When science is applied to create advantage,
it is called technology. Armies and businesses have always been interested
in such advantage, to the extent that much scientific work is funded this
way. It has both advantages and disadvantages. Technology is behaving like
a runaway monster, totally out of control. The question remains: can
we control it and do we want to?
The scientific endeavour should be strictly honest,
but often scientists are not. Recent revelations known as climategate
have shown the nasty side of science, as always power, funding, beliefs
and reputation are involved.
New Ideas in Science: Dr.
Thomas Gold analyses the herd instinct that leads to scientific consensus.
knowledge can be considered a resource, so how could it be managed? (22
timetable of mankind:
the most important discoveries affecting the course of history. (24 pages)
threats: a summary of the
world's problems, arriving from many directions. (20 pages)
the principles and practice of conservation with emphasis on marine conservation.
belief systems: a summary of
the many beliefs, still active today, stifling rational thought. (23 pages)
what the Seafriends web site is all about. (11p)
Reader please note that the issues raised in this article, have been
caricatured. So when it says that scientists can't do this or that,
it should be read as most scientists... or in general, scientists
.... Exceptions to a rule can always be found. The name Man
is used to denote mankind. Also please note that this document is
updated from time to time.
For suggestions and feedback, please e-mail
the author. Read tips for printing
for best results.
The whole document covers about 0.15 MB, 35 printed pages.
The world has changed more in the
past 50 years than in the 1000 years before. The future no longer resembles
the past. The generation of today's children will experience the fastest
change ever, before nature's limits are either reached or breached.
Technology (Gk: tekhne= art; tekhnologia= systematic
treatment, knowledge of the arts) the study or use of the mechanical arts
and applied sciences. Technology is science applied to give advantage.
The problem with technology is that nobody appears to be able to stem
its rapid growth, let alone control it. Fuelled by the tenets (dogma, doctrine)
of the freemarket, technology has been embraced widely by businesses and
armies to gain advantage over others. It has allowed them to build slaves
powered by cheap fossil fuel, and now these slaves have primitive brains
in the form of computer circuitry. It has also given the public those benefits
in the form of cheap and flexible transport, warmer homes, communication,
entertainment and more. Technology is the embodiment of progress. Technology
has not only given advantage to businesses, but also to individuals. Having
a mobile phone needs no explanation of its merits. As a result, we have
come to love technology, and to rely on its incredible achievements to
such an extent, that we truly believe that technology will help us out,
but more importantly, we do not like to curtail it. We are actually in
love with it.
Technology cannot be undone. What is
invented cannot be uninvented. But can we slow it down? That is the question.
The creation of wealth has come a long way from the agrarian society
to what it is today. Think about these economies of wealth creation:
Hunter-gatherers: capital could not accumulate because one could
own only what one could carry. Domesticated animals of burden (horse, ox,
donkey, llama) changed this somewhat, allowing for some possessions. Exploitation
Agrarian economy: Land + Labour creates Capital. Individuals
cannot create more land, but nations can wage war for more. Land was owned
by the ruling classes. Exploitation of land and land labour.
Early Industrial economy: Capital + Labour creates New Capital.
Exploitation of industrial labour.
Robot economy: Capital + Technology (+ fossil fuel) creates New
Capital. Technology is used to replace human fallability and to amplify
every other human capability. Exploitation of fossil fuel.
Financial Casino market: Debt + Growth creates Capital. Technology
is used to speed transactions. Exploitation of capital.
Technological economy: Capital + Technology (+ fossil fuel) +
Labour creates New Capital + New Technology, hence its unstoppable
growth. Technology is used for mass production while creating new technology
as well. Technology workers become exploited.
Knowledge economy: Capital + Knowledge (+ Technology) + Labour
creates New Capital + New Knowledge. It could also grow exponentially.
Technology is used to amplify human mental capacity. Knowledge becomes
proprietary. Knowledge workers become exploited.
Today's societies harbour a mix of perhaps all of the above economies,
something which is not clearly understood by economists and politicians.
