Concerns of a Biologist Communicated by a Biochemist
Few people are sufficiently knowledgeable and able to issue an urgent and documented call to avert the environmental collapse that may well befall us if we do not heed the obvious and continue to seek profit and pleasure at the expense of irreversibly degrading our planet. One such person is the renowned biologist Professor E.O. Wilson who is a member of our National Academy of Science, a two-time Pulitzer Prize winner, and now author of "The Creation" (W.W. Norton & Co., NY, 2006). In his book, where he is writing to a fictional Baptist pastor in an effort to get those who are religious to support scientists in a conjoined effort to save our planet, Wilson points out that the problems of modern civilization rise from the disjunction between our ancient and glacially slow-evolving genetic heritage at one level of evolution and our ultra-fast cultural evolution at the other level. With the latter comes the technological means to destroy extensively and rapidly ourselves and our environment. Sadly, much in this direction has already been accomplished. As Wilson puts it with understatement, "It will be prudent to curtail the final and permanent obliteration of Nature until we understand more precisely what we are and what we are doing."
Our destructive power seemingly has no limit. "We have, all by our bipedal, wobbly-headed selves, altered Earth's atmosphere and climate away from the norm." Wilson goes on to point out that we have spread thousands of toxic chemicals worldwide, appropriated 40 percent of the solar energy available for photosynthesis, converted almost all of the easily arable land, dammed most of the rivers, raised the planet sea level, and are now running out of fresh water. "A collateral effect of all this frenetic activity is the continuing extinction of wild ecosystems, along with the species that compose them. This also happens to be the only human impact that is irreversible."
The frightening aspect is that many of us, including our politicians who are supposed to have our wellbeing in mind, know much or all of this, yet fail to make sufficient effort to "curtail the final and permanent obliteration of Nature", which, by-the-way, we are a part of! We must recognize that the world including humankind is on a downward slope and correct our destructive behavior before it is too late for what is left. The remedies are largely obvious. Start with voting out of office those who serve the few and not the many. Alter your own patterns of material use such as will extend favorable life for others here now and to come. Try starting with our UU suggestions for a more environmentally friendly, less energy wasteful lifestyle.