As the Gulf well spews daily destruction and BP scratches it’s head, it’s a time to think about technology and its uses (well. . . it’s been time, for a long time, but now it’s time again). Ever since the the first stone axe glanced off its target and gashed the user’s knee, or even before that, we have been inventing technologies that we don’t fully know how to control. But now the things we make have the potential to wreak havoc on a tragic scale.
Nature has always had that potential, but nature also has the ability to repair itself; we humans apparently do not. Bill McKibben, in his new book Eaarth: Making a Life on a Tough New Planet, says that “For almost all of human history, our society was small and nature was large; in a few brief decades that key ratio has reversed.”