The Environment and Technology: On the Precipice or In the Crevasse?


                        Environmentalists make terrible neighbors, but they make great ancestors.

                                                                                                - David Brower


            The Universe is a communion of subjects, not a collection of objects.

                        - Thomas Berry



            We humans behave as though we are apart from, not a part of, our environment, that nature is an entity to be conquered, diminished, and calculated.[1] 

The modern self is a discrete and separate subject in a universe that is other.  It is the economic man of Adam Smith; it is the skin-encapsulated ego of Alan Watts; it is the embodied soul of religion; it is the selfish gene of biology.  It underlies the converging crises of our time, which are all permutations of the theme of separation – separation from nature, from community, from lost parts of ourselves.  It is at the heart of all the usual culprits blamed for the ongoing destruction of ecology and polity, such as human greed and capitalism.[2]


The human condition may, indeed, be predisposed to challenge, but it is equally absorbed in self-deception, arrogance, and the capacity for false choices.  How else do we create economies of toxicity, then establish cost-benefit arithmetic formulas for totaling the diminishment of life?[3]  Photo of man with dead fishWe design things to be “thrown away” when, really, there is no away.[4]  The prominent architect, William McDonough, states succinctly that our labyrinthine regulatory schemes for measuring, monitoring, and sanctioning industrial interactions with the environment[5] are just signals of design failure.[6]  And David Orr, a pioneer in environmental literacy in higher education and Chair of Environmental Studies at Oberlin College, writes:

            Each of us Americans, on average, has 190 potentially toxic organochlorine compounds in our fatty tissue and body fluids, and several hundred other chemicals that maybe harmful to our health.   ***   [T]he privacy of the body has been violated without our knowledge or permission, and with little accountability by those responsible.  The ubiquity of pollution means that responsibility is difficult to ascertain.  Still more difficult to determine is which of hundreds or thousands of chemicals, mixing in ways beyond our comprehension, caused exactly what pathologies in our bodies.  We know that some of these substances, singly or in combination, undermine health, reproductive potential, intelligence, ability to concentrate, and emotional stability – hence the capacity to pursue and experience life, liberty, and happiness.  In some cases the effects will manifest far into the future, placing perpetrators beyond the reach of the law and leaving their victims without remedy.  What then is the meaning of the constitutional guarantees in the Fifth and Fourteenth Amendments that we cannot be deprived of life, liberty, or property without “due process of law?”  Do these include property of the body?[7]


            Many have agonized over the environment for decades.[8]  But even Thomas Jefferson, recognized for his concerns over intergenerational debt, could not have imagined the magnitude of the forthcoming intergenerational ecological debt that is most assuredly our legacy.[9]  The writings in this Section of the course examine globalization’s multiple forms—economic, political, cultural, scientific, and legal—at their intersections with the environment and technology.

            As discussed earlier, one of the primary assumptions serving pro-globalization advocates is that monetary economic growth equals development equals progress.[10]  A domino effect is catalyzed:  people and land are put to use.  Within the current development model, large businesses and the industrialized nations that subsidize them determine for all others what “use” looks like.[11]  Then, the nationalistic ideology, presumptively technocratic, born in one industrialized nation spreads to and across several others bringing with it consequences that were either unimagined or actively disguised:[12]  extinction of plants and animals,[13] transmission of diseases,[14] climate change,[15] fresh water under pressure,[16] devastation of marine life,[17] language loss,[18] pollution,[19] deforestation,[20] introduction of foreign species,[21] and sprawl.[22]  And when the multi-national businesses have finished their work, often, according to Wolfgang Sachs, the people and land are left behind, too spent to yield anything fruitful for generations.[23]

            David Quammen writes:

[O]ur Planet of Weeds will indeed be a crummier place, a lonelier and uglier place, and a particularly wretched place for the 2 billion people comprising [the] absolute poor.  What will increase most dramatically as time proceeds, I suspect, won’t be generalized misery or futuristic modes of consumption but the gulf between two global classes experiencing those extremes.  Progressive failure of ecosystem functions?  Yes, but human resourcefulness *** will probably find stopgap technological remedies, to be available for a price.  So the world’s privileged class -- that’s your class and my class -- will probably still manage to maintain themselves inside [a] stretch limo, drinking bottled water and breathing bottled air and eating reasonably healthy food that has become incredibly precious, while the potholes on the road outside grow ever deeper.  Eventually the limo will look more like a lunar rover.  Ragtag mobs of desperate souls will cling to its bumpers, like groupies on Elvis’ final Cadillac.  The absolute poor will suffer their lack of ecological privilege in the form of lowered life expectancy, bad health, absence of education, corrosive want, and anger.  Maybe in time they’ll find ways to gather themselves in localized revolt against the affluent class.  Not likely, though, as long as affluence buys guns.  In any case, well before that they will have burned the last stick of Bornean dipterocarp for firewood and roasted the last lemur, the last grizzly bear, the last elephant left unprotected outside a zoo.[24]


            But, to stem the tide of these massive environmental—and therefore human—degradations, industrialized nations and the international monetary agencies that they run must broaden their narrow notion of growth.[25]  In his article, “Growth Has Reached Its Limit,” Robert Goodland looks to a report by a Dutch ecological economist who asserts that what the world needs least as a mechanism for reaching ecological sustainability is an increase in national income.[26]  Instead, what the report suggests is that in place of the current push for quantitative growth, nations should be looking toward strategies for qualitative growth.[27]  Similarly, David Morris asserts, it is time to re-examine the validity of the doctrine of free trade and what we consider “external” consequences of that trade.[28]  Under the present model of development, environmental degradation is considered something external to economic growth, something that need not be counted in the total evaluation of successful growth.[29]  Yet Morris challenges pro-globalization advocates to answer the question, “external to what?”

            How do we integrate into our complex politics, and into domestic and international jurisprudence, the rights of species,[30] the rights of ecosystems,[31] and how do we discern the interests of nonhuman entities?  Some will, of course, argue that we have already, that there are numerous laws in existence that address the family of the environment.[32]  But,

[o]ur individual and collective failure to comprehend and act on the connectedness of things is pervasive and systemic….  Responses intended to solve one problem become the causes of later problems because governments commonly deal with the coefficients of problems, not with the system that created the problem in the first place.  The Clean Air Act of 1970, for example, required scrubbing power-plant emissions, but the substances so removed were deposited on land, becoming a land-use problem.  The effect, to this and other cases, has been a kind of shell game in which problems are simply moved from air, to water, to land, and back again.   ***   Environmental laws seldom prevent or solve environmental problems.  At best they render problems somewhat more manageable while providing ample opportunity for legal wrangling over the permissible rates by which the citizenry is poisoned and the land degraded.[33]


            Similarly, William McDonough relates the parable that if you are traveling north to Canada at 100 miles per hour, but you really want to go south to Mexico, it doesn’t much help to slow to 80 or even 20 mph.[34]  We are pretending again.  We are forgetting that the environment is not apart from us.  Our sense of interdependence—on each other as persons, as communities, and on our local environment—has been waning for generations.  That recognizable interdependence is being replaced by a notion that Thomas Berry calls “Economism,” a system in which humans believe, among other things, that the earth must change for our economic purposes.  But, “instead of checking the DOW every hour on the hour [should we not] be checking the oxygen balance.”[35]  Does not climate change force us to reevaluate not only our physical spaces,[36] but our mental spaces as well?  Should planetary warming be shaking us with fever, undercutting our abstractions and getting us back to animal breathing life and the awe of gravity.[37]  Should we get beyond hope?[38]  What is the future of environmentalism?[39]  Trade has occurred for millennia within prismatic colorations, spectral shades from civility to cruelty.[40]  The vagaries of trade also have much to do with geographic location and technological force.[41]  When technology is thought of as triumphant, there exists a human tendency to arrogate it, to make it hegemonic.

Technological innovations are always offered, promoted, and accepted in the best light before any serious discussion is embraced as to the consequences of their introduction to the structures and health of human societies.[42]  Why did we not reason beforehand that sprawl and polluted cities would be an outcome of the automobile?[43]  Why have we chosen to sit before radiation screens (televisions and computers) for several hours each day to the delight of commercial advertisers?[44]  Why are we not debating criminal sanctions for the creation of knowledge-based weapons of mass destruction?[45]  Are values always determined by a cost-benefit analysis?[46]  Why have we even coined an economic term for undisturbed nature: Aexistence value@?[47]  “Is Humanity Suicidal?”[48]

            The technologies of globalization often come to us from widespread commercial pursuit, usually accompanied by advertising benefits to health and lifestyle, and without ethical ballast.  They are introduced into societies as rosy-cheeked sweethearts and become pervasive, difficult to dislodge, before there exists any process to articulate and evaluate the totality of effects they cause.[49]  We are barraged with high-tech headlines about biofuels,[50] cloning,[51] artificial intelligence,[52] spyware,[53] synthetic biology,[54] geoengineering,[55] robotics,[56] nanotechnology,[57] biotechnology, biopharmaceuticals, genetic therapy,[58] designing children’s birth traits,[59] downloading our consciousness into computers, becoming transhuman,[60] all heralding the “dawn of a coming utopia of health and wealth, and yes, perhaps even immortality itself.”[61]  This techno-utopian vision—what I call science fixation—is becoming an omnipresent reality for our societies.

