Friday, September 17, 2010

Against Ecology Coercion

Are humans part of nature?

Ecology is very important today. It is in fashion and will stay in fashion for years to come, thus it is crucial to understand its basic foundations correctly. And of course it is needless to say that every "fashion" is inherently wrong... History teaches us that what the majority of people think is right, is usually something that has been imposed on them by someone with enough power and not-so-good motives... If you read the below-mentioned simple questions you may understand that most of you have a wrong idea of what "ecology" really is and what it means for us humans to respect nature...
  • What is the difference between a volcano emitting CO2 and a human-made factory emitting CO2? None, as long as the factories are required for the survival and progress of our civilization.
  • Why should people care about not harming other species while a lion can kill a human in order to eat and have noone blaim it for "non-ecological" consciousness? They should not, as long as they need to do that in order to feed their selfs and their children.
  • Why should humans care about sustaining the ecology balance while bacteria or insects do not?
  • How can a species be the "dominant" one on a planet without exchibiting un-ecological behaviour? It cannot.
  • Would we be the dominant species on Earth if we respected the ecological balance of the planet when we were only one million humans in total? No.
  • Could we become the dominant species if dinosaurs were not extinct? No.
  • Would we be here know talking if the ecologic balance was not distrurbed and dinausaurs did not disappear from the face of the Earth? No.
These and many other similar questions pose a distinction wall between what is the "right" ecology (i.e. ecology based on the correct reasoning) and what one could call "ecology coercion". This article is an attempt to answer these questions and find out if we have crossed that wall...

Should we be ecologists?

One can be an ecologist and respect nature for a great variety of reasons. [2] [3] [4] However when one is based on the incorrect reasons for being an ecologist, then many antinomies occur. We should respect nature and not harm the environment, but not for the reasons most of us think. The main purpose of this text is to make clear these possible antinomies and create a solid foundation for respecting nature.

The wrong reasons for being an ecologist

Being an ecologist because "we should save the planet" is wrong.
Being an ecologist because "we should not disrupt the ecosystem balance" is wrong.
Being an ecologist because "we should not pollute" is wrong.
Being an ecologist because "humans should respect nature" is wrong.
Being an ecologist because "we should save endangered species from dying" is wrong.
Being an ecologist because a specific political party told you so is wrong.

All the above reasons are based on the wrong assumption that "humans are not a part of nature". We consider ourselves as something "outside" the nature's system and, thus, we tend to blame everything we do as un-natural and (for that reason) wrong. However there is absolutely no reason for believing that. We are members of the ecosystem and no data can prove that we are un-natural. What we do is an integral part of nature and there is no reason to think that building a factory is inherently different from a termite building a nest. As other species use materials to build, we use materials also found in nature to build. As other species use their abilities to fight other species, we use our abilities to kill other species.

Stating that we should be careful so as not to destroy the planet is plainly wrong. We do not have the power to even scratch its surface, not even explore its oceans. We cannot destroy the planet.

Stating that we should not disrupt the ecosystem balance is a tremendous hypocrisy. We were once upon a time only thousands of us on the whole planet. We became the dominant species on the planet by doing exactly what ecologists say we shouldn't do: disrupting the ecosystem balance!

But this is not even the whole story. The truth is that every species is trying to do exactly the same! All insects, bacteria or crocodiles, are trying to dominate the environment. Each species is trying to be the dominant one and does not care about the "balance". Why is it "natural" for insects to multiply by millions and devour everything they see, but it is not "natural" for humans to eat other species? The answer is simple: there is no reason at all! What we do is as natural as a plant growing at the expense of another plant.

And why should it be OK for us to help species on the verge of extinction to survive? Isn't that against the most basic laws of evolution, i.e. that the weak die? If nature has "selected" a species to disappear, who are we to deny that reality and try to keep it alive? That is not "natural" and, thus, not ecological at all.

Stating that "we should respect nature" is another great hypocrisy. Many "ecologists" state that we should respect nature but at the same time do many things against "nature". They plant new trees but at the same time use their car to go to work. They recycle but at the same time buy plastic bags. They vote against the building of new electricity factories, but at the same time use laptops which devour electricity.

