Re: Powerful Extropian Memes

Max More (
Wed, 10 Mar 1999 11:06:06 -0800

At 11:13 AM 3/10/99 -0500, Mike Lorrey wrote:
>It is an excellent idea. The "Extropic Earth" movement in my opinion,
should work as a synergizer to encourage industry to invest in such projects, perhaps it could push for such regs, where if, say someone want to build a dam that threatens a species like the snail darter, they must construct habitat for the species elsewhere to compensate, just as many developers do now with wetlands. I know advocating government regs is anathema to most on the list, but it is how the current system works.

This is not the *only* way the system works and, despite some people's attempt to paint me as statism-friendly, I would be strongly opposed to encouraging any such regulations. In fact, I would support lobbying efforts to abolish the EPA.

One other way that is already being used is best exemplified by the Nature Conservancy. I was a member some years ago and should look into renewing (after checking out what they've been up to). In contrast to groups that look to government to force people to preserve areas of land unchanged, the Nature Conservancy raises money then *buys* the land and sets it aside so that it is not built upon. I presume this could sometimes actually bring in a profit to the NC, if they charged a fee for hikers, limited camping activities, etc.

The great thing about this approach is that is uses markets, coerces no one, and reflects people preferences rather than the effectiveness of a lobbying group in forcing their preferences on others.

It's interesting how preferences vary. Immediately south of where Natasha and I live (between Marina del Rey and Playa del Rey) is a stretch of unused land. While Natasha wants to see it remain unused (see likes the open space), I wouldn't mind seeing it "developed", since I find that area quite unattractive--no interesting flora or fauna or physical features. But if money was raised to buy the land (I don't know who owns it now--probably some part of the state), I could not object. Other areas of unused land that I find attractive, I would pay money to preserve. For example, if someone wanted to smooth out the top of Mt. San Jacinto and build a house or hotel on top, I would quite upset (I *love* to hike up there) and would pay to keep it as is.

>An idea I had for private species recovery would to possibly make a
lottery system,
> where people can buy as many tickets they want, voting for the species they
> want to see brought back. When some magic number of dollars is reached,
> the ticket selected as the winner decides which species 'wins' the
>dollars for its reintroduction.

I think this kind of idea is exactly the sort of constructive response we should be making (*in addition to* showing that the environmental problems are not as bad as many make them out to be, and that in many respects we're making steady progress). Before you can bring back species, you need a DNA sample (though eventually, with enough computing power, we should be able to reconstruct the probably genetic configuration of lost species from related ones). I haven't heard what they have been up to lately, but several people have talked about projects to preserve tissue samples of endangered species. Gregory Benford wrote about the LifeArk Project (or similar name), and the Foresight Institute talked about the Bioarchive Project. Anyone know what became of these? Once the ExI web site changes (explained in the Exponent that I'll be putting up very soon) are underway, there should be a section for information on projects like these.

Any more ideas for what to call this approach? "High Tech Free Market Environmentalism" is a mouthful. "Extropic Earth" excludes off-planet ecologies. Maybe simply "Extropian Environmentalism"?


Max More, Ph.D.
<> or <>

Implications of Advanced Technologies
President, Extropy Institute: EXTRO 4 Conference: Biotech Futures. See