Parasites and Monarchs

Hugh McGuinness hmcguinness at
Fri Apr 8 14:47:07 EDT 2005

RG wrote:  "At this point someone always chimes in that "humans" are the
problem because we are bringing about _unnatural_ changes.  This is the
silliest thing anyone can say because it renders humans as not being a
part of nature - puts us outside nature = natural process.  We are just
as natural as any other organism and we can do things that shift the
ecological balance just like anything else - from volcanoes to rain
forests to meteors to milk. "
The word "natural" loses its meaning if humans are included in nature,
at least in the sense of nature being discussed in this thread. We
distinguish between natural and synthetic (human-made) objects,
problems, consequences because it is a very useful distinction for
understanding the state of the environment of the planet. We now have
incontrovertible proof that humans have increased the rate of
extinction, put a hole in ozone, introduced novel chemicals that have
wrought ecological havoc (e.g. thinning of egg shells by DDT to name one
of myriad examples), depleted fish stocks and altered marine and
limnological ecology, set rivers on fire, etc. If humans are a part of
nature then these problems cease to exist as problems that require
solution: "whatever humans do is just a part of nature and therefore
okay."  This kind of thinking is naive at best or part of a right-wing
agenda to continue with the economic policies that brought us these
problems in the first place.  
Hugh McGuinness
The Ross School
18 Goodfriend Drive
East Hampton, NY 11963
hmcguinness at
631-907-4229 (no messages please)
631-697-2099 (cell) 
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