The point is: up to which point are they ready to sacrifice their good life and be a 100% "ecologist" according to their wrong perception of "nature"? If what we do is un-natural, then in order to be a "true" ecologist one should deny everything the human civilization has accomplished during the last 1000 years and return to the caves. How can you state that you are a true ecologist according to that wrong definition, if you use a laptop and burn electricity in order to come to this site and read this article?

So the general type of ecology motto "we should not do that and that and that" is plainly wrong. We must pinpoint specific reasons for being ecologists and not just shout that "everything we do is un-natural and we should stop doing it". We should not deny our nature, we should not deny that we are part of nature.

And additionally to the above, being an ecologist should not be related to politics. I don't believe any sane man would argue against protecting the environment or against recycling or against behaving as a balanced person in a balanced ecosystem in general. The problem is with the multi-billion dollar industry of "ecology" which during the last years imposes itself upon everyone while serving specific political agendas. And no, these politicians have not suddenly started 'caring' (LOL). Modern political motivated ecology is not about educating people to have balance with their ecosystem. It is all about acquitting polluting companies and states just because they... fund Greenpeace. It is about passing the responsibility from these companies and states to the... people who are do bad and who do not... recycle. (I do, but not because I believe the planet will be 'saved' if I recycle while the companies which pollute continue polluting) It is about passing new regulations which will force you to change car and refrigerator every 5 years in order to be... ecological. All in all ecology is today more like fashion and a tool to boost the economy. Want to care for the climate? Stop buying new cell phones and new big cars. I doubt any ecological organization will ever support such a goal... And yes, I do not care if the climate change is human-made or not (for me based on the evidence it is somewhat funny to believe that we are so powerful to destroy the planet, the only ones we can destroy are ourselves). I just want ecology for the right reasons. Not for Al Gore to sell more books...

What we do is natural and there a great variety of good reasons for being an ecologist today...

The right reasons for being an ecologist

Being an ecologist because "disrupting the ecosystem balance beyond the point necessary for us to sustain and improve our civilization is un-reasonable" is correct. Being an ecologist because "disrupting the ecosystem balance could lead to natural disasters that would harm humans" is correct. Being an ecologist because "polluting could harm the health of other human beings" is correct.

The difference between these reasons and the reasons stated in the previous chapter is sublte but important: The basis for true ecology must be humans and not nature. We are part of nature and everything we do is natural. The higher values we have like humans are the ones on which we should base our ecological consciousness. One should know why he/she believes something, otherwise he is just a non-thinking being drifted around by fashion and politics...

The point is that we are part of nature, but we are also humans. That means that we have some higher values that animals do not have. The value of "moderation" is one of them. Based on that, it is true that we should not disrupt the ecosystem balance without that being necessary. The great difference between that statement and the wrong statement in the previous chapter is that here I consider the distrurbance of the balance as something necessary and "natural". If we need to disrupt the ecosystem so as to improve our civilization, then we should by all means do so (as we have already done many times in the past).
However if there is no reason to disrupt it, then it is illogical to do so, the same way as it is illogical to do anything else without a valid reason! As simple as that.
If we pollute the planet, the planet will not suffer anything. We will suffer. If we fill the planet with radiation, that would no different than so many planets in the galaxy with no atmosphere and high levels of radiation. It would be as natural as volcanoes errupting and filling the air with CO2 thus making it inhabitable...
I am human and I think before I act. The same way as I do not fill my house with trash, I do not pollute the planet. The same way as I do not do things with no reason at all, I do not kill other animals just for fun. It is my higher education and spirit that tell me to act in such a "civilized" (and humane) manner. Not nature.
I am part of nature and not a foreign body in it.
So protecting human life, along with plain human logic, are the best valid reasons for being an ecologist.

