“The human brain appears to be much more responsive to environmental influences,” said Dr. Gómez-Robles. “It’s something that facilitates the constant adaptation of the human brain and behavior to the changing environment, which includes our social and cultural context.”
Famed Evolutionary Biologist E.O. Wilson kicked off a long conversation among natural and social science circles with the announcement of a big idea. His anticipated book, Half Earth: Our Planet’s Fight for Life, builds the case for an incredible preservationist strategy. Wilson argues it critical that human civilization set aside half of the Earth for the preservation of biodiversity. This method of preservation would be achieved by the establishment of biodiversity parks. These parks would serve as safe havens for species, places of restoration and a means of connection between wild lands. This vision transcends political boundaries and instead envisions natural systems — bio-regions would mark boundaries. The principle is continental in scale, as opposed to governmental.
This rewilding, no doubt, holds large implications for modern human civilization. The idea implicitly dissolves the idea of national borders and requires the rise of new environmental markets. Commons governance regimes would need to develop, argues Wilson, so local communities could labor in the sciences, environmental education, as natural resource managers or even park rangers. There is evidence that such a shift is possible, most notably perhaps is the Area de Conservacion Guanacaste (ACG) in the savannah and cloud forests of Costa Rica. This initiative successfully protects 147,000 hectares of terrestrial and aquatic habitats along with the flora and fauna that calls the region home.
Big ideas are important, especially with the rates of biodiversity loss experienced today. The Half Earth Solution is bold, but in radicalism we find our best way forward.
That is how formal dress codes work: they require the person who doesn’t have the right clothes either to turn up defiantly without them and stand out like a sore thumb, or to spend money buying or renting clothes in order to fit in, however awkwardly. Most would rather pay the financial rather than the social penalty.
Plenty of people who didn’t grow up in a world of balls and gowns gladly don evening dress when asked in order to integrate themselves into this elite world. Brown eventually put on the more formal white tie for a dinner with the Queen. In October, even Jeremy Corbyn, the leader of the UK Labour Party, sacrificed some of his socialist firebrand credentials by turning up to a dinner at Buckingham Palace in white tie. I don’t blame either of them for conforming in unique circumstances. But to me, when others roll over and conform too easily, that means colluding with structures of exclusive privilege. The tie that binds is also a uniform that alienates many others.
Refusing to wear black tie isn’t simply a matter of asserting one’s own ‘authentic’ individuality against the pressure to subsume that identity within a group. It’s more complicated than that. Even in ordinary dress, people are judged because of their accents, their names or where they were educated. When we are made acutely aware of class and privilege, we are also made aware of how our own identities are not simply the product of our own free choices and will. We cannot escape our histories, especially in cultures where people are so finely attuned to the markers of class.
Another climate conference has once again come and gone, echoing hollow promises and ugly unspoken realities. I won’t waste anyone’s time analyzing the verbiage of this so-called agreement which failed to even mention the term fossil fuels, probably at the behest of those who financed the entire farce, i.e. the carbon-extraction companies. Suffice it to say that countries were approving fossil fuel exploration projects before the ink of the global climate agreement had fully dried. As long as corporations are able to push environmental and social costs off their balance sheets and onto the backs of the weak and defenseless, dirty coal will be burnt and the cheapest slave labor will be employed. Questioning root causes like our inherently unsustainable way of life is still very much taboo and will remain so even after our descendants are sifting through the wreckage. Sure, mainstream publications have expanded their coverage of man-made climate change…
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