Discussion Paper 1
The History and Future of our Ecological Crisis
Humanity has immensely impacted the environment both in negative and positive ways. In order to grasp the ecological crisis our Earth is experiencing we must revisit the way humans have viewed our relationship with through technological, religious and scientific lenses. The Historical Roots of Our Ecologic Crisis, an article published in the journal Science in 1967 and written by Lynn White Jr, looks back through the history and the ways in which “all forms of life modify their context” (The Historical Roots of Our Ecologic Crisis, White, Lynn Science 10 March 1967, pg 1203). White begins by exploring the causes, tracing the history of what we think we know and what we learned from translating Greek and Arabian texts. He explores the history of our technological advancements, and how this shaped the way we interact with the world we live in. Later he asks whether this Earth can continue without a fundamental change in the way we view our relationship with the land, water, and air that is our planet. If we persist to see humanity as the supreme and nature below where will this leave the animals, soil and trees in the future? Is science to blame or is religion at fault?
Lynn White begins The Historical Roots of Our Ecological Crisis by investigating man’s interactive relationship with the natural world in the Middle Ages but fundamentally during the Industrial Revolution. White states how during the mid 19th century there was a fusion between science and technology. Science originally was speculative, intellectual, and aristocratic, while technology was seen as empirical, action oriented, lower class. The merging of these two very different schools of thought was when the attitudes towards nature shifted towards anthropocentrism. Anthropocentrism regards humankind as the central or most important element of existence, especially as opposed to God or animals ("Phalocentric" Merriam Webster...
Cited: The Historical Roots of Our Ecologic Crisis, Lynn White Jr, Science 10 March 1967: 1203-1207.
"Phalocentric" Merriam Webster Online, Merriam Webster, n.d. Web. 7 Oct. 2013
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