The last word

(Canscene) –From an address by Canadian author Ronald Wright scheduled for delivery to the 2006 annual Couchiching Conference, but not given due to Wright’s unavoidable absence.

Our greatest experiment — civilization itself — will succeed only if it can live on nature’s terms, not Man’s. To do this we must adapt principles in which the short term is trumped by the long; in which caution prevails over ingenuity; in which the absurd myth of endless growth is replaced by respect for natural limits; in which progress is steered by precautionary wisdom. This ideological shift is the most urgent task for science and society, for professors, politicians, priests and writers.

What we humans with our……faith in the bigger, the better and the more complex–have naively called “progress” is now moving so quickly, and with such unforeseeable consequences, that its promises can no longer be taken at face value.

Instead of hoping for the best we have to imagine the worst — and by doing so strive to forestall.

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