Exploitation of ecology by the states and the companies

It is sad that the states all over the world have been exploiting the philosophy of ecology in order to protect specific financial interests of their own and of the big companies which support them. Today, even though the ones responsible for the pollution are the big industries, there is a big campaign for convincing citizens that it is actually their fault. Today, even though simple improvements of the industry production process (e.g. use of filters) that help the environment in measures which are scales greater that the results that can be achieved by all the citizens of the world trying to help the environment through their whole lifetime, states try to convince us that we can save the environment. I do not disagree with the fact that small actions can have an impact if done by thousands of people. But I do not accept to feel guilt if by mistake I did not throw away my bottle of water in the correct recycle trash can, while at the same time the big industries of the world continue polluting in the way they do. If a policeman is in a town where everybody kills other people for fun, he should not start his law upholding operations by me who stepped on an ant by mistake while I was walking...
Surely recycling is something good. Surely recycling helps.
But if you talk about recycling anf fail to see the main issue, then you are simply out of subject: you say something correct, but you do not see the point.
There is a very good reason why the profit-oriented companies talk so much about recycling...
It is like a citizen is walking in a place where people kill each other brutally and suddently and by accident this man steps on an ant: every murderer in the place looks despised at him and try to convince him that he should stop killing ants... Surely we are all responsible and surely we can all do something. But some are more responsible and some can do MUCH more things. And we should start with them first...

The Hypocrisy of Ecological organizations

Many organizations claim to care for the environment. Many organizations claim to be the only hope of the planet and ask for our support for that. Indeed Greenpeace protested against a French nuclear test at sea during the '90s. But where was Greenpeace and other similar organizations when USA conducted more than 600 surface nuclear weapon tests? Similarly Greenpeace and other ecological organizations protest against oil spills that destroy the seas - at least this is what they claim. But where was Greenpeace and those other organizations during the great BP oil spill in 2010? When thousands of liters of oil spilled in sea every day, those organizations were SILENT... Why? A true thinking ecologists should wander why...

And this is not all. After the oil leak was contained, new agencies were eager to "inform" the public that all the oil from that leak was GONE! [1] Were did it go? They did not know! Some suspected - allegedly - that oil eating bacteria helped (even though these bacteria did not show themselfs on any other oil leak on the planet which is not linked to BP or USA), others that the oil evaporated (!), other that...who cares? The point is that the BIGGEST OIL LEAK in the history of USA had ended...

They all want us to feel guilty for not recycling a bottle of water, but when it comes to the great power companies of the world, silence seems the only way they know...

That one little burp by Mt. Etna has already put more than 10,000 times the CO2 into the atmosphere than mankind has in our ENTIRE time on earth but don't worry, a scam is in the works to tax you for your minuscule footprint....

Against ecology coercion

What does ecology teach us today? It says that we should not pollute. That we should save the planet! But ecology is all about balance. It's all about living while accepting other creatures should live (and this touches some deeper philosophical materialistic and atheistic dogmas of our time which I will not analyze in this article) However the things upon which we base ecology are very important. And many inconsistencies occur if we base our ecology on the wrong foundation. Today's ecology is imposed by politics and politics have agendas. Agendas which do not care about the people or the planet abut about the... agendas. Ecological balance is something which is difficult enough to deal with even if you are a philosophy professor, let alone a politician 'caring' for the plant.

Answers regarding ecological issues are sometimes not so straightforward as we would like them to be. Two small paradigms are mentioned below even though many more can be found. The point I am attempting to make is simple: don't be hypocritical when it comes to ecology.

  • For example, does being ecologists mean that we should not go to Mars or other planets out of fear not to disturb the ecosystem there? According to the wrong definition of ecology above, we should not. (and the funny thing here is that we all do not care about that since even 'ecologists' like the idea of colonizing Mars) However we humans are curious by nature (and I emphasize "nature") and WILL go to other planets and WILL alter the ecosystem there.
  • Should we "kill" the flu virus that can kill us by the millions? According to the wrong definition of ecology mentioned above, we should not because that would be an interference of human to nature. Killing another species is not "ecological". On the other hand, nobody argues in favour of the flu virus. So what is the solution?
However if you use the correct basis of ecology one does not have such "issues". If we base ecology on the correct foundation then it is not un-natural to go an inhabit another planet. If you base ecology on the value of human and human logic it is not "wrong" to expand as species, but it is wrong to kill other species just for fun. We are humans, not animals. The very fact that we wander for things like "ecosystem balance" is a major distinction. We should not base our ecology on the wrong idea that "we are not part of nature and we should protect it". We should base our ecology on us.

Bibliography - Links

  > Main articles / Κύρια άρθρα   > Limits of Science   > Όρια της Επιστήμης
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