We need a change in consciousness to go with this technology platform. We need a new narrative: we need to shift from geopolitics to biosphere consciousness in one generation. The biosphere is understood here as what goes from the biosphere to the depths of the ocean 40 miles where all living beings interact with all chemicals to create a very complex choreography that we call "life on earth". That is biosphere that is our indivisible community.
Nothing is more important to human beings than an ecologically functioning, life sustaining biosphere on the earth. It is the only habitable place we know of in a forbidding universe. We all depend on it to live and we are compelled to share it; it is our only home... the earth's biosphere seems almost magically suited to human beings and indeed it is, for we evolved through eons of intimate immersion within it. We cannot live long or well without a functioning biosphere, and so it is worth everything we have.
The radiations that pour upon the earth cause the biosphere to take on properties unknown to lifeless planetary surfaces, and thus transform the face of the earth. Activated by radiation, the matter of the biosphere collects and redistributes solar energy, and converts it ultimately into free energy capable of doing work on earth.
In a sense, the Earth is mounting an immune response against the human species. It is beginning to react to the human parasite, the flooding infection of people, the dead spots of the concrete all over the planet, the cancerous rot-outs in Europe, Japan and the United States, thick with replicating primates, the colonies enlarging and spreading and threatening to shock the biosphere with mass extinctions. Perhaps the biosphere does not 'like' the idea of five billion humans.
Evolution in the biosphere is therefore a necessarily irreversible process defining a direction in time; a direction which is the same as that enjoined by the law of increasing entropy, that is to say, the second law of thermodynamics. This is far more than a mere comparison: the second law is founded upon considerations identical to those which establish the irreversibility of evolution. Indeed, it is legitimate to view the irreversibility of evolution as an expression of the second law in the biosphere.
There are some things in the world we can't change- gravity, entropy, the speed of light, and our biological nature that requires clean air, clean water, clean soil, clean energy and biodiversity for our health and well-being. Protecting the biosphere should be our highest priority or else we sicken and die. Other things, like capitalism, free enterprise, the economy, currency, the market, are not forces of nature, we invented them. They are not immutable and we can change them. It makes no sense to elevate economics above the biosphere.
Plants with leaves no more efficient than today's solar cells could out-compete real plants, crowding the biosphere with an inedible foliage. Tough omnivorous bacteria could out-compete real bacteria: They could spread like blowing pollen, replicate swiftly, and reduce the biosphere to dust in a matter of days. Dangerous replicators could easily be too tough, small, and rapidly spreading to stop - at least if we make no preparation. We have trouble enough controlling viruses and fruit flies.
K. Eric Drexler
The beauty in the genome is of course that it's so small. The human genome is only on the order of a gigabyte of data... which is a tiny little database. If you take the entire living biosphere, that's the assemblage of 20 million species or so that constitute all the living creatures on the planet, and you have a genome for every species the total is still about one petabyte, that's a million gigabytes - that's still very small compared with Google or the Wikipedia and it's a database that you can easily put in a small room, easily transmit from one place to another. And somehow mother nature manages to create this incredible biosphere, to create this incredibly rich environment of animals and plants with this amazingly small amount of data.
I remember very vividly, as a child growing up in England, living through the Cuban Missile Crisis. For a few days, the entire biosphere seemed to be on the verge of destruction. And the same weapons are still here, and they're still armed. If we avoid that trap, others are waiting for us.
Development requires modification and transformation of the environment... the planet's capacity to support its people us being irreversibly reduced by the destruction and degradation of the biosphere and the need to understand the problem and take corrective action is becoming urgent.
What makes the IoT a disruptive technology in the way we organize economic life is that it helps humanity reintegrate itself into the complex choreography of the biosphere, and by doing so, dramatically increases productivity without compromising the ecological relationships that govern the planet.
Humans are remarkable: the first species in almost four billion years of life on earth that dominates the biosphere. This gives us the power, in principle, to build societies in which everyone flourishes. But it also creates great dangers because it is not clear that we really understand how to use our potentially devastating powers.
The grand design of nature perceived broadly in four dimensions, including the forces that move the universe and created man, with special focus on evolution in our own biosphere, is something intrinsically good that it is right to preserve and enhance, and wrong to destroy and degrade.
Roger Wolcott Sperry
Using less of the Earth's resources more efficiently and productively in a circular economy and making the transition from carbon-based fuels to renewable energies are defining features of the emerging economic paradigm. In the new era, we each become a node in the nervous system of the biosphere.
Yet what is more awesome: to believe that God created everything in six days, or to believe that the biosphere came into being on its own, with no creator, and partially lawlessly? I find the latter proposition so stunning, so worthy of awe and respect, that I am happy to accept this natural creativity in the universe as a reinvention of 'God.'
