Friday, 29 April 2011

What is nature and natural once humans get technical?

Why there is no natural place left on Earth
by Tom Thorne
After considerable thought I have come to a conclusion that there is no nature or natural place left on earth. The planet is lit up by electric technology to the point that the continent outlines can be clearly seen from space. It’s obvious where the urbanization and population centres are on this planet. In addition,  satellites orbit the earth snapping  pictures that clearly show the advances of urbanization and the terra forming of the planet. Space around the earth is also populated by hundreds of satellites and space junk. So in addition to what humans have done to the earth’s surface we can also say goodbye to “natural space” too.
Organic farming a myth
I find it simultaneously disturbing and amusing that people search for organic food sources in this environment of advanced techniques. These innocents believe that organic farming can co-exist with an advanced level of terraforming and techniques that currently go on today. They have yet to get the message that even organic farming is an advanced technique of horticulture in itself and subject to the same human-made environmental pressures as non-organic farming. Farming is not natural nor is this practice particularly good at preserving the earth’s resources.
Others believe that they can save the environment or preserve nature or engage in active ecological efforts to make a difference. My contention is this pristine notion of Nature as the Earth Mother Gaia does not exist and the best they can do is slow the degradation of the earth’s environment. In rare cases humans may be able to reverse trends that if they continue spell impending disaster for life on earth. Even this work will also use technologies that are not without their effects on the planet.
Nature...there is no natural state possible any more.
It is a bleak prospect that we all face. When I contend that there is no nature left I use the following arguments to back up this idea. Our planet is now almost fully terraformed that is the surface is transformed by human activity whether it is farming, road and city building, the cutting of major forests or canaling and daming rivers. These processes has been going on for over 10,000 years and now is reaching its peak combined with ever growing human population. 
When this process first began the human population was very small and each human’s impact on the planet was very tiny. Now with the human population reaching towards seven billion the effect of humans and their techniques on the planet is much more intense than ever before. But let’s stop and go back in time so we can consider what all this means.
The human notion to master nature probably started innocently about 7000 years ago with the invention of horticulture and farming. Before that time the small populations of humans that did exist utilized their gathering and hunting technologies to greatly stress the animal fauna but they largely left the land as they found it. 
Farming is technique
The Neolithic turn to farming created the first widespread clearing of land of pristine forest. Southern England 5000 years ago is an example of this process. In this case there is marked archaeological evidence for the destruction of forests to create farm land. Farming was an attractive change from gathering and hunting and so grew exponentially creating rich societies on the Nile and Euphrates rivers and later in Europe. In Northern Europe enough wealth was created to spend many hours erecting ceremonial centres like Stonehenge. Farming and the creation of surplus grain to trade enabled the ancient Egyptian rulers the time to build huge pyramid and temple complexes with their wealth.
The price of these advances was and continues to be the destruction of the pristine nature that had evolved without the intervention of humans. Before humans this planet actually was natural. When humans developed into sentient toolmakers the die was cast for ever developing techniques which were applied to the natural bounty of the planet’s resources. This is the legacy we inherit for being this planet’s first and perhaps only toolmaker.
© Copyright 2011, Tom Thorne All Rights Reserved

No comments:

Post a Comment