Essay: Human Ecology

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[. . .] Greer's area of focus is on the sustainablility of current energy strategies, and he makes it clear that our current mode of living will not survive the exhaustion of fossil fuel resources, and that the consequences of this change are likely to be drastic, but without the relief accorded by a sudden apocalyptic ending. This is also the point of Heinberg's article "Temporary Recession or the End of Growth?" -- Heinberg states outright that we are in transition to a post-fossil-fuel society already, and the only question is how intelligently we are able to manage such a transition with the large-scale "economic contraction" (as he terms it) that is its necessary consequence.

With so much chastening reading, however, certain factors stand out. Present modes of agriculture and energy are unsustainable -- but these are things that anyone can do their part to change. If the production of meat is, from an ecological standpoint, a vast waste of resources, then it is worth noting that anyone can easily survive on a meat-free diet. Similarly if the use of fossil fuels is unsustainable, then it is probably a good idea for any individual to wean himself or herself off the use of such fuels while they still exist. If fossil fuels are an "addiction" then it will surely be better to kick the habit before scarcity causes fight over the dwindling resource -- at that point, being an addict will be fatal. The only thing, in my opinion, that ecology needs to learn to do is to sell these choices (to live in ways that encourage sustainable agricultural and energy policies) as being the smart choice individually -- rather than making it sound like a grim moral duty, making it sound like a way to be ahead of the curve and to prepare for the future intelligently is probably the best way to appeal to the millennial generation. After all, this is the generation that will suffer the most from unsustainable past policies in the long run. Couching it as a matter of survival rather than ethical superiority seems like the wise thing to do. [END OF PREVIEW]

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