Chris Wood: How to respond when a world is at stake?

Writes Chris Wood: “We heard this week that a few members of a previously ‘un-contacted’ tribe in Brazil, provoked by the appearance of outside prospectors in their roadless territory, had emerged from the jungle. The event prompted hand-wringing in ethno-cultural circles over how to preserve the tribe’s existence once they and the global economy had encountered each other …”

How do we even start to consider such a problem? Wood has a solution. An excerpt of this week’s Natural Security column, Triage: learning to say goodbye:

Triage Wounded Triage France, WWI. Otis Historical Archives Nat'l Museum of Health & Medicine  Creative Commons licence
Triage Wounded Triage France, WWI. Photo: Otis Historical Archives, United States National Museum of Health & Medicine Creative Commons 

I shared breakfast recently with a bunch of other guys over 60. With the disinterest of age they surveyed the state of the planet and to a man expressed relief that they were no longer 20. The proverbial yearning of the old for a second crack at youth evaporates pretty fast when the future looks thoroughly screwed. 

The very bleakness of our outlook may partly explain our political inability to deal with known threats to our biological security — otherwise perplexing for an advanced society. We look into an abyss, or admit for a moment the overwhelming totality of the wicked problems descending on us, and mentally throw up our hands. Easier to surrender to endemic short-term greed –always a default setting anyway –and party ‘til the end of the world.

But in fact we do have a tool to deal with circumstances just like these. We’ve had it for 200 years. Today, therefore, I offer a modest proposal for saving what we can from the ecological, and resulting social and economic, wreckage of our own making.

The tool was developed by a French doctor in the armies of Napoleon Bonaparte …. read more (subscription required*)

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Triage: learning to say goodbye

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