            E. F. Schumacher writes, in The Slenderest Knowledge:

With the rise of materialistic Scientism the soul disappeared from the description of man—how could it exist when it could be neither weighed nor measured?—except as one of the many strange attributes of complex arrangements of atoms and molecules.  Why not accept the so-called “soul” as an epiphenomenon of matter, just as, say, magnetism has been accepted as such?  The Universe was seen simply as an accidental collocation of atoms.  If the great Cosmos is seen as nothing but a chaos of particles without purpose or meaning, so man must be seen as nothing but a chaos of particles without purpose and meaning—a sensitive chaos perhaps, capable of suffering pain, anguish and despair, but a chaos all the same—a rather unfortunate cosmic accident of no consequence whatever.


            I am not arguing for Chicken Little or dreaming the dream of a Luddite here.  But should we not be asking questions beforehand designed to provide an insight into the ways in which technology insinuates, or will intrude, itself into our cultures?  Neil Postman[62] proposes six:

1.      What is the problem to which this technology is a solution?  Postman argues that technology should not be created if it is not solving a relevant problem. 

2.      Whose problem is it?  The people who will benefit from the technology should be the people who pay for it.

3.      What new problems will be created by solving an old one?  We should think in an open eyed way about the consequences of technology before we create it.

4.      What people and institutions will most seriously be harmed?  If the groups supposedly benefiting from the technology are actually being harmed by it, that technology is not a good idea. 

5.      What changes in language are being enforced by new technologies and what is being gained and lost by such changes?  When we attach a word with a social meaning to a new technology, that technology often changes the meaning of the word and unthreads part of the social fabric.

6.      What sorts of people and institutions acquire special economical and political power because of the technological change?  The transformation of technology into a product always realigns economic and political power.


Will Postman’s questions find Salamancan[63] forums outside of corporate and military laboratories when those technologies sought to be treated involve life-altering regimes?[64]  Will the convergence of computational genetic engineering, nanotechnology, and robotics (GNR) lead to dangerous mechanical plagues?[65]  We are now replicating and evolving processes that have thus far been confined to the natural world, and they are now to become part of the realms of human endeavors and destined for widespread knowledge and commercial uses.[66]  We are aggressively pursuing the promises of new technologies within the now unchallenged system of global capitalism and its manifold financial incentives and competitive pressures.[67]

Bill Joy, the co-founder of Sun Microsystems, in a sobering article, entitled “Why the Future Doesn’t Need Us,”[68] asks:

In our time how much danger do we face not just from nuclear weapons but from all of these technologies?  How high are the extinction risks?  What are the moral implications here?  If we must move beyond the earth this quickly in order for the species to survive, who accepts responsibility for the fate of those (most of us after all) who are left behind?


The only realistic alternative he sees is relinquishment, to limit development of the technologies that are too dangerous by quashing our search for certain kinds of knowledge.  This is an extraordinary assertion for students to debate.  The human desire to learn, to understand, to create, to profit, to exploit, to dream, being stalled when some organization, some international component organization, some nation-state, tells you to brake your quest for knowledge.  Who would be in control?  Who could?[69]  What way could we even regulate or verify the closing of a mind given our strong claims to property, privacy, and freedom of action?[70] 

What Joy proposes we do to assure the perpetuation of our human species is a labyrinthic challenge.  Whether it can be answered in front of an environmental catastrophe remains to be seen.  Satish Kumar, the eloquent philosopher and educator who is the Director of Programme of Schumacher College in England, and also the editor of Resurgence magazine, once related to me a story that his mother told him when he was a young man.  She said that “when God created time, he made a lot of it.”  Her point, obviously, was to grasp that humans were always in such a hurry.[71]  All our technologically-driven processes seem to be designed, from my senses, around what can basically be accomplished next, and about how we can be remunerated for our inventions immediately.[72]  We are striving to make the future the past in the present.

In English, there is a quaint expression, “making good time,” a colloquialism that if taken literally implies that time is something that can be crafted or manufactured, and either poorly so or else expertly, a notion every bit as fanciful and illogical as naming a star “sitting trouser”---until one becomes acquainted with quantum physics, whereupon one learns that time, as measured by clocks on earth, is, indeed, a contrivance, a thing we have conveniently made up.  Moreover, the “better” time we make, which is to say, the faster we go, the less time there is, so that “by the time” we reach the speed of light, there is no time at all, indicating, perhaps, that the only good time is a dead time.  Something else to ponder is that if higher science has justified the figure of speech, “making good time,” might not it someday validate the name, “sitting trouser,” as well?[73]


I once heard -- the best place I can recall from where is the ether (yet my wife reminds me that it was she who advised) -- that during the Italian Renaissance (and I am sure, to not be accused of being [Italian-peninsula] centric, in other cultures as well), some peoples’ jobs were to grow and tend the trees that would be used as the scaffoldings for the construction of churches to be built over the course of the next two or three centuries.  Whether these arborists were content or not, I cannot say, and I don’t mean to infuse a sense of romanticism, either.  But can we imagine, today, our work being complete in the incompletion?  That we will not see, let alone enjoy, the fruits of our labor, especially when generally all our economic markers of wealth are based upon completed transactions or upon speculation in future market events.[74]  In our rush for “progress/productivity/efficiency”, where do we place a precaution on the pace of what we call “development”?[75]

If we have made the ultimate compromise by surrendering to industrial market forces the decision-making over what we put into our bodies as food, will we not also be inclined or predisposed to compromise anything else in life?  Is this not the inherent failure of cost-benefit analysis, that there are no absolutes or moral imperatives?[76]

*  *  *

It is tempting at this point in the Syllabus to feast with the students upon creative solutions for ecological sustainability.  There exist many large knapsacks full of champion ideas.[77]  But I prefer to defer the jellyroll and keep the students at the edge of the moraine a bit longer…well, really some weeks longer.  There are still more ecological and cultural phenomena to be connected within our globalized world.

[1]  See Robert A. Williams, Jr., The Savage as the Wolf: Indigenous Peoples Rights in the Western Imperial Imagination (Draft) (Forthcoming); Richard Bernheimer, Wild Men in the Middle Ages: A Study in Art, Sentiment, and Demonology (1952); Ronald L. Meek, Social Science and the Ignoble Savage (1976); Eric R. Wolf, Europe and the People Without History (1982); Anthony Pagden, The Fall of the Natural Man: The American Indian and the Origins of Comparative Ethnology (1982); Lynn White, Jr., The Historical Roots of Our Ecological Crisis, also Carol M. Rose, Given-Ness and Gift: Property and the Quest for Environmental Ethics, 24 Environmental L. 1 (1994).

                [2]  Charles Eisenstein, Down with Descartes, Orion 11, May/June 2008.

[3]  See Frank Ackerman & Lisa Heinzerling, Priceless: On Knowing the Price of Everything and the Value of Nothing (2004); Jay Griffiths, Artifice v. Pastoral: The World of Fakery And Its War On All Things Natural, Orion 20, March/April 2009; Curtis White, The Barbaric Heart, Orion 30, May/June 2009; Richard Revesz, Environmental Regulation, Cost-Benefit Analysis, and the Discounting of Human Lives, 99 Colum. L. Rev. 941 (1999); Mari Matsuda, On Causation, 100 Colum. L. Rev. 2195 (2000); Martha C. Nussbaum, The Costs of Tragedy:  Some Moral Limits of Cost-Benefit Analysis, 29 J. Legal Studies 1005 (2000); John Tierney, Life:  The Cost-Benefit Analysis, N.Y. Times, May 18, 2003, at sec. 4, p. 14; Jim Holt, The Human Factor:  Should The Government Put a Price on Your Life?, N.Y. Times Mag., Mar. 28, 2004, at sec. 6, p. 13.

[4]  William McDonough & Michael Braungart, Cradle to Cradle: Remaking the Way we Make Things (2002).  Cf. David Korten, Cowboys in a Spaceship, in When Corporations Rule the World 25-56 (2nd ed., 2001).

[5]  “The Environment.  How vast is our range of definition?  See generally Glenn Adelson et al., Environment: An Interdisciplinary Anthology (2008); Chris C. Park, The Environment: Principles and Applications (2001); Gabriele A. Kütting, Environment, Society, and International Relations (2000); Paul Shepard, Nature and Madness (1998).

[6]  William McDonough & Michael Braungart, A New Geography of Hope:┬áLandscape, Design and the Renewal of Ecological Intelligence in EXTREME LANDSCAPES:┬áTHE LURE OF MOUNTAIN SPACES (2002); McDonough Braungart Design Chemistry, LLC, The Next Industrial Revolution,


The Next Industrial Revolution

The Next Industrial Revolution is the emerging transformation of human industry from a system that takes, makes, and wastes to one that celebrates natural, economic, and cultural abundance.

The First Industrial Revolution

The industrial framework that dominates our lives now is fairly primitive.  It is conceived around a one-way manufacturing flow – what is known as a “cradle to grave” lifecycle.  This cradle to grave flow relies on brute force (including fossil fuels and large amounts of powerful chemicals). It seeks universal design solutions (“one size fits all”), overwhelming and ignoring natural and cultural diversity.  And it produces massive amounts of waste – something that in nature does not even exist.