As society develops into technological and knowledge economies, higher
levels of knowledge are required so that people can occupy the new jobs
and allow themselves to be exploited by those who control capital. The
knowledge economy is a global economy with unrelenting competition and
thus low wages and hard work. It pits knowledge workers against each other,
possibly resulting in stressful working conditions with low wages.
The world becomes more complex, requiring us to know more and more
about less and less, which also fragments society. Learning becomes an
ongoing activity throughout life. People need to become self-motivated
learners. However, those adept in physical work, like blue collar workers
are replaced by service workers. They cannot upskill because they lack
the genetic intelligence to do so, but technology may eventually help them.
Service to another human being is seen
as degrading, whereas service to a machine is not. Hilary Moss, 1989.
Education causes one to leave the majority
behind, disenfranchising them, and this is getting worse. Hilary
Not clearly visible, but all the more real, are technology's adverse effects
in the form of pollution of the sea, waters and atmosphere, burgeoning
heaps of waste, depleting resources and a poisoning of our minds in placing
high value on the here and now, our immediate pleasure, and our very self,
at the cost of sacrificing for the future, sharing with others, and being
Technology has allowed us to live in cities, far from our origins, assuming
a life style which estranges us from nature, and it isolated ourselves,
by denying our sociable nature. As a result, it becomes impossible to understand,
that even technology is limited by the envelope around us, which we call
our planet, our environment. Growing at an incredible rate (much
faster than that of population), it behaves as if out of control, and indeed
nobody is in control of it. It is a totally unmanaged resource, thriving
in an environment of open access (anyone can use it), and fuelled by avarice
(getting rich quickly) and fear (if I don't do it, someone else will, and
I'll be out of business).
The very factors that made technology
grow into an uncontrollable monster are all due to our own weaknesses.
excessive optimism: blinded by the successes of technology, we fail
to see, or undervalue its down side. Optimism is perhaps a tool for survival,
but times have changed. We turn our heads away from unpleasantness. Technology
has taken the dimension of a new faith, a new God.
inaccurate thought: most people cannot cope with the complexity
of thought necessary to understand their environment and the causes of
deterioration. Our brains like to think emotionally, rather than logically.
We fail to see the forest for its trees. When standing close to an immense
object, one cannot see it. Likewise immense problems.
unable to see slow changes in environment: children born today,
accept the world they are born into, and will never know what it was like,
even as recently as only twenty years ago. They will not be able to imagine
their world twenty years from now either. Our urban environment changes
so quickly that we cannot observe slow changes in the natural environment,
which has been banned to far away places. When looking out of a moving
train, one cannot see the cows move.
unable to communicate: rapid change creates an intergenerational
gap. The children born today will learn different things, have different
values, which makes them seem a different species. This didn't use to be.
It cannot be stopped, but it affects communication between people within
one nation. The exponential increase in the amount of information, forces
everyone to become a specialist in his own narrow field, unable to communicate
on a high level with anyone else. Out of necessity, we are becoming strangers
to one another. Those who are not capable of upskilling and adapting, become
pariahs, falling by the wayside. Although we live next-door, we are unable
to communicate with our neighbours. We send e-mails to our colleagues,
only two rooms away.
time delays between cause and effect: pollution happens slowly,
and at no point alarms us. If there was a two year delay between eating
a poisonous apple and dying from it, most of us would not be able to identify
it as the cause of death. The cause of AIDS was not identified by its sufferers,
but by careful scientific research. Time delays between cause and effect,
manifest themselves as instability, like the business cycle of boom and
bust, but also in the slower cycles of sharemarket crashes and depressions,
and the much slower cycles of the rise and fall of civilisations. The threat
of a world collapse of the entire financial system, which is intricately
linked world-wide, is quite real.
vested interests: the rich have been able to employ technology to
enrich themselves further, but at an ever increasing rate as capital
+ technology + fossil fuel + labour creates new capital and new technology.
