Doc posted this a couple of days ago
Been too busy (machine updates, file migrations) to reply
Dinner with friends last night and got me thinking
Are humans an itch the Earth wants to scratch?
So here goes
Through the early stages of development, mankind does tend to be hard on the environment, deforestation, farming, mining.
But as we move to a "post industrial" stage, our impact is reduced.
Indeed, we see reforestation, lower impact, more knowledge intensive use of materials.
Mankind, despite the views of some, does not stand outside of nature, mankind is part of nature. Granted, with amazing powers, and the ability to create vast changes, shall we say wreak havoc on the rest of nature, but we do not stand outside, we are affected by nature, the natural world.
If man does change the world, as there is ample evidence that he does, is it different from how nature changes and adapts the world?
Gaia has managed to maintain a (relativity) stable environment form millions of years
The "Oxygen Catastrophe " of some 2 billion years ago far surpasses anything I can conceive of mankind ever achieving.
My sensibilities are upset by degradation of the "natural" world, but I also realise that weather and tectonic events can cause drastic change.
We seem to like to think of the "natural world" as something like a painting by Paul Gauguin, or Edward Hicks - Peaceable Kingdom...all peaceful and serene.
When in reality, populations rise and fall, prey/predator ratios get out of whack.
Maybe it's just that mankind has the capability to be aware of changes that he causes, and, hopefully, adjust behavior.
If/when mankind is removed from the planet, it will still be a dynamic and sometimes violent place.
Related thinking : on urbanization from Stewart Brand:
Long Views “Cities And Time”