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ruthless compassion
13 June 2006 @ 11:12 am
I've finally put my finger on the reason that I'm so deeply, deeply confused by people who don't support conservation efforts. I generally see two basic positions: there are the people who say we should take care of the earth and its natural resources, even if we don't see an obvious benefit of, say, turtles or polar bears or rainforest, to day-to-day human life, and then there are the people who say that we should use the available resources for economic gain (some of which may be legitimate, like, say, growing food) and if some "lesser" species end up dead in the process, there's no big deal because it's not like we need polar bears or turtles or spotted owls or what have you, right?

But all of our economic systems are based on goods-of-faith. That is, money is valuable because we all agree it's valuable. If we didn't, it would just be a bunch of durable paper. Or, in the case of bank accounts and the like, it's even more intangible. Even gold isn't inherently valuable; it's all a game of faith. We all believe these things have value, and as long as everyone keeps believing that, it's true.

But you can't eat gold or money. You have to exchange it for real goods before you can apply it to your real life.

And, when you get down to the nitty gritty, real goods are the only goods. If we can't grow food, we can't live. It doesn't matter how much money Monsanto or GE or Walmart or McDonald's has. If we trash the place beyond repair, it's not like we have a spare planet, rich with arable land, waiting just around that bend in the distance.

Conservation sounds altruistic: Save the [fill in the blank]! But at root, it's deeply selfish. I mean, we can kill off a lot of creatures in our mucking around, but I don't think it's in our capabilities to kill off all life on earth, and if the cockroaches survive, they'll continue to evolve and in another million years, life on earth will look alien, but it'll still be chugging along. I do, though, think it's within our capabilities to fuck things up enough to kill ourselves, which is just plain dumb. And I see the confusion between goods-of-faith and real goods as being a driving force here. And my inability to wrap my head around that confusion is what makes it hard, if not impossible, to really understand the money-over-conservation argument.
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ruthless compassion
13 June 2006 @ 01:19 pm
There's nothing like evaluating a set of projects and finding that instead of helping (i.e., doing what they were intended to do), they've caused harm. Even though they're not my projects, it's still depressing.
 
 
 
ruthless compassion
13 June 2006 @ 04:03 pm
For years, I've been saying I wanted to try durian. Since I'm unlikely to want to eat a whole one myself and other people have expressed a similar interest, I'm going to have a durian-tasting party! I've also been saying that for years, but I figure if I actually make a date for it, it's more likely to happen. Here, have a poll:

Poll #747419 Durian!

I'm interested in a durian-tasting party, and I'm available:

Sunday, July 9
2(12.5%)
Sunday, July 16
2(12.5%)
Sunday, July 30
0(0.0%)
Clicky!
9(56.2%)