The difference between the really wealthy and the really poor has become
astronomical, expressed in nine digit figures! These people affect everything
we do, from control of the media to control of politicians. Democracy has
become a farce. Wars are fought for their interests. Soldiers die for their
pockets. The powerless have become even less powerful.
fear and greed: these are the main weapons of marketing and advertising,
the mechanism by which the technologic monster multiplies. It creates new
needs and makes us covet its new wares. It markets these needs globally,
overrunning all cultural barriers. We live in fear of lagging behind our
neighbours, having less or performing less well. Greed of those with technology,
pushes it ahead in a seemingly endless expansion.
affecting logical thought: in order to progress through the ranks
of the many institutions we have created, one must be likeable, thus side
with the established order and its thought and behaviours. Rebels have
no chance. It renders thought and policy as inflexible as their institutions,
unable to adapt fast enough. Always lagging behind, the majority viewpoint
then is always wrong. Decisions based on this, are also wrong and need
to be repealed at a later date. The ship of state flounders. Nature suffers.
Logical thinking is outgunned by common opinion.
Living within a limited environment,
our most hallowed freedom becomes less and less as the environment degrades.
The above, somewhat cynical look at technology must not be underrated.
Technology amplifies all our faculties. Growing much faster than population,
it will cause serious overshoot when the limits of our environmental envelope
are breached. There is no doubt that technology in all its forms, is the
culprit of our present and imminent problems. The fact that it is running
out of control, is caused on the one hand by our belief in a free market,
free enterprise economy, and on the other hand because we do not wish to
control it, and ultimately because it is fuelled by all our negative motivations.
What chance do we have to take control?
Moss, Dr Hillary (1984, 1989): The technologic trap,
eight weapons of the Technologic Monster. Moana Press.
Only Man is his own worst enemy.
Humans in the end are the very cause, the origin of all environmental problems.
It pays therefore, to examine our nature and motivations. Why do we propagate
out of control? Why do we waste so much? Why do we think we have the right
to do what we do? Why do we change nature into a commodity (tradable item)?
Why humans do things, is based on how they are motivated. Often irrational
(emotional) motivation is strongest. In the summary below, I have tried
to arrange our motivations in order of strength.
survival: basic requirements must be met for survival. Without these,
humans cannot express creativity or be happy.
because of fear, anxiety: direct threat of death, pain, disease,
insecurity, uncertainty, losing something. Most of us are cowards.
because we need to: food, drink, sleep, sex, cleaning, friendship,
bonding. Our gut causes pleasure.
because we have to: inevitability of work, competition, military
service, family care. Can't blame me for this.
when we are rich: time is money. Money buys time-saving, but often
wasteful practices. Driving instead of walking, flying instead of phoning.
when we are poor: in order to survive in subsistence, own survival
goes before the public good or the environment, resulting in their degradation.
self-promotion, status: is often overvalued. For the sake of respect,
people do strange and often dishonourable things.
because it gives advantage: job status, money, power, social status,
knowledge, exploitation. The more the better. Greed is good.
we like to imitate: imitation is learning; it is instinctive and
hard to avoid; we imitate at all levels of behaviour, including our neighbour's
comfort: gives a direct pleasant experience, often confused with
happiness. Trappings of comfort are also used to express status.
to shield us from nature and climate: rain, sun, ice, snow, wind,
cold, heat, moisture,
to remove offensive things: trees, pests, obstructions, roughness,
to surround ourselves with softness: couches, padding, beds, shoes,
to move effortlessly: transport, cars, planes
to surround ourselves with conveniences: toilet, shower, running
water, fridge, machines,
to work less: machines, appliances, computers,
recreation/ discovery: play and discovery give expression to inner
because it's fun: play, active/passive entertainment, creativity,
dancing, playing music. Fun sells well.
because we're inquisitive: we want to know; gossiping; exploring;
trial and error; Gossip sells extremely well.
because we can: developing what we do best; neglecting our other
potential; mindless action; creativity.
political: to live amicably within a group while getting one's own
to rule and divide: deceit, intrigue, grouping and re-grouping,
forming alliances, bribing,
to reciprocate (tit for tat): repay services; trading favours, revenge.
to help others (altruism): own children, family, wife, community,
the poor, the disabled. Altruism may conceal selfishness; doing the right
thing for the wrong reason.
nobility: using our noble abilities, which are our real humane
because it is the right thing to do: recycling, saving energy, reducing
waste, co-operating, helping others, caution, saving.
to exercise our higher qualities: love, care, compassion, sacrifice,
self discipline, saving, postponement, sharing, co-operation, caution,
A cynical view: we do what we do, because we know of nothing
better to do with our time. People often waste their precious time
and lives because they have never considered that they could do something
better. But what people CAN do is limited by what they are CAPABLE of,
which is determined by physical and mental ability, an outlook on life
and the willingness to learn or change.
