Friday, August 3, 2007

Mondo Cane

‘What would all this be like without us?’

Today our salvation is supposed to lie in reducing ‘human impact’, allowing nature to ‘recover’. Weisman talks about the disappearance of humans as a kind of ‘decontamination’, a return to a ‘former equilibrium’. The noxious substances we have produced would be removed bit by bit, with the lowering of CO2 levels, the leaching of fertilisers from the soil, the disappearance of atmospheric toxins. Nature would come to life again, with the return of forests and elephants. One ecologist Weisman speaks to finds solace in the thought that ‘if the planet can recover from the Permian, it can recover from the human’.

‘Recover from the human’ – that is an easy thing to say, and it sounds very grand. Let’s see what it looks like.

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