Consider looking at the industrial revolution of the 19th century and its aftermath as a kind of retroactive design assignment, focusing on some of its unintended, questionable effects.  The assignment might sound like this:  Design a system of production that

·         Puts billions of pounds of toxic material into the air, water, and soil every year

·         Produces some materials so dangerous they will require constant vigilance by future generations

·         Results in gigantic amounts of waste

·         Puts valuable materials in holes all over the planet, where they can never be retrieved

·         Requires thousands of complex regulations to keep people and natural systems from being poisoned too quickly

·         Measures productivity by how few people are working?

·         Creates prosperity by digging up or cutting down natural resources and then burying or burning them

·         Erodes the diversity of species and cultural practices

Does this seem like good design assignment?

Even though none of these things happened intentionally, we find this “design assignment” to be a limited and depressing one for industries to perpetuate – and it is obviously resulting in a much less enjoyable world.



A New Design Assignment

We are proposing a new design assignment where people and industries set out to create the following:

·         Buildings that, like trees, are net energy exporters, produce more energy than they consume, accrue and store solar energy, and purify their own waste water and release it slowly in a purer form.

·         Factory effluent water that is cleaner than the influent.

·         Products that, when their useful life is over, do not become useless waste, but can be tossed onto the ground to decompose and become food for plants and animals, rebuilding soil; or, alternately, return to industrial cycles to supply high quality raw materials for new products.

·         Billions, even trillions of dollars worth of materials accrued for human and natural purposes each year.

·         A world of abundance, not one of limits, pollution, and waste.

Welcome to the Next Industrial Revolution.


[7]  David W. Orr, Law of the Land, Orion 18, 19, Jan./Feb. 2004.

[8]  For a history of environmentalism and its relation to global ethics, see Nicholas Low, Global Ethics and the Environment (1999); Paul Hawken, Blessed Unrest (2007); James Conaway, Vanishing America (2007); Lynn White, Jr., The Historical Roots of Our Ecological Crisis,; Liz Galst, Global Worrying: The Environment Is In Peril And Anxiety Disorders Are On The Rise, What’s the Connection, PLENTY 55, August/September 2006. 

Groups like the World Watch Institute, Environmental Defense, The National Resources Defense Council, The Center for Biological Diversity, Greenpeace, and the Indigenous Environmental Network are recognizable names in a panoramic landscape of organizations dedicated to environmental awareness and stewardship. See Websites and Organizations, here.

[9]  See State of the Planet [blog from the Earth Institute],; Michael Klesius, The State of the Planet, National Geographic 103, September 2002; The Worldwatch Institute, Vital Signs 2007-2008: The Trends That Are Shaping Our Future (2007); Jane Goodall, Life is Hanging By a Thread, April 23, 2007,; Jonathan Porritt, Edging Closer to Meltdown, Resurgence 10, September/October 2006; Jeff Goodell, The Prophet, Rolling Stone 59, November 1, 2007; Mike Davis, Slum Ecology, Orion 17, March/April 2006; Millennium Ecosystem Assessment, www.millenniumassessment.orgState of the Planet 08,; Wade Davis, The End of the Wild, Lapis, Issue 8; Yann Arthus-Bertrand, Earth from Above (3rd Ed. 2005); Murray Whyte, Burtynsky’s Account:  Adding up the Price that Nature Pays, N.Y. Times, Jan. 4, 2004, at sec. AR34, AR37.

[10]  Thomas Berry, Technological Triumphalism, Lapis, Issue 8 (1999) (describing the present global monetary market economy as “Economism,” a system that allows corporate economic powers to dominate the world’s democracies.  “Will we humans accept the universe as the controlling context of existence or will we insist that the human be accepted as the controlling context of existence?  Controlling implies the setting of limits and determining patterns of relationship.  Will we accept our status as functioning within the greater community of existence or will we humans insist that the greater community of existence accept its status within the determination imposed by the human?”); see generally Amatyra Sen, Development as Freedom (2001) (arguing that the current understanding of development hinders the notion that development can be used as a tool of freedom.  Sen argues that such a notion is practicable only when a people also asserts the required self-determination to define freedom for itself).  For a history of the role of “growth” in the United States in the second half of the twentieth century, see Robert M. Collins, More:  The Politics of Economic Growth in Postwar America (2000).  For a stronger counter-argument, see Charles Derber, People Before Profit (2002).  See also William Grieder, One World, Ready or Not:  The Manic Logic of Global Capitalism (1997).

[11]  William Finnegan, The Economics of Empire:  Notes on the Washington Consensus, Harpers Mag., May 2003, at 45, available at (asserting, “the [World] Bank’s self-description as a ‘pro-poor’ development agency is at best self-deluding….  The Bank’s core constituencies remain the corporation and the poor-country bureaucrats and politicians whom it entrenches”). 

[12] See generally World Watch Institute. Managing Planet Earth, N.Y. Times, Aug. 20, 2002 (Science Times Special Reports); David Ehrenfeld, Pretending, Orion, Autumn 2000; Jerry Mander, Technologies of Globalization, in Mander 344-359; Neil Postman, Staying Sane in a Technological Society:  Six Questions in Search of an Answer, Lapis, Issue 7 (1998); Jim Yardley, China’s Economic Engine Needs Power (Lots of It), N.Y. Times, Mar. 14, 2004 at sec. 4, p. 3 (adding a middle-sized country every two years in terms of energy use).  Exemplative and the social costs of mining for gold.  See Jane Perlez and Kirk Johnson, “Behind Gold’s Glitter:  Torn Lands and Pointed Questions”, N.Y. Times, Oct. 24, 2005,; and Jane Perlez and Lowell Bergman, “Tangled Strand in Fight Over Peru Gold Mines, N.Y. Times, Oct. 25, 2005,[=99998871.

[13]  See generally David Quammen, Planet of Weeds, Harper’s Mag., Oct. 1998; J. Patrick Lewis, Swan Song:  Poems of Extinction (2003); Peter D. Ward, Under a Green Sky: Global Warming, The Mass Extinctions Of The Past, And What They Can Tell Us About The Future (2007); Richard Ellis, Tiger Bone and Rhino Horn: The Destruction of Wildlife for Traditional Chinese Medicine (2005); Bryn Barnard, Dangerous Planet:  Natural Disasters That Changed History (2003); Christopher Cokinos, The Consolations of Extinctions, Orion 44, May/June 2007; Julia Whitty, Animal Extinction – The Greatest Threat to Mankind, April 30, 2007;; James Randerson, The Edge of Oblivion: Conservationists Name 25 Primates About To Disappear, October 26, 2007,; An Epidemic of Extinctions: Decimation of Life on Earth, May 16, 2008,; Alison Benjamin, Threatened Species Red List Shows Escalating ‘Global Extinction Crisis’, September 12, 2007,; Back in the Crosshairs, Conde Nast Traveler, Apr. 2005, at 88 (hunting safaris as conservation); Natasha Singer, See the Last Cloud Leopard, Outside Mag., May 2004, at 87.  Extinction also promotes Frozen Zoos.  See  Alisa Opar, All Creatures Great and Small, Plenty 50, August/September 2007.

[14] See Harvard Working Group, Globalization, Development, and the Spread of Disease, in Mander  161-70; Paul Epstein, Is Global Warming Harmful to Health?, Sci. Am., Aug. 2000; David Ehrenfeld, Pretending, Orion, Autumn 2000; Jerry Mander, Technologies of Globalization, in The Case Against the Global Economy at 344-359 (Jerry Mander & Edward Goldsmith eds., 1996); Mark Jerome Walters, Six Modern Plagues and How We Are Causing Them (2003) (humankind is causing radical change to the natural world, the mutation and spread of known diseases and the emergence of new epidemics as a consequence); Frank Herbert, The White Plague (1982); Elizabeth Rosenthal, As Earth Warms Up, Virus From Tropics Moves to Italy, NY Times, December 23, 2007.

