Human Ecology

At the beginning of this course, I offered that my stance on the human ecological situation was generally pessimistic. That stance has not changed, because I do not see how any thinking human could be optimistic about the present state of human ecology. However, I would like to note that pessimism is not the same thing as quietism -- this course has inspired me to change my thinking about certain subjects, and caused me to resolve to change my own behavior as well.

The one reading that most deeply affected me, and that did the most to confirm my overall pessimism, was Jared Diamond's Guns, Germs, and Steel. That is because Diamond's approach is to take the very long view of human civilization and cultural evolution -- and in the long-term, things do not look very good for societies that are capable of outstripping their resources. Diamond's basic...
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