The Laws of Nature Still Apply

February 27, 2010

How soon we forget nearly 200,000 years of history.  We consider ourselves separate from the natural world, and yet think we reside within it as one might live in a house or a city.  And this is a problem because we can’t just slap a new coat of paint on this one; we can’t simply throw some new shingles on the roof.  It is readily apparent that the health of the global ecosystem is in poor and rapidly worsening shape.  We see: the declining health of the oceans; global warming; the extinction of species at more than 100 times the normal rate; the decreasing availability of fresh water- I could go on and on. The rate of population growth coupled with industrialization has transformed our planet in ways beyond parallel in only a few short generations. 

It is an old story in businesses of all types: a well-known and all-too-common pitfall is to grow too big, too fast- to get overextended and then go bankrupt.  A man can lose his business, his home.  His employees lose their jobs; his clients are left out in the cold.  This happens everyday.  This is unfortunately an apt metaphor for the fate that may well befall human civilization (as we know it), though the consequences will be far worse.  Billions of lives depend on the physical, financial and commercial infrastructure that now stretches to all corners of the globe.  And for this reason we should have long ago (at least a few decades) paused to consider how we might seek to promote a balance that might sustain us all in some reasonable level of comfort, peace, prosperity and health.

 I am afraid that what we see happening around us is the natural inviolable pattern that seeks always to enforce balance.  That dynamic tension between creation and inevitable destruction, like the string on a bow, can only be stretched so far before it returns to equilibrium or breaks.  We are bound by the same laws of nature that govern the terrible violent beauty that is found in jungles of the Amazon or the Great Barrier Reef.  We fool ourselves at our own peril to think the laws of nature do not apply to us as well.


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