> Human beings lived for hundreds of thousands of years before their
> numbers were sufficient for our basic instincts to start making a
> significant impact on a global scale, but if you look at the ecology
> of particular regions you'll see that long before settlement and
> domestication we were already a primary mover of our environment.

the detrimental effect on ecologies was not linear in nature, there was 
a very marked phase transition with the advent of monocultural 
agriculture and the city state. human health for instance saw a 
pronounced decline during this transition, lives were longer mainly due 
to increased physical security, but nutrition suffered and so did the 
much more labour intensive lifestyle take it's toll. the hunter 
gatherers had developed a way of life which was sustainable, many of 
them even practicing explicit population control. since you bring up 
myths, civilization has a great many myths that *all* of us live by, 
it's time to examine them more thoroughly.

> as well as being able to define new ecology
> such as the current petrochemical-driven agrimonoculture. 

monoculture is by definition not an ecology. ecology is about diversity 
and connection. monoculture is about obliteration and alienation. 
whether we are talking about agricultural or human culture.

> However I see no moral imperative to
> preferring one over the other as evolutionary pressures are by
> definition circumstantial and amoral.

one of the myths for instance is that the natural and social worlds only 
work by way of competition. a reductionist cartesian analytical model 
may very well be to blame. it is obvious to anybody with any kind of 
feel for how ecosystems actually work, that the forces at play are as 
much about cooperation as competition. it is not at all surprising that 
the popular view (read mythology) of the natural world in industrialized 
societies see only competition at the exclusion of any other kind of 
analysis, judging by it's treatment of cultures which do not share a 
similar world view. my hope is that as energy and resources become 
scarcer that cooperation as a model for human culture begins to make a 
great deal more sense, just as cooperative behaviour does in ecosystems 
in energy decline.

> Were the green lobby to abandon the intense moral zealotry that so
> often dominates their arguments and instead focus on that old
> Christian concept of "do as you would be done by"

of course many of the 'green lobby' do in fact walk the walk, but i 
think that what the green movement in general is starting to realize is 
that the green problem is actually a cultural one first and foremost, so 
i think that you can expect to see an increase in ethical discourse not 
a decrease. what is it that you have against ethics exactly?

> There also needs to be an
> abandonment of the social agenda prevalent in the Western world that
> sees farming subsidies as an important role of national and
> supranational trade blocs as it creates many of the market distortions
> which have created current circumstances.

the current agricultural system in europe for example survives by way of 
subsidies not in essence because of some kind of cultural imperative, 
but because it could not do so otherwise. it is just so ridiculously 
inefficient.
i agree about the abandonment of subsidies, but that can only be 
achieved through a major agricultural revolution with a move towards 
self-sustaining, low-input and ecologically sound techniques, not simply 
by lifting the subsidies. the problem here as in so many other places is 
corporate hegemony, but also cultural inertia. it is difficult to shake 
off 10,000 year old assumptions.

> On your other point, I'm a natural pessimist and tend to believe that
> if something can go wrong it will go wrong therefore in most
> circumstances the best course of action is to do nothing. If that's a
> socipathology, then it's one I share with the medical profession (i.e.
> first do no harm).

first do no harm, then try to heal.

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