Science Alone Won’t Save the Earth. People Have to Do That.

| August 24, 2018 | Leave a Comment

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Item Link: Access the Resource

Media Type: News / Op - Ed

Date of Publication: August 11, 2018

Year of Publication: 2018

Publication City: New York City

Publisher: The New York Times

Author(s): Erle C. Ellis

Newspaper: The New York Times

Categories: , ,

This article was originally published in Opinion section of The New York Times. 


We need to start talking about what kind of planet we want to live on.

This planet is in crisis. The safe limits within which human societies can be sustained, the earth’s “planetary boundaries,” are being exceeded, a path leading inevitably toward collapse. The experts have spoken. Only if humanity heeds the science, reverses course and lives within earth’s natural limits can disaster be avoided.

Or maybe you believe the opposite: that human ingenuity can continue to overcome those limits, that there is no need for environmental concern.

Both miss the point. In the age of humans, the Anthropocene, there is no safety in natural limits. Or in overcoming them. For those reasons, we should put the idea of limits off limits.

The question is not whether two degrees of warming is riskier than 1.5 degrees (of course it is), or whether we are using, as some claim, more than one earth’s worth of resources per year (of course not), or how many extinctions per year are sustainable without a collapse of human societies (why allow any at all?). The real question is how we better negotiate among ourselves, across all our many diverse peoples and cultures, so that we can navigate together toward the better futures we wish for, in our different ways.


The full article may be found here.

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The views and opinions expressed through the MAHB Website are those of the contributing authors and do not necessarily reflect an official position of the MAHB. The MAHB aims to share a range of perspectives and welcomes the discussions that they prompt.
  • Greeley Miklashek

    What a load of crap, so typical of NYT pseudo-science. The only way you and I can save the planet is to limit our reproduction to one child per couple and live the time honored Sierra Club dictum of the 4 R’s: recycle, reduce (consumption), reuse, repair. This is boilerplate stuff and the most important element is limiting the current daily population increase worldwide: 220,000. The two greatest forces preventing this are Catholicism and Islam, both of which just use helpless women for baby making machines. Phoey! Stress R Us