Wilson’s “The Planetary Killer”


Genesis 1:28-30 (RSV):  "And God blessed them, and God said to them, 'Be fruitful and multiply, and fill the earth and subdue it; and have dominion over the fish of the sea and over the birds of the air and over every living thing that moves upon the earth.'  And God said, 'Behold, I have given you every plant yielding seed which is upon the face of all the earth, and every tree with seed in its fruit; you shall have them for food.  And to every beast of the earth, and to every bird of the air, and to everything that creeps on the earth, everything that has the breath of life, I have given every green plant for food.'  And it was so."


Al Gore, Earth in the Balance, page 218:  "The Cartesian approach to the human story allows us to believe that we are separate from the earth, entitled to view it as nothing more than an inanimate collection of resources that we can exploit however we like; and this fundamental misperception has led us to our current crisis.  But if the new story of the Deep Ecologists is dangerously wrong, it does at least provoke an essential question:  What new story can explain the relationship between human civilization and the earth--and how we have come to a moment of such crisis?  One part of the answer is clear:  our new story must describe and foster the basis for a natural and healthy relationship between human beings and the earth.  The old story of God's covenant with both the earth and humankind, and its assignment to human beings of the role of good stewards and faithful servants, was--before it was misinterpreted and twisted in the service of the Cartesian world view--a powerful, nobler, and just explanation of who we are in relation to God's earth.  What we need today is a fresh telling of our story with the distortions removed."


Wilson, "The Planetary Killer," page 194:  "Mass extinctions in Australia did not begin with the arrival of Western civilization.  The cataclysm of its mammals during the past two centuries is only the latest episode in a much longer history of the decline of the overall fauna.  ...  It appears that the European colonists of Australia, long afterward and aided by their companion rats, rabbits, and foxes, have merely carried the extinction process to the next level beyond that inflicted by the aboriginals."


Wilson, page 199:  "Humanity has so far played the role of planetary killer, concerned only with its own short-term survival.  We have cut much of the heart out of biodiversity.  The conservation ethic, whether expressed as taboo, totemism [kinship], or science, has generally come too late and too little to save the most vulnerable of life forms."


Definition from the 1970s:  "Conservation is the dynamic management of our natural resources to benefit the most people for the longest period of time." 




From:  “Arctic National Wildlife Refuge: Why Trash an American Treasure for a Tiny Percentage of Our Oil Needs?” http://www.nrdc.org/land/wilderness/arctic.asp

Arctic Refuge Oil Is a Distraction, Not a Solution

What would America gain by allowing heavy industry into the refuge? Very little. Oil from the refuge would hardly make a dent in our dependence on foreign imports -- leaving our economy and way of life just as exposed to wild swings in worldwide oil prices and supply as it is today. The truth is, we simply can't drill our way to energy independence.

Although drilling proponents often say there are 16 billion barrels of oil under the refuge's coastal plain, the U.S. Geological Service's estimate of the amount that could be recovered economically -- that is, the amount likely to be profitably extracted and sold -- represents less than a year's U.S. supply.

It would take 10 years for any Arctic Refuge oil to reach the market, and even when production peaks -- in the distant year of 2027 -- the refuge would produce a paltry 1 or 2 percent of Americans' daily consumption. Whatever oil the refuge might produce is simply irrelevant to the larger issue of meeting America's future energy needs.


Handing On to Future Generations a Wild, Pristine Arctic? Priceless.

Oil produced from the Arctic Refuge would come at enormous, and irreversible, cost. The refuge is among the world's last true wildernesses, and it is one of the largest sanctuaries for Arctic animals. Traversed by a dozen rivers and framed by jagged peaks, this spectacular wilderness is a vital birthing ground for polar bears, grizzlies, Arctic wolves, caribou and the endangered shaggy musk ox, a mammoth-like survivor of the last Ice Age.

For a sense of what big oil's heavy machinery would do to the refuge, just look 60 miles west to Prudhoe Bay -- a gargantuan oil complex that has turned 1,000 square miles of fragile tundra into a sprawling industrial zone containing 1,500 miles of roads and pipelines, 1,400 producing wells and three jetports. The result is a landscape defaced by mountains of sewage sludge, scrap metal, garbage and more than 60 contaminated waste sites that contain -- and often leak -- acids, lead, pesticides, solvents and diesel fuel.

While proponents of drilling insist the Arctic Refuge could be developed by disturbing as little as 2,000 acres within the 1.5-million-acre coastal plain, a recent analysis by NRDC reveals this to be pure myth. Why? Because U.S. Geological Survey studies have found that oil in the refuge isn't concentrated in a single, large reservoir. Rather, it's spread across the coastal plain in more than 30 small deposits, which would require vast networks of roads and pipelines that would fragment the habitat, disturbing and displacing wildlife.