Another cynical view is that most people do not live at their optimal
level of self-fulfilment. Many do not bother to extend themselves,
to do the things that really matter and that are appreciated by others.
They are living below their level of competence. Others have been seduced
to overextend themselves, being promoted above their level of competence,
by necessity or greed (salary, position, fame), or by unrealistic expectations
(imitating movie stars, overestimating self).
It is often said that people act in search of happiness, which is difficult
to define, but the following may help:
being in reasonable health: feeling physically capable; not under
influence of disease, threats, or conflict.
being free from physical wants: having slept well, eaten, etc. Food
+ clothing + shelter.
having a sense of freedom: being oneself, an individual and feeling
that one can do what one likes.
giving and receiving love: to be loved, and to give love to others.
experiencing a sense of purpose and achievement: doing work that
inspires and being valued for what one does, having an outlook on a future,
being good at it.
If all of the above is NORMAL human behaviour, why then has it led
to problems? People's inner motivations have not changed for thousands
of years. Is it a paradox? Can we save ourselves by changing our behaviour
or is it something else that causes our problems? Why is it that our behaviour
in the distant past, which is essentially the same as that of today, did
not cause problems, but served us well to survive?
The answer must be sought in our use of technology, combined with our
old world brain, which has not adapted to living with this newfound tool.
In the main, technology has given us the power to transgress the limitations
imposed by nature; limitations which kept the human race in balance with
the carrying capacity of nature. Its main influences were:
extending life: medical technology reduced mortality and extended
life considerably, disabling our natural predators: diseases. Interestingly,
has done more than any other technology. It has acted like a catalyst,
being very cheap and propagating readily because it consists of knowledge
only (and cheap technology like toilets and wells). Perhaps what we are
looking for to save the world is something similar, environmental hygiene,
a new discipline.
extending every human capability considerably: walking/ going, doing,
seeing, hearing, thinking, fighting ... (see the list of the things we
providing more food: agricultural technology has had several flights
of productivity. The green revolution made possible by the use of fertilisers,
pesticides and tractors, doubled productivity or quadrupled it by allowing
providing more material goods: technology and fossil fuel allowed
mass production, while trade distributed these around the globe.
making life more convenient: cars, aeroplanes, appliances, electricity,
These have resulted in overpopulation, degradation of prime quality land,
resource depletion, wastes, unlivable cities and more ill effects. Although
each of these has become massive, increasing almost exponentially, our
'old' minds miss the necessary qualities to be alarmed, of which the following
we don't notice slow changes: it is said that if one wants to boil
a frog, don't throw it into boiling water because it will jump out immediately.
Put it in cold water instead, and heat it gradually. At no specific point
will the frog now be alarmed sufficiently to jump. Similarly, humans are
not alarmed by slow changes, neither are these at any time newsworthy.
we haven't learnt from history: many civilisations before us have
collapsed, yet we haven't learnt from them. The causes of their failures
are not sufficiently made public, and more to the point, our world civilisation
is following a seemingly different path.
we are unable to foresee consequences: the future cannot be seen
with our eyes. It can only be reasoned by logical minds while extending
the present. Even then, it turns out different. Only very few people possess
this ability. Their advice is not heeded, because they are a small minority,
and most cannot comprehend their advice.
our noble abilities have been languishing: we have grown used to
employ our avarice and short outlook for self-gain. Successive generations
and the economical systems have encouraged us to do so. In doing so, we
have also created a society controlled by a technological monster which
feeds on our avarice. Our noble abilities, which do not come naturally,
have been languishing, but they are our only hope.
