Here on Earth

Here on Earth
Tim Flannery

I find it remarkable that Tim Flannery is an optimist. Best known for his popular book on climate change, The Weather Makers, in Here on Earth he looks at a natural history of our planet and suggests two ways forward: a Darwinian war of all against all resulting in the extinction of the species through the exhaustion of natural resources (a hypothesis associated, not all that clearly to my mind, with the myth of Medea), or a more holistic approach based on Lovelock’s Gaia theory. Obviously Flannery prefers the latter, though he recognizes that the way forward will involve some significant shift in our dominant memes (or, as he chooses to spell it, mnemes). In order to change the way our economy operates we’re going to have to radically change our way of thinking. It’s hard to see that happening without a shock that will in all likelihood be mortal for our civilization anyway.