Positive Optimism [November 1 2015]
I felt lost when I wrote my previous post regarding the Holocene extinction. I thought I had just learned that our species had a destructive nature since its inception even within cultures focusing on sustainability.
I now think that I had misinterpreted my readings. Whether intentional or not, The Sixth Extinction implied with the retelling of conversations about the history of homo sapiens that destruction had followed the path of our species from our early beginnings. However, after some more researching, it appears that, while there were extinctions before civilization, those were not quite at the same level nor within the same context. I already had some intuition to that effect and I felt relief to find some of that evidence presented in Rewild 101. Civilization would have amplified our destructive impact by orders of magnitude. However, I now think that extinctions prior to civilization were closer to events that would occur naturally as part of evolution and cohabitation between other species. We can feel bad about those but they should reveal themselves as neither good or bad. In contract with current extinctions, those represent something closer to a natural outcome to a particular set of circumstances.
While this new perspective doesn’t really change the idea that we should rewild and reconnect with nature, it does offer us an interesting proposition: we could have a positive place amongst other livings. That process might involve a lot of hardships and it won’t happen quickly but the idea that it could brings me joy here and now.