Saturday, October 08, 2005

Children of the Evolution

A fascinating article by one of the original discoverers of 'permaculture'. Here's an excerpt:-

The die off scenario is actually the whole end to the development of intensive, settled agriculture, civilization and industrialization—all of the last 6000 years swept into the dustbin of history. What goes with that is a very large drop in human population in a relatively short time, like 100 years—possibly back to some sort of hunter-gatherer type of organization, with a much depleted resource level and without the capacity to use the resources we would can use now. And, you get a complete regrowth of wild nature and you get that cycle starting again, but without the possibility of it going to the fossil fuels stage. But even that I don't think is the end of the human story. Given that fossil fuels represent hundreds of millions of years of stored energy—effectively the surplus of the abundance of Gaia as a self organizing organism, the living earth. You could say that now we've dug it all out again, in a way we've done nature's task—humanity's task is now over. We've put it all back into the atmosphere, recycled all the biological elements, and nature will now use that to develop to a higher level of energy. And humans will just be swept away in that.

So it is possible, and I'm not being fanciful, if you have a look at how big fossil fuels are, as the earth's storage of energy, you see that we are talking about a dynamic that is geological in scale. It's actually even bigger than the ice ages. So it's silly to discount the possibility of any order of change that humans have experienced before—even the ice ages are smaller than what we are now involved in.

That's at the God level, perhaps. That's for the earth to decide, anyway. We can't do anything about that, we're not God, we're not Gaia, yet we're understanding systems at a scale which are well above our capacity to have any influence over. We just have to worry about what it means to be human and to continue to attempt to live out that story.