Friday, September 10, 2010

Things we understand a little, often lead us to make mistakes

I've watched about half of the first part of First Earth, a 12 part discussion about building construction and sustainability.

Daniel Quinn, author of "Ishmael"(1992), uses the expression 'normal rate of extinction'.

There is no 'normal rate of extinction' - there are, over long periods of time, a great stability of speciation - and then there are periods of great extinction. The fear marketing of the idea, while good at focusing peoples attention on an important topic, is inaccurate.

Our understanding of the whole ecosystem is so woefully inadequate that we are unable to accurately describe this time as a great extinction. It is not LIKE anything at all; to compare it to the dinosaur extinction, caused by the arrival of a large meteor, does the subject matter a disservice.

Our man-made eco-bomb needs to be seen as unique from the few natural extinctions we are aware of. This is an artificial extinction and needs to be understood that way in my opinion. Our consumption of the resources of the planet is destroying some species habitats, while at the same time causing other habitats to flourish. We are an invasive species - we cause great change in local diversity. If we continue to view nature as something we can exploit or as Quinn says, 'something that is not us, something outside us', we will destroy habitats that support the human species.


Update: Saturday September 11, 2010 @ 1:08 AM

Speaking of 'Things we understand a little' ...

As the director began to outline the motivations behind the film in the Prologue, I had an issue with one of the authors quoted.

I stand by my take on Daniel Quinn's point on the state of the biosphere - his 'great extinction' idea isn't repeated again until the epilogue. But, in retrospect, I admit I knee jerked a blog after watching only the first couple of minutes of a film. And, that upon now having watched the entire production, I can hardily recommend that everyone see this film (and then enable the building of a mud structure in their community - perhaps a playhouse in a local park - built with the participation of neighbourhood kids and their parents).

I've written an overview of the film: "First Earth - Ecological Architecture: Earth, Water and Straw, solid as concrete, builds strong communities".


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