Tuesday, April 13, 2010


When the phrase “sustainable development” came into widespread use in the last half of the 1980’s, it signaled a new phase in our struggle with the twin catastrophes of the resource depletion and environmental degradation. The shift may go very deep indeed. It could mean a change in course for the waning industrial age; it might even be a central part of one of those rare periods of metamorphosis in civilization itself. […] Our ecological understanding developed over the last few decades makes it clear that we can only meet the needs of humans in an environment where the needs of other species-countless other species- are also met. This requires maintaining the integrity of nature’s life-support processes. In this case, maintaining does not mean simply preserving. […] Cities now cover less than 2 percent of the 61 percent, but they include over 42 percent of the world’s population. These small, intense clusters of activity are the decision centers as well as the energy-consumption centers. They are determining what happens in the rest of the landscape, namely, a pattern of degeneration. […] The global statistics on deforestation, desertification, salinization, soil erosion, habitat loss and other landscape pathologies tell that story very clearly.” John Tilleman Lyle (1994)

… current cities are parasites that, unlike successful parasites in nature, have not evolved mutual aid relationships with their life-support host landscape that prevent the parasite from killing off its host and thereby itself.” Eugene Odum (1993)

Aldo Leopold

Conservation is not merely a thing to be enshrined in outdoor museums, but a way of living on land.” –Game Cropping in Southern Wisconsin (1927)

Cease being intimidated by the argument that a right action is impossible because it does not yield maximum profits, or that a wrong action is to be condoned because it pays. That philosophy is dead in human relations, and its funeral in land-relations is overdue.” –The Ecological Conscience (1947)

The landscape of any farm is the owner’s portrait of himself. Conservation implies self-expression in that landscape, rather than blind compliance with economic dogma.” – The Farmer as a Conservationist (1939)

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