Stewardship

“An Armageddon is approaching at the beginning of the third millennium. But it is not the cosmic war and fiery collapse of mankind foretold in sacred scripture. It is the wreckage of the planet by an exuberantly plentiful and ingenious humanity.

The race is now on between the technoscientific forces that are destroying the living environment and those that can be harnassed to save it…

…a global land ethic is uregently needed. Not just any land ethic… but one based on the best understanding of ourselves and the world around us that science and technology can provide.”

–       Edward O. Wilson, The Future of Life

I picked up The Future of Life by Edward O. Wilson today since it was so emphatically advertised by Deb after breakfast. Tired of the Kerouac I’d been reading, same old and hackneyed hoboisms, I decided I wanted to try and actually challenge myself to learn something I know so little about – science. In this quote, taken from the opening prologue, Wilson highlights a thought that I’ve been collecting myself lately. Coming out to California for Finding the Good, I had pretty much settled on a hopeless fate of the world – since our ecosystems are being irreparably polluted, even erased, I surmised that we humans with this understanding could wait for only an inevitable economic collapse to bring any sort of positive change; broke humans being mostly harmless humans. But I’ve come into contact with some who think differently. Paul Spitzer, an ornithologist who gave us a bird-watching tour on San Ignacio Lagoon, seems to agree with Wilson, when he told us that it may be necessary for humans to “garden the whole show.” From an in depth understanding of the biology of ecological systems, perhaps some human tampering can be just the thing needed to save it. A great example of this stumbled onto the abandoned San Roque beach today – a group of Mexican ecologists working on island conservation are planning to live on Isla San Roque for six months in order to study and protect a fragile population of Turin on the small, rocky Pacific island. The group plans to set up rat-traps to catch the pest likely responsible for disappearing eggs. Though the problem is human introduced – as many problems are – the problem may also be human fixable. This idea of educated stewardship is perhaps one of the only positive actions left for our society; identify the bits and pieces struggling in ecosystems, and work like hell to sustain them. I use stewardship in what should be its truest sense – not a license to exploit, but a responsibility to understand and conserve.

By: Andrew Payton

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