We Killed Democracy

When there are two sides to an argument it’s easy to see the opposing views as the enemy. I think a dominant example of this in Americans lives is the political debate between republicans and democrats. It’s not to hard to believe that if someone disagrees with you then they are fighting against you, but really in an argument we are on the same side and want the same things but just have different thoughts on what it looks like and how to get there. Both political party’s want the best for the citizens of the United States, just like both the “Gaian” and “Promethean” perspectives want the best possible outcome for the future. In Geoengineering and Sustainability Thiele works to show us this middle ground so that we can try and work together to create the best outcome for our dangerous and daunting future.

In order to better understand this middle ground between two philosophy’s we must first understand what the problem at hand is: how to best use geoengineering to solve climate change. Geoengineering is a study of science where humans implicant large scale ideas in order to alter earth. While this sounds like a promising way to solve all our conflicts we are then faced with the fundamental problem: are we even allowed to do this? Id like to think that if we change the whole world that we would need the whole world to vote on it, and yet there is no democracy for wild animals. The fish had no say in whether or not their waters become polluted, and they will have no say on the way we decide to “fix” their water.

When approaching the problem of geoengineering we learn there are two polar perspectives, the Gaian and Promethean. Gaian has its historical origins from mother nature and the balance of the earth, while Promethean is rooted in the power of humans to innovate and create. The Gaian way of thinking believes that to alter the world like we have (climate change) is throwing off the natural balance of the world which was set up to be its own pulsing heart created from all of nature living together. While the Promethean believe that through our intervention we can save life and make the world better then it was ever intended to be. Create a perfect future molded into an artificial balance of a well oiled machine.

While it may be easy to say that they are completely different ideologies Thiele shows that in the end both are working towards one goal. The end goal of sustainability. All humans want earth to live forever, we just have different views on how we can get there. Gaians may want to rip down cities and return to monkey while Prometheans might chop down every tree to create artificial infinite carbon sinks. In both futures we chose sustainability so maybe through compromise we can come up with less extreme options where we work as a team to prolong our planet.

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