The designers of the Bernal Sphere in the 1970s envisioned intensive agriculture as the way to feed space colonists. They didn’t know then what we know all too well now. Painting by Rick Guidice, NASA Ames Research Center.
Last week’s mid-week post discussed one of the major ways we humans intersect with nature: habitat encroachment. Today I’d like to look at a more positive form of interaction–and weirdly enough, this one involves big business.
This cartoon aptly sums up the attitude of the vast majority of the business world–in the past, and unfortunately all too much still today. Small signs of change should not be mistaken for a reason to be complacent. Cartoon created by Mike Adams; art by Dan Berger. Used courtesy of NaturalNews.
Non-corporate people can be forgiven for thinking of corporate decision-makers as faceless, greed-driven capitalists, because that’s all too often how they come across. But some decision-makers are beginning to wake up to the realities of sustainability. We need to find ways to encourage more of that! Big business is a part of the picture that isn’t going away!
There is no road to sustainability without involving all the parties with stakes in the game. Corporations are not going away; moreover, they have a great many resources to employ when they get onboard for sustainability.
I’d like to expand on Monday’s meditation a bit more, if you’ll indulge me. It, a recent conversation I had with my sister, and couple of articles I read in, of all places, The Costco Connection, have inspired me to continue thinking about the intersection of humans with nature.
One of the ways that humans increasingly intersect with nature is through habitat encroachment. It’s a common theme: humans move into an area, change it to suit themselves, and push other species out.
I’ve been unable to find the origin of this photo, or which rainforest it is (my guess is the Amazon). But it’s a pretty stark example.
Some traditions are really effective: sheepdog with a flock of sheep in southern France. The dog is one of several related local types used to protect the sheep from wolves; this kind of sheep-protection is the origin of the Great Pyrenees breed. (Photo by John Linnell).
This 150-year-old Champion Osage Orange tree in Olathe, KS, may yet fall to add a couple more spaces in the planned parking lot for the new Johnson County Courthouse.
I think my fellow Kansans would do well to step back from immediate economic issues, and consider what the respect for nature (or the lack thereof) in our decision-making says about us. I fear even the appearance of a mystical white snake may not be sufficient for Olathe officials. Yes, we need a new courthouse, and yes, parking is at a premium in downtown Olathe. But surely a balance could be struck?
A Happy Epilogue from 2021
I’m delighted to report that the City of Olathe, KS exceeded my expectations. According to a report from the Johnson County Governmentpublished in 2021, the tree has since lost its Champion status to a tree in Emporia, Kansas, but it was spared from the parking lot project. Here’s how the County’s report explained it:
“The Olathe tree was spared four years ago in development of the construction site for the new courthouse and incorporated into the project’s northern parking lot. The age of the Osage orange tree at the new courthouse remains only an estimate. It’s believed the tree was a sapling when Johnson County was a toddler.
“’We think it’s been around as long as Olathe and Johnson County have been around,’ Patton said with a smile. Olathe was founded in 1857. The county was created two years before the city.”