Although every faculty of Man has been
amplified by technology, his morality has not. Hilary
These abilities of our mind have never been needed in the course of
the evolution of our species, so we do not possess them, or very weakly
so. What is required is a completely new way of thinking which is unnatural
to us. But it can be learnt. This web site aims to do so. However, for
the vast majority, unable or unwilling to comprehend, a new 'religion'
is needed in the form of environmental laws (which restrict our actions
and movements), and environmental education and enticements (which encourage
us to behave differently and proactively).
Derived from the important ones above, the following of our shortcomings,
each contribute to our problems:
we cannot see long term consequences.
the technological world is changing too fast, blinding us for slow environmental
we are slow to adapt, resisting change.
we are not interested.
we have never done it before.
we confuse urgency with magnitude.
we are paralysed by a flood of contradicting opinions.
there's no room or time for education.
we are running out of time.
our human resources are limited.
we don't recognise our uniqueness.
we apply other people's medicines & recipes.
we treat symptoms rather than causes; wall-paper over the cracks; stick
we are happy with feel-good decisions, even though these won't help.
we think that it is better to do something than nothing at all, and settle
for trivial solutions, which then stand in the way of better ones.
As you will have noticed, our important tools to combat the ill effects
of our actions have their strengths but unfortunately also glaring weaknesses.
The good news is that education and science can shift the balance in all
factors mentioned. We can and must minimise our weaknesses while maximising
our strengths. By shifting every factor a little, enormous differences
can be made. It has begun already.
Ornstein, Robert and Paul Ehrlich: New World, new mind.
Changing the way we think about our future. 1989. Methuen London.
Moss, Hilary: The technology trap. The eight weapons
of the Technological Monster. Moana Press, 1989.
Scientific endeavour should be strictly objective and honest, but in practice,
scientists are influenced by the people and institutions around them. One
would indeed be skeptical of science funded by tobacco companies or Big
Oil, and so we should also be skeptical of state-funded research.
Perhaps the worst case known to science was revealed in November 2009,
now known as climategate. A clique of no more than 100 scientists
with the Inter-governmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) have been exposed
for their extremely unethical behaviour to benefit ulterior motives other
than pure science:
falsifying data by hiding or omitting, and by substituting with
other data, and by making undocumented and unwarranted 'corrections'.
refusing data to other scientist, requested through Freedom Of Information
legislation, or as part of the acceptance to publish in scientific journals.
hi-jacking scientific journals by blackmailing and by placing cronies
in editorial boards.
hi-jacking the peer-review process by forming a close-knit group
of like-minded peer reviewers and by peer-reviewing one another's papers
bullying opponents and critics by rejecting their papers from the
journals they hi-jacked.
lying to the public, the media and governments, even while under
falsely editing the IPCC reports and summaries for decisionmakers
and by ignoring complaints of such.
The backlash this behaviour has caused to science in general cannot be
overstressed, but why would these scientists lower themselves to such despicable
for money and funding: the IPCC has been endowed with many BILLIONS
of dollars annually, which it disperses to 'scientific' groups willing
to promote the scare of global warming. It has corrupted untold many scientists
and their institutions.
because they believed in their (computer) predictions of calamitous
consequences like runaway temperatures, rising sea levels, species
extinctions, disease, famine and much more. Their firmly held beliefs suppressed
their cautious objectivity.
the scare was used to move society to become more sustainable.
they were afraid that we would run out of fossil fuels ('peak oil')
and should embrace green power from wind, sun and tides.
they were afraid of nuclear power because that would change the
balance of imperial power globally.
the scare was used to shift wealth from developed nations to developing
nations in a big way.
the scare was useful to those who want one world government such
that the whole world can be controlled by corrupting only a few politicians.
There would be an energy tax on every person.
the scare was used to start emissons trading, the biggest financial
scam ever, including futures on carbon credits - the creation of the biggest
financial bubble imaginable. Huge sums and profits are involved.
