October 22, 2017

Human Scale

Unhygienic – or just small scale? (Funbook version)

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An article for The Doomsday Funbook (Jon Carpenter Books, February 2006), written in June 2001. See ordering information for the Funbook. Also see the two other versions of this article, the long version and the short version. Throughout the world today governments, in accordance with WTO legislation, are imposing costly installations on small food producers […]

Killing off small farms in Brazil

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Dr José Lutzenberger (often known as “Lutz”) is an agronomist living in Brazil, where he was minister for the environment. Here he tells Teddy Goldsmith about the regulatory obstacles he faces on his organic farm in Rio Grande do Sul. Published in The Ecologist Report, June 2001. Edward Goldsmith: Lutz, among your many activities, you […]

Can humanity adapt to the world that science is creating?

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“It should be obvious to most people, though it is rarely stated, especially in academic circles, that the environment most friendly to the needs of living things, that within which their behaviour is most fulfilling and adaptive, can only be that to which they have been adapted by their evolution and upbringing … There is no reason for supposing that man is in any way exempt from the operation of this fundamental principle. But what is man’s natural environment?”

Hell on Earth: mankind and the environment

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Humanity has transformed the planet almost unrecognisably. Now we talk of re-engineering ourselves to fit. Edward Goldsmith wonders how we can miss the point so dramatically. Published in The Ecologist Vol. 30 No. 7, October 2000. An extended, unpublished version if this article is also available, entitled “Can humanity adapt to the world that science […]

Learning to live with nature: the lessons of traditional irrigation

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Modern irrigation schemes in tropical areas are, almost without exception, social, ecological and economic disasters. They necessarily lead to the flooding of vast areas of forest and agricultural land, the displacement of hundreds of thousands of people and the spreading of waterborne diseases like malaria and schistosomiasis. In addition, they are badly run, poorly maintained […]

The relevance of Gandhiism

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By now, it should be clear that our environment is becoming ever less capable of sustaining the growing impact of our economic activities. Thus everywhere our forests are overlogged, our agricultural lands overcropped, our grasslands overgrazed, our wetlands overdrained, our ground waters overtapped, our seas overfished, and just about the whole terrestrial and marine environment […]

The two faces of New Guinea

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It is doubtful if any of our political leaders have ever seen a political document which actually takes into account social and ecological realities. Such a document would undoubtedly be regarded as ‘politically naive’ as was our Blueprint for Survival, as its implementation would not provide a means of winning votes. Nor would any of […]