Sunday, March 6, 2011

Do we Own Nature?

How happy are you with the human story and its relationship with the environment?

Carl Safina’s new book The View From Lazy Point contains a fountain of environmental wisdom on the natural world and all that affects it, including human behavior, economics, religion, and science. An ecologist who wrote the sea conservation classic Song for the Blue Ocean, Safina has been named by the Audubon Society as one of the leading conservationists of the era, and profiled by Bill Moyers and The New York Times.

A promo of the book reads, 'Beginning in his kayak in his home waters of eastern Long Island, Carl Safina's The View from Lazy Point takes us through the four seasons to the four points of the compass, from the high Arctic south to Antarctica, across the warm belly of the tropics from the Caribbean to the west Pacific, then home again.'

On the “property rights” movement Safina writes,

'One can fully own a manufactured thing—a toaster, say, or a pair of shoes. But in what reasonable sense can one fully “own” and have “rights” to do what ever we want to land, water, air, and forests that are among the most valuable assets in humanity’s basic endowments? To say, in the march of eons, that we own these things into which we suddenly, fleetingly appear and from which we will soon vanish is like a newborn laying claim to the maternity ward, or a candle asserting ownership of the cake; we might as well declare that, having been handed a ticket to ride, we’ve bought the train...'

It's too bad that nature has been relegated to the peripheral areas of our existence like a display window in the local shopping mall. Many want it to look perfect and suitable to our discriminating tastes and values.