Looking outward to the blackness of space, sprinkled with the glory of a universe of lights, I saw majesty-but no welcome. Below was a welcoming planet. There, contained in the thin, moving, incredibly fragile shell of the biosphere is everything that is dear to you, all the human drama and comedy. That's where life is; that's were all the good stuff is.
The ability of human beings to be creative depends fundamentally on the health and well-being of our biosphere, the few kilometres of air, water, and soil that surround our planet like the skin of an apple. Quite simply, they are the physical and spiritual bases of our lives, and the only source of materials and tools...
The prospect of a world that contains neither humans nor Z's is not so terrifying. Nature will take its world back. Animals will frolic and fight. There will be no lord of the manor, which is not such a bad thing, because it seems to me that people have done a pretty poor job of guiding the biosphere for the last few thousand years.
Like most problems with technology, pollution is a problem of scale. The biosphere might have been able to tolerate our dirty old friends coal and oil if we burned them gradually, but how long can it withstand a blaze of consumption so frenzied that the dark size of this planet glows like a fanned ember in the night of space.
By enriching the carbon-dioxide content of the atmosphere from its impoverished pre-industrial levels, human beings have increased the productivity of the entire biosphere - so much so that roughly one out of every seven living things on the planet owes its existence to the marvelous improvement in nature that humans have effected.
The underlying reason for convergence seems to be that all organisms are under constant scrutiny of natural selection and are also subject to the constraints of the physical and chemical factors that severely limit the action of all inhabitants of the biosphere. Put simply, convergence shows that in a real world not all things are possible.
Simon Conway Morris
When some portion of the biosphere is rather unpopular with the human race-a crocodile, a dandelion, a stony valley, a snowstorm, an odd-shaped flint-there are three sorts of human being who are particularly likely still to see point in it and befriend it. They are poets, scientists and children. Inside each of us, I suggest, representatives of all these groups can be found.
The theory that the biosphere was created without evolution, a few thousand years ago, is ruled out by overwhelming scientific evidence. To claim that there are 'alternative (always better) Biblical explanations of the same data', which make creationism a reasonable alternative to our best theories of biology and physics, is appalling intellectual dishonesty.
We are a biological species arising from Earth's biosphere as one adapted species among many; and however splendid our languages and cultures, however rich and subtle our minds, however vast our creative powers, the mental process is the product of a brain shaped by the hammer of natural selection upon the anvil of nature.
Edward O. Wilson
in the heat of unprecedented technological breakthroughs it is easy to think that we are invincible, like gods who would rule the world. But none of us need be reminded that the future of our planet is being held hostage by our own cleverness, with nuclear physics, chemistry, agribusiness, mineral exploration, and bioengineering threatening our biosphere in ways we could never have imagined even twenty years ago.
Hal Zina Bennett
The only truly dependable production technologies are those that are sustainable over the long term. By that very definition, they must avoid erosion, pollution, environmental degradation, and resource waste. Any rational food-production system will emphasize the well-being of the soil-air-water biosphere, the creatures which inhabit it, and the human beings who depend upon it.
Today the network of relationships linking the human race to itself and to the rest of the biosphere is so complex that all aspects affect all others to an extraordinary degree. Someone should be studying the whole system, however crudely that has to be done, because no gluing together of partial studies of a complex nonlinear system can give a good idea of the behavior of the whole.
Unfortunately for the existing mature systems in nature, the rapid expansion of the human bubble is destroying them. Unfortunately for us, we can't exist without them any more than a living person can exist without oxygen or a body can exist without a head. In this sense, it is actually a conceptual error to define the environment as the rest of the biosphere save humans, and think of ourselves as apart from it, since we can't exist without it.
Jacob Lund Fisker
Cancer is not something confined to human beings. It's found in all multi cellular organisms where the adult cells proliferate, so it's widespread in the biosphere. It's a phenomenon that is deeply related to the history of life itself, so by studying cancer I think we can illuminate the history of life itself and vice versa.
The schedules are crammed with shows urging us to travel further, drive faster, build bigger, buy more, yet none of them are deemed to offend the rules, which really means that they don't offend the interests of business or the pampered sensibilities of the Aga class. The media, driven by fear and advertising, are hopelessly biased towards the consumer economy and against the biosphere.
In our time we have come to the stage where the real work of humanity begins. It is the time where we partner Creation in the creation of ourselves, in the restoration of the biosphere, the regenesis of society and in the assuming of a new type of culture; the culture of Kindness. Herein, we live daily life reconnected and recharged by the Source, so as to become liberated and engaged in the world and in our tasks.
