism the wave of the future or a local whirlpool of little long-term significance? Are we heading towards ecological disaster or technological paradise?
Yuval Noah Harari (Sapiens: A Brief History of Humankind)
If we combine the mass extinctions in Australia and America, and add the smaller-scale extinctions that took place as Homo sapiens spread over Afro-Asia – such as the extinction of all other human species – and the extinctions that occurred when ancient foragers settled remote islands such as Cuba, the inevitable conclusion is that the first wave of Sapiens colonisation was one of the biggest and swiftest ecological disasters to befall the animal kingdom.
Yuval Noah Harari (Sapiens: A Brief History of Humankind)
The usual state of nature is recovering from the last disaster.
James S.A. Corey (Cibola Burn (The Expanse, #4))
After all this time, she still had not grown accustomed to the American obsession with air-conditioning. Every store and subway car had it-an ecological disaster, but an apparent necessity for American comfort.
J. Courtney Sullivan (The Engagements)
The cod collapse was an ecological and economic catastrophe that cost forty thousand jobs and gutted entire communities. A disaster of these proportions in Ontario would have been cosidered a national trauma. But there was no soul-searching about the cod. No heads rolled. There was no Royal Commission.
Silver Donald Cameron (Blood in the Water: A True Story of Revenge in the Maritimes)
Ecological disasters create the conditions of war, while giving us no one to bargain with - no one to fight or beg mercy from. Science improves our predictive power, but those predictions are often just a preview of the coming brute reality. While they may go some way toward preparing us psychologically, they can't in themselves protect us.
Elisa Gabbert (The Unreality of Memory: Essays)