Chapter 11
The Human Ecology and Environmental Control
How many tears have we left? We sit at a point in time in the
revolution of the earth around the sun and the sun’s trip
through the galaxy where some of the energy tending toward
entropy has been redirected toward regenerative activity. We
will soon be able to feed the whole population. Our ecology
has extended to Venus, to the bottom of the ocean, and back
into periods of history which were once inaccessible. Each
morning we turn to the sun and receive billions of ways to
regenerate life and human interests. But our physiological
state reflects inconsistencies in our adaptations to our
ecology. We suffer under air pollutants because the nervous
system of the globe—our communi cation networks—has not
adapted to the most effective engagement of information. If
our muscles—our machine technology—were adequately
connected to our brains, col lective human thinking would
not allow discomfort in our environment. We must try to
anticipate the ecological needs of earth. The comprehensive
state of mankind’s intelligence is the single dominating force
in the environment.
Edward Schollosberg
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When the Apollo astronauts relayed pictures from outer space and
the Moon from 1968 until 1972, people worldwide were stunned, espec -
ially by their photographs of our fragile home planet. These recorded
accomplishments challenged us to reevaluate and change our images of
ourselves and our environment, Earth. We were no longer earthbound!
These were the first photographs of our planet as a pale blue dot in the
universe. They gave us a new perspective of our world.
These televised images showed humans actually on the Moon, and this
is when we began to realize that our terrestrial habitat floats in the solar
galaxy. It became easier to comprehend Buckminster Fuller’s startling
reference to our “spaceship earth,” and allowed us to better appreciate
our tenuous grasp on life in this orbiting vehicle.
In this 21st century, the human race is finally gaining in global eco -
logical sensitivity. People are beginning to appreciate that it will take
multinational and multidisciplinary knowledge to cope with accelerating
environmental problems.
Environmental Perspective
Throughout humanity’s long journey from tribal organization to plane -
tary civilization, our influence over the environment has been relatively
limited, until the 20th century. Since then, environmental changes
have proceeded so rapidly as to cause Norbert Wiener, the creator of
cybernetic theory, to issue a warning some forty years ago:
“There is a real possibility that changes in our environment
have exceeded our capacity to adapt. The real dangers at
the present time make one wonder whether we have not
changed the environment beyond our ability to adjust to it.”
In the past hundred years, humanity has obtained more control over the
environment than exercised in all previous existence of our species. And
now we are extending our dominion offworld, out into the solar system.
The provocative space-age author and artist Earl Hubbard verbalized
these almost unthinkable ideas thusly:
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