Unddeniably the motivations for fraud were huge, but worse still is that
the climategate scam does not stand on its own. In many areas of scientific
endeavour there have been similar politically-motivated misbehaviours:
economics: the whole edifice of economics came tumbling down after
French students exposed it for what it was: a scam to justify the rich
becoming richer while the poor become poorer, while also stealing the wealth
of nations. None of present-day economics is directed at real-world problems
such as limits to resources, inequality, environment and so on.
nuclear power and nuclear weapons: the whole scientific debate is
corrupted by politics of power.
health and medical science: entirely controlled and corrupted by
the giant pharmacological corporations who create health scares such as
chicken flu, SARS, swine flu and more, while being totally disinterested
in the diseases of the poor. Scams are also found in AIDS, prion disease,
and many more.
whaling: the whole whaling debate has been hi-jacked by green environmentalists
who do not care about facts.
fishing: for decades fishing has been tightly controlled by fisheries
scientists. Even so, the fish disappeared. Much of the science now exist
to white-wash the mistakes of scientists who refuse to accept that the
sea does not work as expected. Fisheries science is highly corrupted and
marine conservation: firmly held beliefs have supplanted scientific
objectivity. Many examples found on the Seafriends web site. See myths
ocean acidification: based on school chemistry, it is feared that
the seas will become acidified by rising CO2 levels, resulting in disastrous
consequences for marine species, particularly corals and plankton. Read
our extensive rebuttal and step-by-step analysis of ocean
and so on . . .
One would think that scientific corruption is about a few rotten apples
in the fruit bowl, but it is vast, as shown by public statements of the
many scientific associations and academies such as the British Royal Society,
The AAAS and many more. See scientsts' statements
of consensus on this web siteand our Hall
Of Shame. Hence the importance of skeptics
and power corrupt Money and power corrupt,
and scientists are not immune. Although the work of many good scientists
is filtered, slanted, and generally misrepresented by alarmists, the particular
group of scientists responsible for the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate
Change (IPCC) summary is an excellent example of the dark side of this
issue. The IPCC is the political arm of a political organization (the UN)
forwarding a political agenda. They employ scientists, but they are not
a scientific organization. They are acting in a political capacity rather
than in a scientific capacity, and their output is clearly political rather
than scientific. They want the money, they want to be a part of that transnational
elite who dismantle modern civilization in the name of saving the planet,
and, most importantly, they want to diminish the influence of the United
States in the world.
corrupted One person in the nine-member
Realclimate.org team — U.K. scientist and Green Party activist William
Connolley created or rewrote 5,428 unique Wikipedia articles. His control
over Wikipedia was greater still, however, through the role he obtained
at Wikipedia as a website administrator, which allowed him to act with
virtual impunity. When Connolley didn’t like the subject of a certain article,
he removed it — more than 500 articles of various descriptions disappeared
at his hand. When he disapproved of the arguments that others were making,
he often had them barred — over 2,000 Wikipedia contributors who ran afoul
of him found themselves blocked from making further contributions. Acolytes
whose writing conformed to Connolley’s global warming views, in contrast,
were rewarded with Wikipedia’s blessings. In these ways, Connolley turned
Wikipedia into the missionary wing of the global warming movement.
"...we need to get some broad based
support, to capture the public's imagination.... So we have to offer up
scary scenarios, make simplified, dramatic statements and make little mention
of any doubts.... Each of us has to decide what the right balance is between
being effective and being honest." Stanford Professor Stephen Schneider
of the climate fraud gang.
Saving the environment can be done only by taking freedom away from the
individual, but this is in direct conflict with his human rights. Furthermore,
an individual can never be forced to do things by law; he can only be prohibited.
Yet, it has become overly clear that none of our self-divined niceties
can exist within an environment unable to sustain life. The environment
is our involuntary prison, a box we need to be contented with.
Thus has arisen the idea that perhaps our world view is wrong. We have
placed God above Man, and Nature at the bottom, to be plundered and controlled
by him. God has given Man inalienable human rights. Based on this world
view, we have modelled our society: our governments, laws and statutes.
The Constitution is the apex of all. It is the well-known pyramid world
view we are so used to, that we don't realise it has permeated all our
thinking and doing, and that it has even prevented us from doubting whether
it is right. But it is strange that Man has rights without corresponding
responsibilities, for everywhere else in nature, this is a balanced exchange.