[15] Pentagon Report (Peter Schwartz and Doug Randall, authors), An Abrupt Climate Change Scenario and its Implications for U.S. National Security, Oct. 2003 (link reported at Ruth Rosen, Imagine the Unthinkable, S.F. Chron., Apr. 1, 2004); Jürgen Scheffran, Climate Change and Security, Bulletin Atomic Scientists 19, May/June 2008; Bill McKibben: Warning Skies: The Deeper Aspects of Climate Change, Lapis 11; Tom Gjelten, Intel Report Eyes Climate Change – Security Link (National Intelligence Assessment),; National Security and the Threat of Climate Change,; S.1018, The Global Climate Change Security Oversight Act,; Working Group on Climate Changes and Development, Report:  Up In Smoke, gen/news_upinsmoke.aspx; Second report:  Africa - Up in Smoke, (International Institute for Environmental Development); Tim Flannery, The Weather Makers: How Man is Changing the Climate and What It Means For Life On Earth (2006); Elizabeth Kolbert, Field Notes from a Catastrophe: Man, Nature, and Climate Change (2006); Mark Lynas, High Tide:  The Truth About our Climate Crises (2004); Joseph Romm, Hell and High Water: Global Warming—The Solution and the Politics—And What We Should Do (2007); James Gustave Speth, Red Sky at Morning:  America and the Crises of the Global Environment (2004); Donella Meadows, Jorgen Randers, and Dennis Meadows, Limits to Growth (2004); Paul and Anne Ehrlich, One With Nineveh:  Politics, Consumption, and the Human Future (2004); Ross Gelbspan, Boiling Point (2004); Global Warming (Special Issue), Audobon Mag., December 2003; John Broome, The Ethics of Climate Change, Scientific Amer. 96, June 2008; Gretel Ehrlich, The Future of Ice, Shambhala Sun 28, January 2005; Bill McKibben, The Submerging World, Orion 26, September/October 2004; M. Martin Smith and Fiona Gow, Is It Time To Mess With Mother Nature, UTNE 18, July/August 2008; Robert D. Kaplan, Waterworld, The Atlantic 60, January/February 2008; Andrew C. Revkin, As China Goes, So Goes Global Warming, NY Times, December 16, 2007, Sec. wk, p. 3; Center for American Progress, Top 100 Ways Global Warming Will Change Your Life, September 29, 2007,; Charles Wohlforth, On Thin Ice, Orion, Mar./Apr. 2004, at 46; Clifford Krauss, Eskimos Fret as Climate Shifts and Wildlife Changes, N.Y. Times, Sept. 6, 2004, international/Americas/06Canada.html?8hpib; Jim Lobe, Global Warming Has Arrived:  Arctic Study,, Nov. 1, 2004; Steve Connor, Meltdown:  Arctic Wildlife is on the Brink of Catastrophe, Independent/UK, Nov. 11, 2004; Alister Doyle, As Ice Thaws, Arctic Peoples at Loss for Words, Reuters, Nov. 22, 2004; Alister Doyle, Dangerous’ Global Warming Possible by 2026 - WWF, Reuters, Jan. 30, 2005; Michael McCarthy, Global Warming:  Scientists Reveal Timetable, Independent/UK, Feb. 3, 2005; Bill McKibben, Small Changes:  On Not Quite Getting It, McKibben.html; Ian Sample, Warming Hits Tipping Point, Guardian/UK, Aug. 11, 2005; Michael Harrison, World’s Top Firms Fail to Tackle Climate Changes, Independent/UK, Sept. 15, 2005; Andrew Buncombe and Severin Carrell, Melting Planet:  Species Are Dying Out Faster Than We Have Dared Recognize, Scientists Will Warn This Week, Independent/UK, Oct. 2, 2005; Steven Lee Myers, Andrew C. Revkin, Simon Romero & Clifford Krauss, Old Ways of Life are Fading as the Arctic Thaws, N.Y. Times,  

Many people see potential military consequences to global warming.  See, e.g., United States General Accounting Office (GAO) Report to the Chairman, Committee on the Budget, House of Representatives, Energy Security: Evaluating U.S. Vulnerability to Oil Supply Disruptions and Options for Mitigating Their Effects, GAO/RCED-97-6; Clifford Krauss, Canada Reinforces its Disputed Claims in the Arctic, NY Times, Aug. 29, 2004 at A3; Simon Romero, Peru Guards Its Guano As Demand Soars Again, NY Times, May 30, 2008,; Casey Bush and Joshua Seeds, Apocalypse Found: Cotan, Cell Phones and Crisis in the Congo, April 19, 2008,; William Langewiesche, Stealing Weather, Vanity Fair 172, May 2008.

Global warming and the resulting melting ice caps have plowed a way for new shipping lanes across the Arctic.  See, e.g., Doug Struck, Melting Arctic Makes Way for Man, Wash. Post, Nov. 5, 2006, at A1, available at; John Roach, As Arctic Ice Melts, Rush is on for Shipping Lanes, More, Nat’l Geographic, Feb. 25, 2005 available at; Jamie Wilson, Global WarmingWill Leave Arctic Ice Free, Guardian, Nov. 3, 2004, available at     

Global warming has also led to a number of lawsuits.  See, e.g., David Kravets, Federal Judge OK’s Global Warming Lawsuit, Associated Press, Aug. 25, 2005 (Friends of the Earth v. Watson); Richard Black, Inuit sue US over Climate Policy, tech/4511556.stm.b; Stephen Faris, Conspiracy Theory, The Atlantic 32, June 2008.]

Some see adaptations and opportunities.  Naomi Klein, Disaster Capitalism: The New Economy of Catastrophe, Harper’s Magazine 47, October 2007; Gregg Easterbrook, Global Warming: Who Loses – And Who Wins?, The Atlantic 53, April 2007; Marketplace, Seeing Opportunity in Rising Oceans, January 28, 2008,; Stephen Faris, Ice Free: Will Global Warming Give Greenland Its Independence?, NY Times Mag., July 27, 2008, at p. 20; Michael McCarthy, Holiday at the End of the Earth: Tourists Pay to See Global Warming in Action, May 3, 2007,; James Fallows, China’s Silver Lining, The Atlantic 36, June 2008.]

Can climate change be manipulated?  See, e.g., Pete Geddes, Geoengineering and Climate Change, January 31, 2007,; Wayne Hall, Climate Change and Geoengineering: International Large Scale Manipulation of the Global Environment, September 25, 2007,]

See also Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, www.picc/ch/

Some see the term “global warming” as fostering images of complex scientific dispute and economic sacrifice and, therefore, advocate the use of a different vocabulary of words.  See John M. Broder, Struggling to Save the Planet, With a Thesaurus, NY Times, May 2, 2009 at Sec. A, p. 1.

[16]  Fen Montaigne, Water Pressure, Nat’l Geogr. 2, Sept. 2002 (Series: Challenges for Humanity); MAUDE BARLOW, BLUE COVENANT:  THE GLOBAL WATER CRISIS AND THE FIGHT FOR THE RIGHT TO WATER (2008); Robert Glennon, Unquenchable: America’s Water Crisis and What To Do About It (2009); Robert Glennon, Water Follies: Groundwater Pumping and the Fate of America’s Fresh Waters (2004).  For controversies surrounding dams, internationally, see generally,,

[17]  Paul Molyneaux, Swimming in Circles: Aquaculture and the End of Wild Oceans (2007); Richard Ellis, The Empty Ocean:  Plundering the World’s Marine Life (2003); [Nature-Oceanographic report at (2003), reported at Andrew C. Reukin, Commercial Fleets Slashed Stocks of Big Fish by 90%, Study Says, N.Y. Times, May 15, 2003, at A1, A12; Headlines, Rapid Growth of ‘Dead Zones’ in Oceans Threatens Planet, Agence France Presse, Mar. 29, 2004, available at; Plastic is Drastic: World’s Largest ‘Landfill’ is in the Middle of the Ocean, also The Cetacean Community v. Bush, et. al., 386 F.3d1169 (9th Cir. 2004) (denying standing to the world’s cetaceans -- whales, porpoises and dolphins -- to bring suit in their own name under the Endangered Species Act, the Marine Mammal Protection Act, the National Environmental Protection Act and the Administrative Procedure Act) (The Navy Sonar Case); 33 U.S.C. 1951 (2006) (Marine Debris Research Prevention and Reduction Act).

[18]  John Noble Wilford, World’s Languages Dying Off Rapidly, NY Times, September 18, 2007,; Claire Soares, The Languages of Extinction: The World’s Endangered Tongues,   Jack Hitt, Say No More, N.Y. Times Mag., Feb. 29, 2004, at sec. 6, p. 52.

[19]  Pollution comes in many forms:  Chemical [State of the Evidence:  What is the Connection Between the Environment and Breast Cancer? (Nancy Evans, ed., 3d ed., 2004),;; Stacy Malkan, Not Just a Pretty Face: The Ugly Side Of The Beauty Industry (2007); Mark Schapiro, Toxic Inaction: Why Poisonous, Unregulated Chemicals End Up In Our Blood, Harper’s Magazine 78, October 2007; Mark Schapiro, Exposing a Toxic U.S. Policy, NPR Interview,; Leslie Kaufman & Gardiner Harris, Environmental Group Reveals Toxic Chemicals in a Range of Consumer Items, NY Times, September 17, 2009;; David Ewing Duncan, The Pollution Within, Nat’l Geographic 116, October 2006; Alan Weisman, Polymers Are Forever, Orion 17, May/June 2007; Heather Gehlert, I’ll Have My Cosmetics With A Side of Infertility, Please, October 25, 2007,; Toxics Release Inventory,;; Pesticide Action Network North America; Chemical Trespass:  Pesticides in our Bodies and Corporate Accountability, May 2004,; Sandra Stein Graber,“The Pirates of Illiopolis:  Why your kitchen floor may pose a threat to national security”, Orion, May/June 2005, at 16; “Poison Plants”, (mercury contamination) [exportation of pesticides/eg/James Colopy, Exportation of Pesticides, 13 UCLA J.Env. L. & Pol’y 167 (1994/1995); Rottendam Convention] Paul Meller, Europe Proposes Overhaul of Chemical Industry, N.Y. Times, Oct. 30, 2003, at W1 See REACH; But see Rachel Carlson, Silent Spring (1962); Toxic Flame Retardants Found in U.S. Breast Milk, Reuters, Sept. 23, 2003, available at wysiwyg://22/…  pe=governmentFilingsNews&fromEmail=true; Mindy Pennybacker, Green Guidance:  Plastic Containers for Water and Food, World-Watch 8, Mar./April 2004; Gina Kolata, Farmed Salmon Have More Contaminants than Wild Ones, Study Finds, N.Y. Times, Jan. 9, 2004, at A10; [Air]:; Keith Bradsher, China’s Car Culture Hits Some Potholes, N.Y. Times, Jan. 11, 2004, at sec. 4, p. 4; Water [National Tapwater Quality Database,;; Oceanic [Carl J. Sindermann, Ocean Pollution: Effects on Living Resources and Humans (1995); Susan Casey, Our Oceans Are Turning Into Plastic…Are We?, February 20, 2007; Stephen Leahy, Drowning in an Ocean of Plastic, June 5, 2004,; David Ferris, Message n a Bottle, Sierra 44, May/June 2009; Statement of Sylvia A. Earle, Select Committee in Energy Independence and Global Warming, U.S. House of Representatives, April 29, 2008; Steve Connon, Warmer Seas Will Wipe Out Plankton, Source of Ocean Life, January 19, 2006, ]; Genetic [Scientific Article on Genetic pollution of Gene-Altered Crops,; Andrew Pollock, “Genes from Engineered Grass Spread for Miles, Study Finds,]; Noise [(Garret Keizer, Sound and Fury, Harpers’ Mag., Mar. 2001; Electromagnetic [An Interview with Andrew Marino, with Casey Walker,; Robert Becker, The Body Electric: Electromagnetism and the Foundation of Life (1985); Arthur Firstenberg, Killing Fields, The Ecologist 22, June 2004]; Nanotechnology and Grey Goo [];].  Trash (generally) [Elisabeth Rosenthal, New Rules Lead Europe to Dump Trash Abroad, NY Times, September 27, 2009.]

