ENV: Pro-conservationism [was Re: Clock of the Long Now]

From: Robert Bradbury (bradbury@genebee.msu.su)
Date: Tue Jan 04 2000 - 21:56:35 MST

On Tue, 4 Jan 2000 QueeneMUSE@aol.com wrote:

> It's like Robert, out on the information highway, presenting us with an
> example of art,

Ok, point taken on my use of limited classic examples and on Robin's point
that Natasha's art would stop trucks (so she should present it on a truck
so you don't have the inertia matching problem causing accidents).

Thanks also for her reminding me that the point of the clock is to get
people to think in long time horizons. I've been doing this for so
long that I forget that others don't have this perspective. It seemed
so obvious to me many years ago that if you were going to live hundreds
of years you would be pro-environment and "conservationist".

I do think perhaps that this observation may get lost from the
press releases (though I will admit to not reading them closely).
People will tend to lose sight of the point of the clock as soon
as you mention living hundreds of years because you've immediately
cast yourself as someone from la-la land. Until you get people to
accept that as a *probability*, not as a mere *possibility*, everything
that falls out as a consequence is fictional speculation.

But, that being the case, it brings us back around to "conservationism",
"greens" & "politics". If you assume that we are going to live hundreds
of years then of course you are going to have a conservationist perspective.
So being a transhumanist, would seem to *inherently* incorporate a
pro-environment political orientation. I personally can remember in my
youth, fishing for cod and haddock in the ocean banks East of Boston.
We also caught 600-800lb tunafish. Today? Nada. The oceans have been
stripped clean in a classic case of "raping the commons". This was
entirely due to the politicians caving in to the short-sighted economic
agenda of a special interest group (commercial fisherman), and even
subsidizing the building of larger more efficient harvesting vessels.
We are now dealing with similar problems in the Pacific Northwest
regarding salmon fisheries. Its a crime and the battles have not
yet been won by the conservationists/resource "managers". Given
the economic incentives involved, even if we do manage to develop
oceanic wildlife "preserves", it is going to take active government
policing to see that they are not violated. Fortunately we probably
have the satellite technology to do this. Though I could see
requirements for un-tamperable GPS recording "black boxes" on
fishing vessels.

Now, given Greg's work, one needs to be careful in splitting the hairs
when it comes down to where we would oppose the agenda or actions of
organizations like the Greens or Sierra Club. It seems to me that at
the root of some of these organizations is a desire to return the Earth
to its "natural" state. Since that would "theoretically" require
eliminating all the humans, this would seem to be a very *anti-humanist*

Does anyone familiar with these movements know of any good sources on
the "philosophy" of "Greenism"? I.e., someone who has looked closely
at how much "greenism" is "enough"? How do they resolve the inherent
paradoxes in nature? E.g., it used to be that conservationists would
try to put out fires, now it is realized that the "natural" thing to
do is to let them burn. How do they resolve the question that extinctions
have occured "naturally" for billions of years? How do they make
a distinction between man and a volcano causing extinctions which in turn
may create new niches, allowing for further evolution)? It seems that
in taking on the extremists, we should be very clear about what we
do support in cases where we are aligned with the moderates.


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