Genesis 1:26. And God said,
Let us make man in our image, after our likeness: and let them have dominion
over the fish of the sea, and over the fowl of the air, and over the cattle,
and over all the earth, and over every creeping thing that creepeth upon
Worldview: a coherent set
of assumptions about how one's environment functions. It comprises belief
systems and views, and provides sense and meaning to those members of any
society who adhere to its tenets. A worldview is thus both an explanation
and interpretation of the world, and involves the application of this view
of life. It is seated in a specific time and cultural setting as defined
by education, beliefs and attitudes. It also provides a framework for institutional
governance and closure for the prevailing paradigm, sifting the data stream
for that which can be interpreted according to accepted concepts.
It therefore follows that knowledge
and knowing are not neutral: they are the products of the knower and the
culture of which the knower is a part. (Barry
Tapp & Ljubica Mamula-Stojnic, 2001)
if all we are, and all we do, ultimately depends on nature, and being constrained
by it, surely nature must stand above all else. Now that the amount of
unaltered environment is diminishing below half of the total, and nature's
services are diminishing accordingly, while the human population is yet
to double in size, we are ever more painfully reminded of this truth. It
leads to a refreshingly new and more accurate world view, that of placing
Nature at the top and Man below it. If necessary, religion or spirituality
Thus Nature's sustainability forms the Constitution, and human rights
are given in return for responsibilities towards Nature. Finally human
rights are balanced by human responsibilities, the way it should be! These
responsibilities require humans to act proactively, which prohibitive law
The new world view requires us to alter our laws, placing sustainability
at the top and all else below it. It follows the model of nature, and it
makes sense. It also requires us to change the way we are governed, and
with it world government. No small task indeed, but this will make the
future look brighter, while enabling us to tackle environmental problems
at their roots.
Ironically, primitive natural peoples have always had this world view.
Their spirits were related to nature, and these demanded responsibilities.
At some time, the monotheistic religions changed all that. (see diagram)
The world view and political mind-sets have always been of influence
on what we do, often decisively so. It pays to remember that not just our
superiority over nature has driven us to control it, but also the way the
majority, or our leaders thought:
Anxiety of security has powered the war machine. Only by being technologically
superior to our adversaries, will they be refrained from pulling the trigger
first. It has led to the Cold War and the doctrine of Mutually Assured
Destruction (MAD), to assure peace. This race for better war technology
has led to improved technological outcomes for society, but at a high (environmental)
cost, while producing more anxiety. The race for economic might fits this
The fear of being left behind while other nations join the lolly
scramble towards prosperity, has hastened many grand projects, which were
regretted later, such as dams, irrigation works, cutting native forests
for timber, slave-labour Maquiladoras, Industrial Tigers, subsidised
fishing and more.
The dogma of economic growth for fear of economic stagnation, deflation,
recession and depression. Economic growth has also been used to finance
(in hope) burgeoning public debt, and to meet the cost of housing, plumbing,
electricity of growing populations. More jobs means higher tax revenue.
The self-aggrandizement of rulers, who aim to gain political or
private capital, or power from technological progress. Particularly favouring
large projects, rulers have also been a major factor driving technology
forward and often in serious conflict with nature.
Authoritarian governments often oversold the benefits of technology,
while downplaying their ill effects, often preventing access to environmentally
sensitive information. In the name of progress, dangerous shortcuts were
taken, resulting in high risk of disease and pollution of the environment.
Offending businesses were protected. Corruption was rife.
In the end, even the above points are caused by weaknesses in human nature,
but they are not perceived because so many people are too closely involved.
It is nearly impossible to see what is happening, until it is too late
to do something about it. People born today will perceive today's world
as 'normal', but the world's current state is in extreme deviation from
When a fire begins, it can easily be
extinguished with a single blanket, but when it becomes for all to see,
it can no longer be contained. Likewise our problems. Floor Anthoni
In this article, we've discussed the most important factors affecting the
future, just as these have affected the past. They are the ones we need
to look at for the purpose of saving the environment and our civilisation.
