When we humans achieved enough understanding to see Planet Earth’s biosphere as an integrated living thing, where interventions in one place produced reactions in many other places, we crossed a critical boundary and graduated to a new status. We became more than witless animals enjoying the world’s bounty like other animals, subject only to the iron laws of biological evolution. We became a new kind of animal, one capable of being responsible for the planet’s welfare.
It was a new kind of responsibility that had never before existed in all the billions of years of our planet’s existence. Never before had biological evolution produced our kind of intelligence, a sentience that could relate cause and effect and anticipate outcomes, with a wisdom that could shape outcomes that related to planetary needs. Yes, knowledge conferred power, and yes, that power carried with it the responsibility to use it wisely, for the benefit not just of humans but of the entire planet.
It took us thousands of years of cultural evolution to reach that level of understanding. Will it take another thousand or more to learn to exercise that power responsibly? Will we still be around that long if it does?
President Trump’s misuse of power on fossil fuels comes at a critical juncture. Just as ignorance of the law of the land does not excuse murder, so does ignorance of the understanding given us by modern science not excuse rape and pillage of the earth’s bounty. He should have known better. The fact he did not, or chose not to, is a commentary on the lack of understanding within humanity as a whole in this transitional era.
Who among us is prepared to assume the burden of enlightenment? There are hundreds of organizations in the USA alone that advocate for conservation, protection for endangered species, and more. There are thousands more world-wide. No shortage of candidates here, what we need is a leader, an organization that rallies us all around the banner not just of conservation, not just of renewables, not just about any of the other desirables, but the basic principle that we are the custodians! and saving planet earth is our highest responsibility.
As far as my country is concerned I nominate the humanists as being the best equipped ideologically to grapple across the boards with the issues. Some of those issues involve highly technical matters, others implicate ethical questions that humanists have been facing for millennia, and enough oxen are or will be gored worldwide to task a symphony of specialists. When we vanquish our own Trumps and other naysayers will be time enough to take on the rest of the world. What about it, AHA? Are you game?