Wednesday, August 12, 2009

A Long Time

Here's Jared Diamond, quoted in a Financial Times column, on sustainability and collapse...

If we continue to operate non-sustainably, then in 50 or 60 years, the US and Japan and Europe will be in bad shape. But my friends in the highlands of New Guinea will be fine. Some of my friends made stone tools when they were children and they could just go back to what their ancestors were doing for 46,000 years. New Guinea highlanders are not doomed. The first world lifestyle will be doomed if we don’t learn to operate sustainably.

Hard for me to imagine a first world collapse not spilling its messes into every last habitat, industrialized or otherwise.

But, that's not the point...

46,000 years is the point. A long time. Almost 100 times the history of the non-indigenous occupation of the Americas. Without catastrophic water crises or soil blowouts or population explosions.

46,000 years of human ingenuity directed at non-industrial technologies and non-industrial wisdoms.

Incredible how far that lies from our cultural mindset (mindsets). And, cruel and oppressive as stone age societies were - and, in the remote tropical valleys where they still exist, continue to be - they must have something for us.

Like proof that humans can do this sustainability thing?

Makes me want to read Diamond's books again. And whatever he gives us next.

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