One of the most important insights that I’ve gotten in working with biologists and ecologists is that today it’s actually not really known on a scientific basis how well different conservation interventions will work. And it’s because we just don’t have a lot of data.
Today, in America right now, we only can think of growth in quantitative terms. And in a resource-constrained environment, how frickin’ stupid is that? You’re actually imposing your own death sentence by not being able to get over the grip of this quantitative dynamic.
Cities form a vast global network connected by flows of energy, food, information. This global network is the challenge of the 21st century. How do we make more sustainable cities, with smaller ecological footprints and more equitable human wellbeing?
I like to think that we are an intelligent species. I mean, actually the people that often get this most quickly are the people who are poorest, because they know the system doesn’t work. But so many of our supposedly brightest people pick this up and don’t question it. And then we have the all the whole field of economics, which is an ideology built on assumptions that if you examine them are absurd. Because you know, economists simply look at the economy as a pricing system. They’re not system thinkers. Part of the cause our crisis is that we’re not educated to think in terms of systems.
I don’t think ecological awareness is a sort of “happy happy joy joy, we are all earthlings” thing. I think it’s actually a kind of uncanny realization. On the one hand there’s no away, on the other hand what the hell is this? “This is not my beautiful waste. This is not my beautiful toilet. This is not my beautiful Pacific Ocean.” You know, all of a sudden these things become somehow not exactly what we thought they were.
Although our ultimate goal is protecting biological diversity on the land and protecting the integrity of these natural communities, the strategic way to get there is to prevent these ranches from being sub-divided. And it turns out the issue that these ranches are having, you know, they get together and talk and say, “Wow our neighbor over here sold out and that ranch got sub-divided…” every time that happens, it puts pressure on the remaining ranchers who want to stay in ranching.
[A]ll these hidden infrastructural and material costs go into the stuff that we just use very very quickly. We just kind of consume them, we don’t think about them, we just want to go on with our lives. When you start actually sort of picking away, looking at it all, you realize how shocking it is.