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The world might survive if mankind can turn "I'm right and you have to do what I say!" into "Let's figure out what works best and do it!"- Rick

Man and the Environment.

There are two basic arguments concerning mans’ relationship to the environment. Both are correct and both are incomplete. Both share the same primary assumption, which is itself arguable.
The main premise is that mankind has manageable control over his environment. A more accurate statement would be that mankind has a measurable effect on his environment. Whether he has control over it or not is still being argued in both circles, and will be for quite a while.
One argument says that man has a responsibility to maintain and care for his environment. The other says that the environment is for man to use as he wants. Both arguments can cite religious and scientific sources to justify themselves. Both have become banners for different power bases, making the arguments themselves almost irrelevant.
Mankind has the capabilities to tailor his actions in ways beneficial to both himself and the environment. Circumstances will eventually force these capabilities into action through resource limitations and health threats, but the transition will be easier if people start sooner rather than later. Indeed, the transition has already started through recycling programs and other environmentally related legislation. These are good things, but other voluntary and well thought out actions are necessary to save us through both physical action and the contagion of intent.
The idea of working with environmental circumstance rather than trying to control our surroundings must be the motivating idea behind any changes in our relationship with the earth. This change in environmental thinking is much more drastic than it looks on paper. Western environmental history is based on an adversarial relationship.
Technology development is based on the idea that man can control isolated parts of nature and use them as defenses against environmental change. These changes can range from weather changes and natural disasters to the natural development of the human race itself. For example, one of the most common motivating factors behind prolific technological development is the environmental factor of isolated expanding human populations which is, of course, war.
This motivation is so ingrained in western thought that it is almost instinct. This instinct is what must be changed in order to save our world. This instinct is a fear that must be faced and overcome. Some would say that this fear is our survival instinct, which is a false statement. Our survival instinct is what will help us overcome this fear. Our survival depends on the survival of our environment.
The human race was produced in and supported by the environment. Both the Bible and the theory of evolution concur with this fact. The Bible says that God created the earth FIRST and gave Adam the responsibility of CARETAKER. The theory of evolution says that man appeared because he occupied a niche in the environmental scheme of things.
The Bible and the theory of evolution agree on another thing. They both suggest that cooperation with the environment is the basis of survival. The Bible contains instructions for environmental cooperation such as crop rotation. Evolution shows, through history, that the people who learned how to facilitate the environment through farming, ranching etc. were the first ones to exhibit “civilized behavior.”
The original cooperation between man and environment was so successful that mankind has been coasting on it ever since. This success released so much leisure time that man was free to define many leisure activities as necessities. Money and technology are games developed by a bored life form which this extraordinary creature has decided to take much too seriously.
The political aspect of these games is taken so seriously that they interfere with man’s ability to set priorities. Money and technology have taken over even food production as the priority of the dominant cultures of mankind. People have become so addicted to money and technology that less than ten percent of the world’s population produces the food for the other ninety percent, who take this food production for granted.
The people who produce these gargantuan amounts of food are dependent on money and technology to maintain their high rate of production. They use manufactured fertilizers that deplete the natural nutrients of the soil to grow their crops and necessitate the continued dependence on these soil drugs. They use manufactured foods to feed their livestock. These food and drugs have been known to saturate and poison the meat. They use massive machinery to harvest this produce. They must take huge loans each year to pay for these processes.
The adoption of amusements as necessities and the arrogant assumption that man knows better than the life processes designed by God is self destructive. There is proof everywhere around us. Look at the pollution and poverty of the major cities. Look at the depletion of the world’s forests. Look at the condition of the ozone layer. Look at the famines and the accompanying economic depressions of the early twentieth century, the most prosperous century in the history of mankind. Man’s arrogant financial and technological solutions to his problems are the equivalent of putting band aids on a cancer.
Money and technology are not the problems, they are not evil or destructive in or of themselves. They can be very useful and beneficial. It is man’s obsession with them that is evil and self destructive. We must decide to use them in cooperation with the earth’s original processes and basic principles rather than as a tether, because the earth will always break that tether, to the detriment of whoever tries to tie it.
The Bible instructs us that those that break principles, wether they understand them or not, will suffer consequences. Evolution and human history show us that life forms that oversaturate or overinfluence their environment eventually deplete and destroy their support system. We must open our eyes to the results of our actions.
We must heed the instruction of the Bible and the lessons of evolution. We must become caretakers of the earth rather than pursuing its submission. We must fulfill our niches rather than our ambitions. The Bible tells us that God made us to LIVE in the garden. Evolution tells us that we would not survive without having a place in the scheme of the environment.
We are slowly waking up from the blindness of our arrogance. We must stop stretching and yawning from this awakening or we will have nothing to wake up to. It may be too late already and we must act as if it is.

From “Thoughts and Speculations” by R.M.R. Jr.

Reprinted with permission of copyright holder.