[20]  Derrick Jensen and George Draffan, Strangely Like War:  The Global Assault on Forests (2004); Alex Shoumatoff, The Gasping Forest, Vanity Fair 272, May 2007; Michael McCarthy, Nature Laid Waste: The Destruction of Africa, June 11, 2008,; Dan Box, Harvesting the Forests, The Ecologist 18, June 2003; Leapfrogging the Law (logging in Wichi territory in Argentina), The Ecologist 20, June 2003; Juan Forero, A Swirl of Foreboding in Mahogany’s Grain, N.Y. Times, Sept. 28, 2003, at A8; James Gorman, For Billions of Birds, an Endangered Haven, N.Y. Times, Sept. 23, 2003, at D1, D4; Larry Rohter, Loggers, Scorning the Law, Ravage the Amazon Jungle, N.Y. Times, Oct. 16, 2005, at A8; Alex Shoumatoff, The Gasping Forest, Vanity Fair, May 2007, at 272; Elizabeth Rosenthal, New Jungles Prompt a Debate on Saving Primeval Rain Forests, NY Times, January 30, 2009, sec. A, p. 1.  But see William Yardley, Loggers Alter Ways in Green Economy, NY Times, March 29, 2009.

[21]  Alan Burdick, Out of Eden: An Odyssey of Ecological Invasion (2005);; Felicity Barringer, Where There’s No Room for All Three of Them, N.Y. Times, Mar. 5, 2004, at A10 (human domesticity of Santa Cruz Island has dramatically altered the local ecosystem); Global Warming Prognosis: Hundreds of New Species of Animals and Plants to Appear on Earth, Pravda, May 25, 2004, available at; New Species Found in Earth’s ‘Refrigerator,’, June 25, 2004, available at

[22]  Megacities (Nat’l Geographic Channel television broadcast 2007), Fritz W. Wagner, The International Face of Urban Sprawl: Lessons Learned from North America (2006); James Howard Kuntsler, The Geography of Nowhere:  The Rise and Decline of America’s Man-Made Landscape (1994); James Howard Kunstler, Home From Nowhere:  Remaking Our Everyday World for the 21st Century (1998); Carolyn Johnsen, Raising a Stink: The Struggle Over Factory Hog Farms in Nebraska (2003); Alan Thein Durning, The Car and the City:  24 Steps to Safe Streets and Healthy Communities (2006); How Transportation Shapes America, Dwell 194, April, 2008; William W. Buzbee, Urban Sprawl, Federalism, and the Problem of Institutional Complexity, 68 Fordham L. Rev. 57 (1999); Anthony DePalma, Crossing Their (Flight) Path:  Development and Sprawl Replace DDT as Top Threat to Bald Eagles, N.Y. Times, Jan. 31, 2004, at A12.  Cf. John Nivala, Constitutional Architecture:  The First Amendment and the Single-Family Home, 33 San Diego L. Rev. 291 (1996) (“The exterior design of a private single-family house is a First Amendment-protected expression for the inhabitants.”); Chrstopher Caldwell, Revolting High Rises:  Were the French Riots produced by Modern Architecture, N.Y. Times Mag., Nov. 27, 2005, at 28; [Murray Whyte, Burtynsky’s Account:  Adding Up The Price That Nature Pays, N.Y. Times, Jan. 4, 2004, at AR 34 (photographing the ravages of heavy industry) - Add (Yann Arthus-Bertrand) Earth From Above.

[23]  Wolfgang Sachs, Neo-Development:  ‘Global Ecological Management,’ in Mander 243-44  I am sure (Dr.) Sachs has his detractors.  Economic globalization is seen by many as the only method for increasing national, and hence, individual wealth and prosperity.  See, e.g., Thomas L. Friedman, The Lexus and the Olive Tree:  Understanding Globalization (2000); Jagdish N. Bhagwati, In Defense of Globalization (2007).  But see International Forum on Globalization, Rio +10 Summit, available at  An interesting new book by Franklin Foer, entitled How Soccer Explains the World:  An Unlikely Theory of Globalization (2004), originally though its pages would validate Tom Friedman’s conclusion that economic globalization leads to greater civility between nations, but Fore discovered that the globalizing force of soccer, in most instances, dramatically, really allowed for the commodification of tribal hatreds.

                [24] David Quammen, Planet of Weeds, HARPER’S MAG., Oct. 1998, at 69;

[25] Wolfgang Sachs, Neo-Development:  Global Ecological Management, in Mander 252.

[26] Robert Goodland, Growth Has Reached its Limit, in Mander 215.  The Korean writer, Ko Un, says  that we will never ameliorate the political and economic strains between cultures until we adopt a posture of minimum ownership.

Will we be a people characterized by consumerism and self-gratification or will we make the well-being of all life the organizing principle of our culture.  This is the defining question of our time….

                                -- M. G. H. Gilliam, Orion, July/August 2007

See also Barry Lopez, Ed., The Future of Nature: Writings on a Human Ecology (2007).

[27]  Michelle Fratianni, et al., Corporate, Public, and Global Governance: the G8 Contribution (2008).  In Bhutan, the king has made Gross National Happiness (GNH), rather than GDP, its priority.  Andrew C. Revkin, A New Measure of Well-Being From a Happy Little Kingdom, N.Y. Times, Oct. 4, 2005.

[28]  David Morris, Free Trade:  The Great Destroyer, in Mander 226.

[29] See  ADBUSTERS: THOUGHT CONTROL IN ECONOMICS (September/October 2009) (see Resources & Provocations); HAZEL HENDERSON, CREATING ALTERNATIVE FUTURES: THE END OF ECONOMICS (1996); STEPHEN A. MARGLIN, THE DISMAL SCIENCE: HOW THINKING LIKE AN ECONOMIST UNDERMINES COMMUNITY (2008); PARTHA DASGUPTA, ECONOMICS: A VERY SHORT INTRODUCTION (2007); Partha Dasgupta, Nature and the Economy, J. APPLIED ECOLOGY 475 (2007); Partha Dasgupta, The Place of Nature in Economic Development, in DANI RODRIK & MARK ROSENZWEIG, Eds., HANDBOOK OF DEVELOPMENT ECONOMICS (forthcoming 2010); ROBERT H. FRANK, LUXURY FEVER: MONEY AND HAPPINESS IN AN ERA OF EXCESS (2000); ROBERT H. FRANK, THE ECONOMIC NATURALIST (2007);;  Robert H. Frank, Why Living in Rich Society Makes Us Feel Poor, N.Y. Times Mag., Oct. 15, 2000, at sec. 6, p. 62 (Special Issue.  Spending, How Americans Part With Their Money). Cf. ARTHUR C. PIGOU, THE ECONOMICS OF WELFARE (1932) (Pigouvian Taxes); See Redefining Progress Projects: Genuine Progress Indicator,  See also Catherine Rampell, Alternatives to the G.D.P., NY TIMES, October 30, 2008,

                [30]  Winter v. Nat’l Res. Def. Council, 129 S. Ct. 365 (2008).

                [31]  See David Orr, Law of the Land, Orion 18, January/February 2004; Kari Volkmann-Carlsen, The Emancipated Earth, UTNE 74, May-June 2009; Mary O’Brien, Standing Up For This World, Orion 56, September/October 2004; Cormac Cullinan, If Nations Had Rights: What Would We Need to Give Up?, Orion 26, January/February 2008; Wild Law: Does Nature Have Rights?, The Ecologist, June 2007.

[32]  See, e.g., Endangered Species Act, 16 U.S.C. § 1531 et seq. (1973); National Environmental Policy Act, 42 U.S.C. § 4321 et seq. (1969); Clean Air Act, 42 U.S.C. § 7401 et seq. (1955); Clean Water Act, 33 U.S.C. § 1294 et seq. (1977); Resource Conservation and Recovery Act, 42 U.S.C. § 6901 (1976); N.A.F.T.A.’s (environmental provisions); (pollution trading laws); United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC), Kyoto Protocol, Dec. 11, 1997 (the United States has signed, but not yet ratified); Biodiversity Convention; (Int’l Envir. laws) (1992); David W. Orr, Law of the Land, Orion (2004), available at

[33] David Orr, Law of the Land, ORION 18, at 21-22 January/February 2004;

[34] Talk by William McDonough at Bioneers 2000, Designing the Next Industrial Revolution (Oct. 2000), available at

                [35] Bill McKibben, Planet Protectors, Orion 16, July/August 2007.  Brooke Williams from Moose, Wyoming wrote a letter to Orion quoting Studs Terkel: “Most people have work that is too small for their spirits.” Orion 13, July/August 2007.

