Thursday, August 23, 2007

The Folly of Man

I am, as per usual, too busy for words, literally. Tomorrow I head out at the crack of dawn to NYC to give my Dubai presentation, then a little fun time with friends, followed by a trip to San Francisco for more of the same. Meanwhile, not even a week into the semester and I feel overwhelmed. Of course I am trying to get this whole campus energy plan underway, amongst other overly ambitious plans.

But this is what makes me post today {from an article about the Utah mining incident}:

The collapse that trapped the miners is believed to have been caused by settling layers of earth bearing down on the walls of a coal mine. The force can cause pillars to fail, turning chunks of coal into missiles. The unpredictable and dangerous phenomenon is known by miners as a "bump."

"Had I known that this evil mountain, this alive mountain, would do what it did, I would never have sent the miners in here," Murray said earlier. "I'll never go near that mountain again."

Hmmm, the mountain doing what it is geologically predisposed to do is now somehow "evil?" I find that fascinating. How funny is it that when humans drill into the earth, extract carbon, burn it for energy to power our electric lotion warmers and other indispensable necessities, spewing a kabillion tonnes of CO2 into the atmosphere and likely irreversibly altering the balance of the planet we are somehow just "doing what we have to do to get by?" Yet when the planet does what it is geared to do: burp, shake, rattle, surge, blow, and rain--it is somehow branded as "evil?"

Furthermore, if we are going to go so far as to charge the planet with being "evil," an inherently moral judgment, does it not stand to reason that we should begin to treat the earth as though it is an actual entity with rights? Surely that would make a river "good" a sequoia "benevolent" and a desert "unforgiving." If we are going to impose our own arbitrary moral attributes onto nature, then we should probably give them standing in a court of law, and allow them to make the case for why they should be allowed to have rights. But wait, who should represent these entities without a voice?

Well, me of course.

Just kidding. Sort of. It is up to all of us to recognize the extreme lack of logic that permeates the era we live in.


ruminations said...

We missed you. Glad to see you back.

Holly said...

"It is up to all of us to recognize the extreme lack of logic that permeates the era we live in." LOVE that last sentence. Great post!

Kathy Hernandez said...

Indeed, who will speak for the Earth, the victim of ignorance, greed, and countless mistakes?

Anonymous said...

As busy as you must be I'm glad you still have time for outrage, great post. A few quick thoughts:
Murry seems to have managed the media well, and effectively deflected critics who should be howling at the lack of appropriate safety precautions (especially communication links to the surface, and oxygen and other emergency supplies) recommended after the Sago mine disaster.
Not only did he successful lobby against stricter mine safety regulations following Sago, his company has an appalling safety record.
Your fight is with his greed not his illogic. The earth is neither good nor evil men are the other hand... Your great prose, passion and talent are needed in this fight.

Anonymous said...

Me again,

Hey good luck in SF, and I will assume it went great in NYC, I know you well enough to know you went into the presentation full prepared.