The complexity of ecosystems is such that even modern high-tech humans don’t seem to have the attention span, the data-gathering capacity, or the analytical capacity to grasp even a tenth of their function.

Imagine a hyperactive 10 year old boy, armed with a mid-size screwdriver and a hammer, let loose to act out his fantasies of “fixing” the guts of, say, a Cray supercomputer or a space shuttle or a nuke plant… having no manual, no plan, and no idea what most of the parts do or what the consequences will be. That’s us, historically speaking. A primate cyclone leaving a trail of wreckage across more and more of the planet as our numbers grow.

The cost of manual intervention to “manage” wrecked ecosystems that used to manage themselves just fine, may come to be the primary expenditure of human labour and wealth in coming decades. Forget the space program, dear reader, forget terraforming Mars; we’re going to be kept really busy trying to re-terraform Earth.

Sorry to be so grim, but I don’t see much alternative at this point. We’ve done so much damage that our entire civilisation will either have to devote all its energy and wealth to repairing the ecosystems we’ve broken… or else collapse ignominiously like every other civilisation that has smashed its biotic infrastructure. Either way, tomorrow doesn’t look anything like yesterday. We are getting scarily close to Game Over, Reset.

Retired; ex-software engineer. Paleo-feminist. Sailor. Arduino tinkerer. Enviro. Libertarian Socialist (Anarcho-Syndicalist, kinda). Writer. Altermondialiste.

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