                [36] See E.O. Wilson, Problems Without Borders, Vanity Fair 164, May 2007.

                [37] See David Abram, The Spell of the Sensuous (1996).

                [38] Derrick Jensen, Beyond Hope:  Removing a Major Stumbling Block to Acting on Behalf of the Earth, Orion 14, May/June 2006.

                [39] See Ross Robertson, A Brighter Shade of Green: Rebooting Environmentalism for the 21st Century, What is Enlightenment 42, October-December 2007; Robert Frenay, Pulse: The Coming Age of Systems and Machines Inspired by Living Things (2006).  See also Global Consultations: Toward a Strategic Framework on Climate Change and Development for the World Bank Group,,,c...

[40] Philip D. Curtin, Cross-Cultural Trade in World History (1984);; Jacque Barzun, From Dawn to Decadence, 500 Years of Western Cultural Life (2000); Hugh Thomas, The Slave Trade (1997).

[41] Jared Diamond, Guns, Germs, and Steel:  The Fates of Human Societies (1997); Jared Diamond, Collapse:  How Societies Choose to Fail or Succeed (2005); Jeffrey Sachs & John Gallup, Location, Location:  Geography and Economic Development, Harv. Int’l Rev., Winter 1998/1999.  A good deal of critical work on the formation of spatial geographics, focusing on the relationship between human agency, technological force, economic dynamics and the production of cultural spaces, has been undertaken by the emergent field of human geography.  For significant foundational statements, see David Harvey, The Condition of Postmodernity (1989); Soja,EDWARD W. SOJA, POSTMODERN GEOGRAPHIES:  THE REASSERTION OF SPACE IN CRITICAL SOCIAL THEORY (1989); and Derek Gregory, Ron Martin and Graham Smith, Human Geography:  Society, Space and Social Science (1994).

[42]  Jerry Mander, In the Absence of the Sacred: The Failure of Technology and the Survival of the Indian Nations (1991); Neil Postman, Staying Sane in a Technological Society: Six Questions in Search of An Answer, Lapis, Issue 7.  Technology, often, eclipses the law.  While last year we were debating how to include the Indigenous perspective into the frames of compensation for Indigenous knowledge, or whether royalties or monetary payments were even appropriate, this year we must acknowledge that computer anonymity and information sharing has surpassed even the colonizers= own language and TRIPS schemes.  Technology has now come to define dynamics of power between fast and slow societies.  See Jeremy Rifkin, Time Wars, (1987).

[43]  James Howard Kuntsler, The Geography of Nowhere (1993).  Compare Alan Thein Durning, The Car and the City, Nw. Envt. Watch, Apr. 1996.

[44]  Jerry Mander, Four Arguments for the Elimination of Television (1977-78).  In 1900, the word “television” was coined by Constantin Perskyi, a Russian scientist, at the Paris World’s Fair.  In 1948, television sales nearly quintupled in the United States after the 1947 Dodgers-Yankees World Series.  Of course, we could broaden the inquiry surrounding the television and computers to include the commercial interests of “media culture,” or “mass media,” and their effects on society.  See, e.g., Ben H. Bagdikian, The Media Monopoly (1983, revised through 2000).  See also Aletha C. Huston, et al., Big World, Small Screen: The Role of Television in American Society (1992).

[45]  Bill Joy, Why the Future Doesn=t Need Us, Wired, Apr. 2000 at           . 

[46] Conference, Cost-Benefit Analysis: Legal, Economic, and Philosophical Perspectives, 29 J. Legal Stud. 837-1177 (2000); Frank Ackerman & Lisa Heinzerling, Priceless:  On knowing the Price of Everything and the Value of Nothing (2004). 

[47] Ah, Wilderness!  See Sam Howe Verhovek, The Void Without The ‘Great Beyond’, N.Y. Times, Feb. 18, 2001, at sec. 4.  See also Herman Daly, The Illth of Nations and the Fecklessness of Policy:  An Ecological Economist’s Perspective, Post-Autistic Econ. Rev., Nov. 24, 2003, available at  How nature is and has been valuated, can also be found in the esteemed writings of the geographer David Harvey, David Harvey, Justice, Nature, and the Geography of Distance (1996).

[48] Edward O. Wilson, Is Humanity Suicidal?, N.Y. Times Mag., May 30, 1993 at 6.  See also Paul Sheppard, Nature and Madness (Univ. Georgia Press 1982).  Jean Baudrillard’s later work, such as America (1989) and Illusion of the End (1995), carries his post-Marxist critique finally to a nihilistic conclusion, suggesting not only that contemporary society has erased time and history, but that humanity itself, as a concept, is suicidal.  The emerging field of ecopsychology—and Glenn Albrecht in particular—uses the phrase “solastalgia” to describe a hitherto unrecognized psychological condition, pain experienced when one recognizes that the place one loves and resides is under assault.  See Daniel B. Smith, “Is There an Ecological Unconscious?”, N.Y. Times Mag., January 31, 2010.  See also Theodore Roszak, The Voice of the Earth (1992); American Psychological Association, Psychology and Global Climate Change: Addressing a Multifaceted Phenomenon and Set of Challenges (2009), available at; Gregory Bateson, Steps to an Ecology of Mind (1972).

[49]  See Lawrence Busch, The Eclipse of Morality: Science, State, and Market (2008);Jerry Mander, Technologies of Globalization, in The Case Against the Global Economy at 344-359 (Jerry Mander & Edward Goldsmith eds., 1996).  For example, nuclear power came without a debate as to its financial, military, and environmental consequences.  Obviously, the automobile represented freedom from having manure in the streets and independence.  But did we conduct a systematic analysis of whether we wanted the creation of cement cities, cancer-causing air pollution, solid waste problems, rapid depletion of the world’s resources, paving of the landscape deep into the wilderness, manufacturing by a small number of companies wielding gigantic power, a change in the method of making goods to mass production, the assembly line, worker alienation, alcoholism, corporations conspiring to restrain alternative transportations, wars over oil supplies, the corruptness of the elite in OPEC countries, and then the separateness of being alone in an automobile.  What about television?  Bill McDonough asks why are we selling people hazardous waste?:

If I had a TV hiding behind this podium and I told you I had an amazing object that provides incredible service, but before I tell you what it does, let me tell you what it is and then you tell me whether you want this in your house:  It has 10,360 chemicals, it’s full of toxic heavy metals, has an explosive glass tube and we think you put it at eye-level with your children and encourage them to play with it.  Do you want this in your house?


Designing the Next Industrial Revolution: A talk by William McDonough at Bioneers 2000, available at


Computers may be the single most important instrument for the acceleration of the centralization and simultaneous decentralization of power.  They are also changing the world in ways imaginable but not necessarily manageable.  See Nicholas Carr, Is Google Making Us Stupid?, The Atlantic 56, July/August 2008.  See also Andrew Kimbrell, Technology, Who Chooses?, YES! A J. of Positive Futures 12, Fall 2001; Janine Benyus, Mother Nature’s School of Design, id. at 16; Richard Sclove, Reclaiming Choice, id. at 22; Jerry Mander, Unplug Your Brain, id. at 26.  Prior to its pervasive introduction to society, had we debated nanotechnology, biotechnology, cell phone toxicity, brain fingerprinting/cognitive profiling with functional magnetic resonance imaging?  For a century-old account on technology’s relationship to human activity, see H.G. Wells, Anticipations of the Reaction of Mechanical and Scientific Progress Upon Human Life and Thought (1902).  It seems that consumers will buy technology products before their utility is clear.  See Rob Walker, Dumb and Dumber 2.0, NY Times Mag., January 28, 2009, at p. 16 (speaking about Amar Bhide’s recent book, “The Venturesome Economy”).  See also Anand Giridharadas, A Pocket-Size Leveler in an Outsize Land, NY Times, May 10, 2009.

                [50] The False Promise of Biofuels, Special Report from International Forum on Globalization and the Institute for Policy Studies, by Jack Santa Barbara, September 2007.

                [51]  Lee M. Silver, Remaking Eden:  How Genetic Engineering and Cloning Will Transform the American Family (1998); Gary Rosen, What Would a Clone Say?: A Humanist Case Against Therapeutic Cloning, NY Times Mag., November 27, 2005; Brian Alexander, Free to Clone: Does the First Amendment Protect Scientific Research?, NY Times Mag., September 26, 2004.

                [52]  Lee Gutkind, Almost Human: Making Robots Think (2007).

                [53]  See Naomi Klein, China’s All-Seeing Eye, Rolling Stone, May 29, 2008, at p. 59; David Shenk, The World of High Tech Surveillance, Nat’l Geographic, November, 2003, at p. 2; Damon Darlin, Software That Monitors Your Work, Wherever You Are, NY Times, April 12, 2009, at Sec. BU, p. 4; The Unblinking Eye, Wired 50, November 2008.

                [54]; Michael Spector, A Life of Its Own: Where Will a Synthetic Biology Lead Us?, The New Yorker, Sptember 28, 2009, available at;;; BioFab Group, Engineering Life: Building a FAB for Biology, Scientific American 44, June 2006; Oliver Morton, Biology’s Near Forbidden Fruit, NY Times, February 11, 2005,; Oliver Morton, Life, Reinvented, Wired 169, January 2005.

