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"Environmentalist"



For those who will inherit the Earth


Imagine a species that survives the current cycle of extinctions and proceeds in evolution to again develop a sophisticated material culture.

Imagine a material culture "sophisticated" enough to endanger the ecosphere of the planet — as is that of homo sapiens.

How can we tell them what we did? How can we leave a warning about what happened — some hint of caution about what may happen, generally, as culture approaches maturity?

If we could leave a warning, we might be able to help prevent in the deep future the kinds of destruction now wreaked upon the land, the water, the air, the snow and ice.

The meerkats are a "thinkable" example. They are quasi-bipedal, freeing their potential hands for tool development. And they're lovely animals, making their prosperity fun to imagine. But, really, any little old rat will do. We can hope that our self-annihilation is going to leave more on the Earth than that bastard cockroach.

But, after we've assumed a kind of similarity with our physique, let us not assume any specific format of language or abstract comprehension. Let's assume only a variety of intelligence. (Maybe some day the Earth will evolve a dominant life-form that can do better than "intelligence," for all it's apparently worth. But for now, let's assume intelligence.)

Here's the quandary, then — in logical terms: how can homo sapiens warn an advanced future species in an unspecified deep future about the dangers of ecological damage — and in a way that they would be most likely to get the message?

We'd have to present our information in the most comprehensible manner, assuming no particular system of thinking.

But, just as important, we would need to protect this communication from destruction by present-day or near-future zealots — business, government, and religious partisans who would not enjoy the implication that their "conservatism," their habitualism, is leading toward the destruction of Earth ecosystems.

Maybe we could write it on the Moon.


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