Ironically, nothing has been said about the environment proper. The reason
for this is that nature does not stand accused. Only Man and his nature
In this conclusion one would expect a recipe for a way out of our predicament,
but there is no single remedy. The predicament we are in has been caused
not by the actions of a few large operators, but by the tyranny of myriad
small decisions. The whole purpose of this web site is to give you the
understanding and the tools to arrive at your own solutions. Likewise,
this article, by critically analysing the most important components of
our actions, should give you the knowledge to find your own contribution
and to improve yourself.
In its generality, this article should also help you to improve your
life, your future, your career, your relationships, your actions, your
business, your organisation, your country. Read it again and read between
the lines how it affects you personally. Print it out and mark the items
that lie within your grasp, the ones you can do yourself, and remember
that nobody will be able to change everything. What society needs to do
is to change the balance of our actions, to improve what we do right and
to minimise what we do wrong.
If you are a (religious) leader, you may find inspiration from the new
direction you may discover. Your example will be followed by many. Religion
is important in the lives of many. History has shown that it provided a
strategy for survival. However, times have changed, whereas religion has
not. The time has come to give Nature the reverence it deserves, with obligations
to it in return for our human rights. This article should challenge you
to preach a new strategy of survival, without giving up what is good about
what you believe in.
The main conclusion is that our inherited strategies for survival have
not been able to evolve quickly enough for us to survive in the world of
the future. They have indeed been the very cause of our problems. Business
as usual, will therefore certainly lead us to self destruction. A new
survival instinct is needed, and this could well be environmental hygiene.
hygiene (Gk: hygies= healthy; tekhnê=
art; hygienê= art of health) a set of principles of maintaining
health. Conditions or practices conducive to maintaining health. Sanitary
Hygiene is not only the knowledge to stay healthy but proactive prevention
leading to health. In the history of Man, it has been the singlemost effective
remedy for longer and happier lives. It has changed the world more than
any other technology, and it cost very little. It is taught like any other
form of knowledge, and by imitation. It can grow and multiply using the
same advances that made science great.
Environmental hygiene thus involves proactive behaviour to keep the environment
healthy. It is not about fixing things that are wrong, but about
them from going wrong. It is not about placing ambulances at the bottom
of the cliff, but about fencing at the top of the cliff. It can be taught
and you can start today. No laws are needed, just as hygiene has not been
enshrined in law. Besides, law can only compel people to not do,
rather than forcing them to do. But there is another reason.
People will be more likely to conform if the cost of doing so is acceptable.
It requires us to accept the 80/20 strategy, where 80% improvement can
be attained at 20% of the cost. Laws and regulations always aim for 100/100,
full compliance at the full cost. Thus laws and regulations are not suitable
for environmental solutions. Education is.
Proactive prevention is also needed for other important salvage tools:
media hygiene: protecting our communication media to broadcast the
truth, and to give more room to important matters, and to make room for
education in environmental hygiene, and so on.
political hygiene: to protect our nation from wrong decisions inspired
by lust for power, hidden agendas, insufficient consultation, corruption,
stupidity and so on. Likewise for world government institutions.
scientific hygiene: protecting our knowledge base from fallacies,
myths and untruths. Promoting free access to all scientific information.
Making science available to many by analysing, collecting, translating,
simplifying and rewriting. But it also consists of mind hygiene,
preventing fallacies and untruths from taking hold inside our thoughts
education hygiene: endeavouring to make education a rewarding experience,
worthy of life-long pursuit. Preventing people from being turned off from
learning. Preventing people being overloaded with useless facts and conflicting
internet hygiene: protecting this fantastic medium from abuse, self-interest,
deceit and dishonesty, while promoting its use for co-operation, sharing
and learning. Preventing junk mail, fraud, defrauding schemes, etc.
For suggestions and improvements to this article, e-mail
Dr Floor Anthoni.
20100218 - Scientific
corruption and climategate added
20051103 - The influence
of the political mindset on scientists added.
20020904 - Another
round of dotting the i's and crossing the t's.
20011014 - Suggestions
and corrections from Neal and Linda Taylor applied.
20010914 - Completed.
Corrections and suggestions from Mrs Myfanwy Borich applied.
20010815 - Started
to write this chapter. It must become thought provoking to scientists,
inspiring to students.