                [55]  See, e.g., The Problems of Geo-Engineering: Every Silver Lining has a Cloud, Economist, January 29, 2009, available at; Alan Robock, 20 Reasons Why Geoengineering May Be a Bad Idea, Bulletin Atomic Sci. 14 (May/June 2008); Shading the Earth, Nat’l Geographic 24, August 2009; William Langewiesche, Stealing Weather, Vanity Fair 192, May 2008; Sharon Begley, The ‘Geo-Engineering’ Scenario, Newsweek, Nov. 23, 2007, available at; William J. Broad, How to Cool a Planet (Maybe), N.Y. Times, June 27, 2006, available at (using geo-engineering to fight global warming).

                [56] Jordon Pollack, Ethics for the Robot Age, Wired 91, January 2005 (Should robots carry weapons?  Should we feed them?); David Levy, Love and Sex with Robots: The Evolution of Human Robot Relationships (2007); P.W. Singer, Robots at War: The New Battlefield, Wilson Quarterly, Winter, 2009 at p. 30; Steve Featherstone, The Coming Robot Army: Introducing America’s Future Fighting Machines, Harper’s Mag., February 2007; Robert S. Boyd, Pentagon Exploring Robot Killers That Can Fire On Their Own, available at

                [57]  Carole Bass, Nanotech: Why Something So Small Can Be So Dangerous, June 23, 2008,; Special Report: Nanotechnology, The Ecologist, May 2003.

                [58]  Steven Pinker, My Genome, My Self, NY Times Mag., January 11, 2009, at p. 24.

                [60]  Carl Elliot, Humanity 2.0, The Wilson Quarterly 13, Autumn 2003; N. Katherine Hayles, How we Became Posthuman: Virtual Bodies in Cybernetics, Literature, and Informatics, excerpt at Bailey, Liberation Biology (2006); Transhumanism,; Mind Uploading,; Image: Posthuman Future,; Donna Haraway, “A Cyborg Manifesto: Science, Technology, and Socialist-Feminism in the Late Twentieth Century,” in Simians, Cyborgs and Women: The Reinvention of Women (1991).

[61]  David Smith, 2050 - And Immortality Is Within Our Grasp,,6903,1489635,00.html

[62]  Neil Postman, Staying Sane in a Technological Society, Lapis Magazine, Apr. 27, 2007, available at   See also Technology, Who Chooses? Utre Reader, Fall 2001.

[63]  Columbus’ request for financing to sail to the New World was referred by the monarchs to the scholars at Salamanca in order to debate the significance and potential success of the prospective voyage.

[64]   Corporations increasingly sponsor scientific research.  See Philip Mirowski & Robert Van Horn, The Contract Research Organization and the Commercialization of Scientific Research, 35 Soc. Studies of Sci. 503 (2005).  The military also provides funding.  See Joseph Alpher, From the Bioweapons Trenches, New Tools for Battling Microbes, 284 Science 1754 (1999).  Debates regarding technological innovations are now generally outside of power politics, in alternative forums, such as the International Forum on Globalization, Foundation on Economic Trends, The International Center for Technology Assessment, etc.  See e.g., Nancy D. Campbell, Suspect Technologies: Scrutinizing the Intersection of Science, Technology, and Policy, 30 Sci., Tech., & Human Values 374 (2005); Hildy Teegen, et al., The Importance of Nongovernmental Organizations (NGOs) in Global Governance and Value Creation: An International Business Research Agenda, 35 J. Int’l. Bus. Studies 463 (2004).  See also Lee M. Silver, Challenging Nature: The Clash of Science and Spirituality at the New Frontiers of Life (2006); David Rejeski, A Very, Very Small Opportunity: How Science and Security Can Avoid a Collision Over Nanotechnology, Orion 11, July/August 2007; Institute for Ethics and Emerging Technologies (IEET) (; Jacques Ellul Society,; Jacques Ellul, The Technological Society (1964); International Center for Technology Assessment (; Foresight and Governance Project (Woodrow Wilson Center) (; Association of Professional Futurists (; GeneWatch (; Foresight Institute (; Clock of the Long Now (  I do not see any major comings together of governmental and scientific communities to debate whether something should be prevented from exploration other than, perhaps, human cloning or stem cell research.  I think this is really more of a parochial or religious issue in the United States than it is one involving the consequences of genetic manipulation of naturally occurring systems of life.  I leave the question of just what is “natural” for another time.

[65]  Special Report, Nanotechnology, The Ecologist, May 2003.

[66]  See, e.g., [Nanotech, Robotic, Genetic Research]; John Gantner, Nanotech:  Up and Atom, Alternet, (Sept. 8, 2004),; Michael Crichton, Prey (2003); Kenneth Chang, Not Scientific Fiction: An Elevator to Space, N.Y. Times, Sept. 23, 2003, at D1, D4. [Synthetic Biology] [Oliver Norton, Life, Reinvented, Wired Magazine, 01/2005, p. 169; Oliver Morton, Biology’s New Forbidden Fruit,; Bio Fab group, Engineering Life: Building a FAB for Biology, Sci. Am., June 2006, at 44.

[67]  Proponents of knowledge-based wealth celebrate technology’s gains and foresee a richer world.  See Alvin Toffler & Heidi Toffler, Revolutionary Wealth (Alfred A. Knopf 2006).  Laws may encourage the development of new technologies, as well.  For example, patents enjoy limited immunity from antitrust laws.  See, e.g., Herbert Hovenkamp, et al., IP and Antitrust (2002).  One field vigorously exploring such questions, albeit through fictional forms, is the recently developed genre of cyberpunk literature.  As the generally recognized foundation text, see Williams Gibson, Neuromancer (Remembering Tomorrow) (1984).  As precursors, see Vernor Vinge, True Names (1981); John Shirley, City Come A-Walkin’ (1980); and the novels of Philip K. Dick.  The field has since become heavily populated with authors and titles.  As a genre, it is often credited with predicting many technological innovations and cultural conditions that followed after the fictional speculations.  (“Cyberspace”, for example, was coined by Gibson in Neuromancer.)

[68]  Wired, April, 2000.  Accord, An Interview with Bill Joy, Wild Duck Rev. 36, Winter 2000.  See also Barry Commoner, Unraveling the DNA Myth:  The Spurius Foundation of Genetic Engineering, Harper’s Mag. 39, Feb. 2002.

                [69] How and when should judges make Aprofoundly normative judgments about the social allocation of risk and who should bear the burden of scientific uncertainty or controversy. . . .@  Lucinda M. Finley, Guarding the Gate to the Courthouse: How Trial Judges Are Using Their Evidentiary Screening Role to Remake Tort Causation Rules, 49 DePaul L. Rev. 335-336 (1999).

                [70]  Timothy Ferris, The Science of Liberty: Democracy, Reason, and the Laws of Nature (2010); Brian Alexander, Free to Clone:  Does the First Amendment Protect Scientific Research?  If so, the debate over cloning will have to begin all over again, N.Y. Times Mag., Sept. 26, 2004 at sec. 6, p. 26.  The following articles all discuss the implications of the First Amendment on the right to conduct scientific research.  They are available on Hein Online,  John Robertson, The Scientist’s Right to Research:  A Constitutional Analysis, 51 S. Cal. L. Rev. 1203 (1977); James Ferguson, Scientific Inquiry and the First Amendment, 64 Cornell L. Rev. 639 (1979); Robert O’Neil, Scientific Research and the First Amendment:  An Academic Privilege, 16 U.C. Davis L. Rev. 837 (1983); James Ferguson, Scientific and Technological Expression:  A Problem in First Amendment Theory, 16 Harv. C.R.-C.L. L. Rev. 519 (1981); Richard Delgado and David Millen, God, Galileo and Government:  Toward Constitutional Protection for Scientific Inquiry, 53 Wash. L. Rev. 349 (1978); Steven Goldberg, The Constitutional Status of American Science, 1979 U. Ill. L. Rev. 1; Michael Davidson, First Amendment Protection for Biomedical Research Note, 19 Ariz. L. Rev. 893 (1977) (discussing scientific research as a protected First Amendment right and the government must show compelling interest in order to establish policies and regulations that abridge that right); Elizabeth Price Foley, The Constitutional Implications of Human Cloning, 42 Ariz. L. Rev. 647 (2000); Comment, Considerations in the Regulation of Biological Research, 126 U. Pa. L. Rev. 1420 (1978).  More recent articles that are available on Westlaw and Lexis are:  Gary L. Francione, Experimentation and the Marketplace Theory of the First Amendment, 136 U. Pa. L. Rev. 417 (1987); Peter M. Brody , The First Amendment, Government Censorship and Sponsored Research, 19 J. College & Univ. L. 199 (1993); and Roy G. Spece, Jr. and Jennifer Weinzierl, First Amendment Protection of Experimentation:  A Critical Review and Tentative Synthesis/Reconstruction of the Literature, 8 S. Cal. Interdisc. L.J. 185 (1998).  See also Sweezy v. New Hampshire, 354 U.S. 234, 262-63 (1957) (Frankfurter, J., concurring:  “Freedom to reason and freedom for disputation on the basis of observation and experiment are the necessary conditions for the advancement of scientific knowledge”); Ira H. Carmen, Cloning and the Constitution:  An Inquiry into Governmental Policy Making and Genetic Experimentation, U. Wis. Press (1985), reviewed by Barry J. Swanson, 84 Mich. L. Rev. 658 (1986); Nathan A. Adams, Creating Clones, Kids & Chimera:  Liberal Democratic Compromise at the Crossroads, 20 Issues L. & Med. 3 (2004).  But see Gary Rosen, What Would a Clone Say?  A Humanist Case Against Therapeutic Cloning, N.Y. Times Magazine, Nov. 27, 2005 at 19.  See also Michel Houellebecq, The Elementary Particles (Vintage Books 2000).
                Could artificial intelligence become a legal person?  Lawrence B. Solum, Legal Personhood for Artificial Intelligences, 70 N.C. L. Rev. 1231 (1992); Frank Pasquale, Two Concepts of Immortality:  Reframing Public Debate on Stem-Cell Research, 14 Yale J.L. & Human. 73 (2002).  See also robots.html (informative website with links to AI-related articles, facts and sources).  See Ellen Ullman, Programming the Post-Human:  Computer Science Redefines ‘Life,’ Harper’s Magazine, Oct. 2002, at 60; Ray Kurzweil, The Singularity is Near:  When Humans Transcend Reality (2006); William Sims Bainbridge, Cyberimmortality: Science, Religion and the Battle to Save Our Souls, The Futurist, Mar.-Apr. 2006 ; Ray Kurzweil, Reinventing Humanity:  The Future of Machine-Human Intelligence, The Futurist, Mar.-Apr. 2006; John Markoff, The Coming Superbrain, NY Times, May 24, 2009; The Conscience of the Machine, Philosophy Now, March/April 2009.

