18/04/12 (update)

From last weekend’s Globe and Mail newspaper in Toronto, Canada (14 April 2012), I read this column speaking to David Suzuki and environmentalism:


The columnist’s perspective immediately reminded me of the ancient Mayan civilisation, which was certain all would be well for them through building technology and prayers to their gods such as Chaac. Yet, despite all their good-intentions, the Mayan civilisation collapsed: with modern science now attributing this collapse to unsustainable living practices of the ancient Maya.  There are also the later Aztecs, who felt that sacrificing humans would save their skins (excuse the double entendre).  Yet the Aztecs too were overtaken, themselves by better technology possessed by the Spanish conquistadors.  The early Rapanui (Polynesian) inhabitants of Easter Island had their own god-like images: their Moai statues, which also did little to avoid (and whose development even actually contributed to) the collapse of society on that island. (Jared Diamond’s book: “Collapse: How Societies Choose to Fall or Succeed” offers a thorough account of the historical social happenings on Easter Island that lead to ecological collapse on that island).

Now in today’s world – at least according to this Globe columnist and in spite of ample scientific evidence of the increasing negative impacts to Earth of unsustainable human living – our species can be again saved by a god, this time by one named “technological revolution”.

An excellent, online (and free), movie that subtly speaks through a “Systems Thinking” lens to some of the direct consequences that technology has had on Earth’s environment is:

Home, 2009.  Film.  Directed by Yann ARTHUS-BERTRAND. France: EuropaCorp and Elzevir Films:   [online].  Available from: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jqxENMKaeCU.  [Accessed: 18 April 2012].

“When will we ever learn”, sang Pete Seeger. “When… will… we… ever…, learn.”