Quote Originally Posted by Gary Wassner View Post
****, you are a cynic, my friend.
I prefer to think of myself as a pragmatic realist

Return to an awareness of our relationship to the earth.
I'm all for this. 100%, it's what we need. It's a mindset we need to encourage and engender. My question is simply -- how do we do it? Like, how do we really do it? Surely proposing that we go about nude fornicating wantonly isn't the actual answer -- that's more of a result, isn't it?

The thing is -- to me -- the depth of this question of how we get people to realize that they are a part of the planet appears vastly complex and goes into every element of life. But there could be a lynch pin -- something to create a trickle-down effect through the entire complex. I don't think we can afford to be nice in our approach to the answers. We have to play hardball. But we also have to be devious. We have to think of something that makes people responsible without even realizing that they're being responsible. We're a society of teenagers. We need to be shaped subtly.

Isn't it true though that China is one of the worst polluters in the world today? And isn't the vast majority of the population there less than modern?
My step-father is a fairly big player in international environmental policy. He heads up water-table management projects across the world, but mostly in China, South America (primarily Peru, Columbia, and Brazil), and India. He's done work in Pakistan and Mongolia, too. So, speaking from what he's told me: no, the vast majority is no more "less than modern" than we are.

Like us, China has developed and not-so-developed regions. Much of which is for the same reasons we have. Particularly aboriginal/traditional type people, who tend to live in remote areas, are not being modernized with the same attention as the cities. The cities are the squeaky wheel getting the grease.

As for their pollution record -- yes, it's currently worse than ours. But they've only started to approach post-industrial consumerism as their production model in the past 15 years or so. Whereas we've been doing it since the 40's/50's. We've gone through the dirty stage, realized how dirty it was, and started cleaning up. So it's all well and good for us to criticize them as being terrible polluters, but they're playing at catch up to compete with us. The old omelette and eggs thing.

Everything we do has an impact on the planet to some degree. But there's only so much we can control and there's only so much we can even be aware of.
I agree again. But we should make sure that we use what we do know to our best advantage and not ignore obvious faults. Like cutting down forests to create fields of solar panels -- probably short sighted. Or covering our wilderness with wind turbines that kill 10's of thousands of birds annually. We need to find a solution that let's us use what we have with lesser detriment. Obviously hindsight is 20/20, but isn't the point of this kind of discussion, and of science, to try to put corrective lenses onto foresight?

What exactly are you proposing? But first, what exactly is the problem you're trying to solve? I lost it somewhere long ago in this thread. Can you tell me the answer in fewer rather than more words???
When have I ever displayed a knack for succinctness? C'mon now...

OK. As short as I can make it: there are probably a small handful of things we do/have that make our entire way of life work (the two videos were to illustrate the interconnectedness of our basic systems, and the issues each represent). If we try to change one, it will either change the others, or the others will prevent that one from changing. What, in your individual assessment, are the fundamentals that allow our current system to work? What effect will changing them have on both us and the environment (as both separate and connected systems)? And, what might such change mean as it relates to our values?

Or, as a rough-draft intro/thesis-statement for a paper: "Current environmental science has been roundly accepted by world governments and NGOs that our way of life is threatening our very ability to live into the future. Science fiction has envisioned a future where technology is our saviour, and interstellar colonization disperses humanity throughout the cosmos. Resources are everywhere to be found; utopia might lay around every corner. Fantasy has taken the opposite approach, imaging worlds where magic, mysticism, and faith allow humanity to live within and shape their environment. Technology murders the land, laying in wait to consume everything into a faithless dystopia.

Ultimately, both brands of Speculative Fiction envision a world where something other than us gives us the power to control our world. Speculative Fiction has been lauded as the last bastion of great ideas -- an open forum for the discussion of the "real" issues. Yet the history of literature also tells us that what is not mentioned is often just as potent as what is. Thus, it is arguable that Speculative Fiction highlights our true sense of powerlessness -- but against whom and what are we powerless? Science contrasted against Speculative Fiction, it seems, tell us it is we who are powerless against us."

That's gist of it.