Letter: Ideas cost the Earth (2)

March 9, 2001

Fred Pearce's attack on Vandana Shiva is an instructive example of how environmentalism without a recognition of the intrinsic value of nature is vulnerable to the self-serving ideology of utilitarian science and business, to the point where it can become the enemy of both nature and humanity alike.

Humanity has already appropriated nearly half of the planet's photosynthetic energy, and is conducting a mass extinction of perhaps half the world's other species within the next few decades. Pearce's and Norman Moss's "solutions" would only lock us more firmly into the global system that is driving this disastrous process.

As for using human overpopulation to justify further industrial intensification of agriculture, including bioengineering, do they really think this can continue forever? If not, the only question is not whether to try to reduce our numbers, but how: through relatively benign and voluntary measures or collapse?

In the not-so-long run, the only compassionate alternative is a gradual and humane downsizing to a truly sustainable steady-state of the kind envisaged by Shiva. "Sustainable growth" and "scientific management" are oxymoronic illusions that are costing us - and many, many others - the earth.

Patrick Curry
London W14

You've reached your article limit.

Register to continue

Registration is free and only takes a moment. Once registered you can read a total of 3 articles each month, plus:

  • Sign up for the editor's highlights
  • Receive World University Rankings news first
  • Get job alerts, shortlist jobs and save job searches
  • Participate in reader discussions and post comments

Have your say

Log in or register to post comments

Most Commented

James Fryer illustration (27 July 2017)

It is not Luddism to be cautious about destroying an academic publishing industry that has served us well, says Marilyn Deegan

Jeffrey Beall, associate professor and librarian at the University of Colorado Denver

Creator of controversial predatory journals blacklist says some peers are failing to warn of dangers of disreputable publishers

Hand squeezing stress ball
Working 55 hours per week, the loss of research periods, slashed pensions, increased bureaucracy, tiny budgets and declining standards have finally forced Michael Edwards out
Kayaker and jet skiiers

Nazima Kadir’s social circle reveals a range of alternative careers for would-be scholars, and often with better rewards than academia

hole in ground

‘Drastic action’ required to fix multibillion-pound shortfall in Universities Superannuation Scheme, expert warns