This excerpt from ERLE C. ELLIS’ article gets to an interesting point, that sustenance of humanity is primarily a societal issue – affected by how we act – versus being based on the natural systems of our spaceship earth. Also, it might just be helpful to be hopeful. I find myself telling my children “where there’s a will, there’s a way,” as my mother used to tell me.
“The science of human sustenance is inherently a social science. Neither physics nor chemistry nor even biology is adequate to understand how it has been possible for one species to reshape both its own future and the destiny of an entire planet. This is the science of the Anthropocene. The idea that humans must live within the natural environmental limits of our planet denies the realities of our entire history, and most likely the future. Humans are niche creators. We transform ecosystems to sustain ourselves. This is what we do and have always done. Our planet’s human-carrying capacity emerges from the capabilities of our social systems and our technologies more than from any environmental limits.
Two hundred thousand years ago we started down this path. The planet will never be the same. It is time for all of us to wake up to the limits we really face: the social and technological systems that sustain us need improvement.”
By ERLE C. ELLIS
Published: September 13, 2013