BIOSEQUESTRATION AND ECOLOGICAL DIVERSITY
Wayne A. White
EDITOR’S NOTE FOR THE “CRC PRESS” BOOK SERIES: SOCIAL-ENVIRONMENTAL SUSTAINABILITY
In the introduction to this book, Wayne relates the story of a banker in Kansas who, “as a father and grandfather,” was seriously concerned about the available supply of water and the concomitant economy 30 years into the future, but, as an officer of the bank, “he had a fiduciary responsibility to maximize revenue in the current and next fiscal years.” He saw his job constrained by the aphorism, “success in business comes from working on the things that you can control.” Left unsaid in this statement is the practical fact that our social life is under the relentless tutelage of an economic system, the premise of which is dissatisfaction with one’s present standard of living, supported by an army of advertisers who espouse the constant need for ever-greater acquisition—for more, always more.
Consequently, our economic system is based on symptomatic thinking focused solely on quick fixes to anything threatening economic expansion and the linear growth of profits. This pattern of thinking, left unchecked, is rapidly altering the global ecosystem in a way that makes much of it progressively less conducive to human habitation—a situation compounded not only by a bourgeoning human population but also by the increased longevity of human life.
Moreover, we must think systemically about the three interactive spheres that comprise our world: the atmosphere (air), the litho-hydrosphere (the rock that constitutes the restless continents and the water that surrounds them), and the biosphere (the life forms that exist within the other two spheres). Although social-environmental sustainability requires systemic thinking, we arbitrarily delineate our seamless world into discrete ecosystems nonetheless, as we try to understand the fluid interactions between nonliving and living components of Earth. But, if you picture the interconnectivity of the 3 spheres as being analogous to the motion of a filled waterbed, you will see how patently impossible such divisions are because you cannot touch any part of a waterbed without affecting the whole of it.
Consequently, there are no problems “out there.” The environment is a simply a biophysical mirror reflecting our chronic, social-economic dysfunction, which is now reaching a critical stage with increasing portends of terminal conditions for supporting human life in the decades and centuries to come in more and larger portions of the global ecosystem.
Is this outcome inevitable? Is there nothing we can do to avert it?
No, it is not inevitable, and yes, we can avert it, but we must act now—decisively and collectively. I emphasize now because this eternal moment—the here and now—is all we have or ever will have. As Wayne illustrates in his book, “There are many ways to reduce greenhouse gas emissions and some fascinating ways to remove them from the atmosphere by changing the way we use and manage land.”
To accomplish this, however, we must ground our culturally designed landscapes and seascapes within nature’s evolved patterns and take advantage of them if we are to have a chance of creating a quality environment that is both pleasing to our cultural senses and biophysically sustainable. To wit, we must do three primary things: (1) control our human population, (2) refocus our concept of development from the exploitive, symptomatic subjugation of nature to a harmonious, systemic cultural evolution of sustainability with nature, and (3) protect existing biodiversity—including habitats and biophysical processes—at any price for the long-term sustainability of the ecological wholeness and the biological richness of the patterns we create across our global landscapes and seascapes.
For a nation and world that is increasing governed by symptomatic thinking, despite to the world’s systemic nature, Wayne’s book is an important voice in support of a rising global consciousness with respect to protecting and nurturing nature’s free services for all generations—rather than simply exploiting them for immediate, personal gain. To this end, he explains how greenhouse gases can be withdrawn from the atmosphere and isolated over time in both land and oceans through a process known as “biosequestration.”This process can be thought of as long-term storage accomplished by honoring the biophysical principles through which nature operates. Wayne’s message is clear and gentle, yet profound in its simplicity: By working in harmony with nature, we not only begin to heal the damage we humans have cause by degrading the global ecosystem over the centuries but also begin to heal ourselves by accepting our role as trustees of Earth as a biological living trust—of which all generations are the beneficiaries.
This book makes an important contribution to the series on social-environmental sustainability by offering an excellent blueprint of the systemic components and actions necessary to commence a conscious, collective process of healing our home planet, each within our own capacity. The choice of accepting and acting on the wisdom contained within these covers belongs to us, the adults of the world. The consequences of our decisions, however, we bequeath all generations—for better or worse. How shall we choose?
Chris Maser, Series Editor
BIOSEQUESTRATION AND ECOLOGICAL DIVERSITY. 2011. CRC Press, Boca Raton, FL.
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Text and Photos © by Chris Maser 2012. All rights reserved.