Chance alone is at the source of every innovaton, of all creation in the biosphere. Pure chance, only chance, absolute but blind liberty is at the root of the prodigious edifice that is evolution... It today is the sole conceivable hypothesis, the only one that squares with observed and tested fact. Stating life began by the chance collision of particles of nucleic acid in the "prebiotic soup."
Well, years and years ago, I started to ask myself three very simple questions, which dominated my life for many years. One of them was, "Why are organizations everywhere, whether commercial, social, or religious, increasingly unable to manage their affairs?" The second question was, "Why are individuals throughout the world increasingly in conflict with and alienated from the organizations of which they're a part?" And the third was, "Why are society and the biosphere increasingly in disarray?"
Early ecologists soon realised that, since humans are organisms, ecology should include the study of the relationship between humans and the rest of the biosphere. ... We don't often tend to think about the social sciences (history, economics and politics) as subcategories of ecology. But since people are organisms, it is apparent that we must first understand the principles of ecology if we are to make sense of the events in the human world.
So what, simply put, is the Third Covenant? It is the recalibration, the reawakening of that which is truly human, truly holy. It is truly catholic, kata-holos (Greek 'according to the whole'), truly universal, sacred, and unitive. It is made manifest by a unitive noosphere, one that embraces the Monosacred present in all Abrahamic, Indigenous, Chinese, Indian, and any and all other cultures. It embraces the whole biosphere, the whole planet, solar system, galaxy, and universe. It both precedes and succeeds space and time.
Albert J. LaChance
These proven positive consequences of elevated CO2 are infinitely more important than the unsubstantiated predictions of apocalypse that are hypothesized to result from global warming, which itself, may not be occurring from rising atmospheric CO2 levels. The aerial fertilization effect of atmospheric CO2 enrichment is the only aspect of global environmental change about which we can be certain; and to restrict CO2 emissions is to assuredly deny the biosphere the many benefits that accrue from this phenomenon.
Keith E. Idso
Biology is a science of three dimensions. The first is the study of each species across all levels of biological organization, molecule to cell to organism to population to ecosystem. The second dimension is the diversity of all species in the biosphere. The third dimension is the history of each species in turn, comprising both its genetic evolution and the environmental change that drove the evolution. Biology, by growing in all three dimensions, is progressing toward unification and will continue to do so.
E. O. Wilson
Biology occupies a position among the sciences at once marginal and central. Marginal because-the living world constituting but a tiny and very "special" part of the universe-it does not seem likely that the study of living beings will ever uncover general laws applicable outside the biosphere. But if the ultimate aim of the whole of science is indeed, as I believe, to clarify man's relationship to the universe, then biology must be accorded a central position . . .
It necessarily follows that chance alone is at the source of every innovation, and of all creation in the biosphere. Pure chance, absolutely free but blind, at the very root of the stupendous edifice of evolution: this central concept of modern biology is no longer one among many other possible or even conceivable hypotheses. It is today the sole conceivable hypothesis, the only one that squares with observed and tested fact. And nothing warrants the supposition - or the hope - that on this score our position is ever likely to be revised. There is no scientific concept, in any of the sciences, more destructive of anthropocentrism than this one.
In the Gaia theory air, water, and soil are major components of one central organism, planet Earth. What we typically think of as life - the plants and animals that inhabit the earth - has evolved merely to regulate the chemistry of the biosphere. Humans are insignificant participants, far less important to the life cycle than termites. Even the imbalance that we have created by adding massive quantities of carbon dioxide to the atmosphere may be brought back to acceptable levels by other organisms functioning in their capacity to correct excesses.
Above all, we should question the consumer ethic, which uses up non-renewable resources, creates inequality and injustice, generates pollution, destroys other species and upsets the balance of nature. The consumer ethic not only defiles the environment by creating undesirable change in the biosphere but also corrupts the mind and body by defining pleasure in terms of ownership and absorption. Waste itself is a human concept; everything in nature is eventually used. If human beings carry on in their present ways, they will one day be recycled along with the dinosaurs.
Even today a good many distinguished minds seem unable to accept or even to understand that from a source of noise natural selection alone and unaided could have drawn all the music of the biosphere. In effect natural selection operates upon the products of chance and can feed nowhere else; but it operates in a domain of very demanding conditions, and from this domain chance is barred. It is not to chance but to these conditions that evolution owes its generally progressive course, its successive conquests, and the impression it gives of a smooth and steady unfolding.