Should machines be awarded patents?  If a computer-generated work is copyrightable, who is the author?  Arthur R. Miller, Copyright Protection for Computer Programs, Databases and Computer-Generated Work:  Is Anything New Since Contu, 106 Harv. L. Rev. 977 (1993).  See also The Gentle Rise of the Machines, The Economist, March 11, 2004; Mark Peplow, Introducing the Robo-Scientist -- Could Robots Take Over From Graduate Students in the Lab?, available at  For an article on the current fad of robot toys, see  Jordan Pollack, in Ethics for the Robot Age, Wired, Jan. 2005, at 71, asks:  “1. Should robots be humanoid?”  “2. Should humans become robots?”  “3. Should robots excrete byproducts?”  “4. Should robots eat?”  “5. Should telerobotic labor be regulated?”  “6. Should robots carry weapons?”  “7. Should machines be awarded patents?”  A timely and critical piece of writing is P. W. Singer, Robots At War: The New Battlefield, The Wilson Quarterly, Winter 2009, at p. 30.  See also Steve Featherstone, The Coming Robot Army, Harper’s Mag., February 2007.  I ask you:  Are these questions being discussed in law and business school?  Cf. Ryan Calo, A Short Tour of Robot Case Law,

University and federal scientists have just reconstructed the 1918 influenza virus that killed fifty million people worldwide.  The United States Department of Health and Human Services published the full genome of this virus on the Internet in the GenBank database.  It is argued that to disseminate the genome -- as such a weapon of mass destruction  -- was “extremely foolish”.  See Ray Kurzweil and Bill Joy, Recipe for Destruction, N.Y. Times, Oct. 17, 2005.  The authors press for international argreements to limit such publications.  How odd it was to read of this resurrection of a near-century-old virus and the ethical debate surrounding the human passion for research after just studying H. G. Wells’ telescopic prognostications, written in 1901, of the attributes of the future ethical men of science and industry in the 20th Century.  H. G. Wells, Anticipations of the Reactions of Mechanical and Scientific Progress Upon Human Life and Thought (Harper & Bros. 1902).  He also said that the “twenty-three million” people who died of the influenza would probably have died soon, anyway, for they were “old people, weak people, feeble children who had to die somehow.”  H. G. Wells, The Conquest of Time (Watts & Co. 1942).

                [71] See generally Satish Kumar, Spiritual Compass: The Three Qualities of Life (2007); Satish Kumar, No Destination: An Autobiography (2004).  I am excited to have all my Globalization students purchase the Life Expectancy Watch, a time monitoring apparatus for monitoring and displaying an approximate time remaining in a lifespan of an individual.  See

                [72] Henry Steck, Corporatization of the University: Seeking Conceptual Clarity, 585 Annals Am. Acad. Pol. & Soc. Sci. 66, 68 (2003); Jeremy Rifkin, Time Wars: The Primary Conflict in Human History (1987).  Who controls the definition of time is often contentious.  See Michelle Stacy, Clash of the Time Lords: Who Will Own the Measure of Our Days?, Harper’s Magazine 46, December 2006; Mecca Time, PRI’s The World, also (Take Back Your Time campaign); Foundation for the Law of Time,; The LongNow Foundation,

                [73] Tom Robbins, Half Asleep in Frog Pajamas 283 (1994).

                [74] I, of course, can appear to be cynical and envision a 15th Century stock market that speculates on whether the trees will be tall enough to harvest in 10, 20 or 30 years; but, I wouldn’t be cynical, because I can now invest in the weather forecasts to purchase snow insurance.  Allweather Insurance Agency, (last visited April 7, 2009).  See also Carl Ludwig Holtfrerich & Friedrich Von Metzler, Frankfurt as a Financial Center: From Financial Trade Fair to European Banking Centre 77 (1999).

                [75] The Precautionary Principle, from the German word Vorsorge -- “forcaring” -- that “[w]hen an activity raises threats of harm to human health or the environment, precautionary measures should be taken even if some cause-and-effect relationships are not fully established,” has found its way significantly into the literature.  Carolyn Raffensperger, Precaution and Security: The Labyrinthic Challenge, Whole Earth, Fall 2002, at 34, 35.  See Joel Tickner, Carolyn Raffensperger & Nancy Myers, The Precautionary Principle: A Handbook (1998); Cass R. Sunstein, Laws of Fear: Beyond the Precautionary Principle (2005); Nancy Myers & Carolyn Raffensperger, Precaution Primer, Yes! Mag., Fall 2001, at 43; Gary E. Merchant, From General Policy to Legal Rule: Aspirations and Limitations of the Precautionary Principle,111 Envtl. Health Persp. 1799 (2003).  See also Samuel Lowenberg, Precaution is for Europeans, N.Y. Times,  May 18, 2003, at OP-ED14; Science and Environmental Health Network,;; Institute of Science in Society,; Commission of the European Communities, Communication from the Commission on Precautionary Principle,; Center for Responsible Nanotechnology,

      Just who are the watchdogs with foresight?

      See generally International Center for Technology Assessment,; Association of Professional Futurists,; Woodrow Wilson International Center for Scholars: Foresight and Governance Project,; Foresight International,; World Futures Studies Federation,; Institute for Alternative Futures,; Global Earth Observation System of Systems,

      Industry:  Shaping Tomorrow…Anticipate the Future,; The Herman Group: Management Consultants, Speakers, Futurists,; Acceleration Watch,; (email forum).  See also Asilomar Conference on Recombinant DNA (1975).

      Articles: Tom Lombardo, Thinking Ahead: The Value of Future Consciousness, The Futurist, Jan.-Feb. 2006; J. Clarence Davies, Managing the Effects of Nanotechnology, Project on Emerging Nanotechnologies, available at; Jonathan C. Peck, The 2029 Project: Achieving an Ethical Future in Biomed Research and Development, Institute for Alternative Futures, available at; Richard A. Slaughter, Futures Studies as a Civilizational Catalyst, Futures, Apr. 2002; Jerome C. Glenn & Theodore J. Gordon, Update on the State of the Future:  Environmental Sustainability, Global Partnerships Against Terror, Technology, and Drug Availability Figure in Humanity’s Future, The Futurist, Jan. 2006;

See generally Appendix: Websites for Technology & the Internet.

                [76] See FRANK ACKERMAN & LISA HEINZERLING, PRICELESS: ON KNOWING THE PRICE OF EVERYTHING AND THE VALUE OF NOTHING (2004); Jay Griffiths, Artifice v. Pastoral: The World of Fakery And Its War On All Things Natural, ORION 20, March/April 2009; Curtis White, The Barbaric Heart, ORION 30, May/June 2009; Richard Revesz, Environmental Regulation, Cost-Benefit Analysis, and the Discounting of Human Lives, 99 COLUM. L. REV. 941 (1999); Mari Matsuda, On Causation, 100 COLUM. L. REV. 2195 (2000); Martha C. Nussbaum, The Costs of Tragedy:  Some Moral Limits of Cost-Benefit Analysis, 29 J. LEGAL STUDIES 1005 (2000); John Tierney, Life:  The Cost-Benefit Analysis, N.Y. TIMES, May 18, 2003, at sec. 4, p. 14; Jim Holt, The Human Factor:  Should The Government Put a Price on Your Life?, N.Y. TIMES MAG., Mar. 28, 2004, at sec. 6, p. 13.

                [77]See generally Conserve Communities & Solutions; See Appendix: Course Syllabus. I have often thought about extending the class into a second semester which would consist entirely of good news and Roy Rogers’ and Dale Evans’ renditions of “Happy Trails to You.”  I am hoping my colleague, Professor Marc Miller, continues his fine course, Sustainability and Environmental Policy, which he added to our law school curricula in recent years.