Friday, January 15, 2010

gaia payback

Throughout human history mankind has had trouble accepting that there is such a thing as natural disaster, a sometimes unpredictable, sometimes unavoidable event, which causes hardship and horror. In earlier eras we described them as ‘acts of God’; later we believed they were brought about by demonic forces; now we say they are payback for our lust for wealth and affluence. The language changes, but the backward idea – that powerful, faceless forces are trying to correct us – remains strikingly similar. And the consequence, then as now, is that we spend more time pointing the finger of blame at greedy mankind than we do offering solidarity to the victims of natural disasters and devising ways to develop and industrialise societies everywhere so that they are better able to withstand nature’s alleged fury. And for that, these societies will need unbridled affluence.

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