Even today a good many distinguished minds seem unable to accept or even to understand that from a source of noise natural selection alone and unaided could have drawn all the music of the biosphere. In effect natural selection operates upon the products of chance and can feed nowhere else; but it operates in a domain of very demanding conditions, and from this domain chance is barred. It is not to chance but to these conditions that eveloution owes its generally progressive cource, its successive conquests, and the impresssion it gives of a smooth and steady unfolding.
The late Alan Gregg pointed out that human population growth within the ecosystem was closely analogous to the growth of malignant tumor cells within an organism: that man was acting like a cancer on the biosphere. The multiplication of human numbers certainly seems wild and uncontrolled... Four million a month-the equivalent of the population of Chicago... We seem to be doing all right at the moment; but if you could ask cancer cells, I suspect they would think they were doing fine. But when the organism dies, so do they; and for our own, selfish, practical... reasons, I think we should be careful about how we influence the rest of the ecosystem.
Among all the occurrences possible in the universe the a priori probability of any particular one of them verges upon zero. Yet the universe exists; particular events must take place in it, the probability of which (before the event) was infinitesimal. At the present time we have no legitimate grounds for either asserting or denying that life got off to but a single start on earth, and that, as a consequence, before it appeared its chances of occurring were next to nil... Destiny is written concurrently with the event, not prior to it... The universe was not pregnant with life nor the biosphere with man. Our number came up in the Monte Carlo game. Is it surprising that, like the person who has just made a million at the casino, we should feel strange and a little unreal?
If the human species, or indeed any part of the biosphere, is to continue to survive, it must eventually leave the Earth and colonize space. For the simple fact of the matter is, the planet Earth is doomed... Let us follow many environmentalists and regard the Earth as Gaia, the mother of all life (which indeed she is). Gaia, like all mothers, is not immortal. She is going to die. But her line of descent might be immortal. . . . Gaia's children might never die out-provided they move into space. The Earth should be regarded as the womb of life-but one cannot remain in the womb forever.
Frank J. Tipler
We do not need to invent sustainable human communities. We can learn from societies that have lived sustainably for centuries. We can also model communities after nature's ecosystems, which are sustainable communities of plants, animals, and microorganisms. Since the outstanding characteristic of the biosphere is its inherent ability to sustain life, a sustainable human community must be designed in such a manner that its technologies and social institutions honor, support, and cooperate with nature's inherent ability to sustain life.
[Religious belief is] outmoded and ridiculous. [Belief in gods was a] worn out but once useful crutch in mankind's journey towards truth. We consider the time has come for that crutch to be abandoned. It is a vacuous answer... To say that 'God made the world' is simply a more or less sophisticated way of saying that we don't understand how the universe originated. A god, in so far as it is anything, is an admission of ignorance. Religion utterly failed to provide an explanation of the biosphere other than that 'God made it all'. Then Darwin thundered over the horizon and in a few decades of observation and thought... arrived at an answer. I regard teaching religion as purveying lies. I came here today to de-corrupt you all.
Many conscientious environmentalists are repelled by the word "abundance," automatically associating it with irresponsible consumerism and plundering of Earth's resources. In the context of grassroots frustration, insensitive enthusing about the potential for energy abundance usually elicits an annoyed retort. "We have to conserve." The authors believe the human family also has to _choose_. The people we speak with at the recycling depot or organic juice bar are for the most part not looking at the _difference_ between harmony-with-nature technologies and exploitative practices such as mountaintop coal mining. "Destructive" was yesterday's technology of choice. As a result, the words "science and technology" are repugnant to many of the people who passionately care about health, peace, justice and the biosphere. Usually these acquaintances haven't heard about the variety of constructive yet powerful clean energy technologies that have the potential to gradually replace oil and nuclear industries if allowed. Wastewater-into-energy technologies could clean up waterways and other variations solve the problem of polluting feedlots and landfills.
Gaia giveth even as she taketh away. The warming of the global climate over the past century had melted permafrost and glaciers, shifted rainfall patterns, altered animal migratory routes, disrupted agriculture, drowned cities, and similarly necessitated a thousand thousand adjustments, recalibrations and hasty retreats. But humanity's unintentional experiment with the biosphere had also brought some benefits. Now we could grow oysters in New England. Six hundred years ago, oysters flourished as far north as the Hudson. Native Americans had accumulated vast middens of shells on the shores of what would become Manhattan. Then, prior to the industrial age, there was a small climate shift, and oysters vanished from those waters. Now, however, the tasty bivalves were back, their range extending almost to Maine. The commercial beds of the Cape Cod Archipelago produced shellfish as good as any from the heyday of Chesapeake Bay. Several large wikis maintained, regulated and harvested these beds, constituting a large share of the local economy. But as anyone might have predicted, wherever a natural resource existed, sprawling and hard of defense, poachers would be found.
Paul Di Filippo