Earth Has Become the Garden of Mankind

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* Article: Lindholm, M. (2022). The Earth has Become the Garden of Mankind. Cosmos and History: The Journal of Natural and Social Philosophy, 18(1), 83–102.



"The environmental crisis challenges our faith in humanity. Building on deep ecology and recent insights in evolutionary psychology, this article elaborates evolutionary peculiarities of our species, in order to develop foothold for new perspectives on the relation between man and earth. Premodern cultures managed to interact with their environments by establishing bio-cultural interfaces, thereby maintaining sustainable resource use. Homo sapiens has not generally been 'a plague of the earth', but rather a species that enhanced local biodiversity. In addition to genetical information, humans share a reservoir of cultural meaning. This reservoir has been coined 'the noosphere' and probably make up the last stage in a series of major evolutionary transitions since the Precambrian. Through the noosphere, the earth has become the garden of mankind. Such perspectives may open for re-establishing faith in man and in his ability to develop flowering relations to his environment."

Contextual Quote

The Biophilic Nature of Humanity

"David Attenborough ("Humans are a plague of the earth") or Umberto Echo, ... claim that “the rest is just sex, copulation, the perpetuation of the vile species”. “Humans are the cancer of the Earth” t-shirts can even be purchased on the web. Based on deep ecology and recent insights in evolutionary biology, this study questions the legitimacy of such a pessimistic conception of the man-earth relation. The article departures from the paradoxical fact that humans not only destroy the environment. They are biophilious, as well. Use of flowers for ornaments, or animals as pets, are known from cultures across the world. People make nesting boxes for birds, plant trees, and dig flowerbeds, too. Biophilic behavior is universally human, known from Babylonia and ancient China to today’s suburban balconies. These two opposite faces of Homo sapiens call for a deeper exploration of human peculiarities, in order to establish a better evolutionary concept of man and environment, which even may renew hope and belief in the value of environmental education."

- Marcus Lindholm [1]


See also:

The Tragedies of the Commons Are Exceptions Rather Than the Rule

Marcus Lindholm:

"Self-regulation has historically characterized common resource use (Jackson et al., 2000; Shiraev & Levy, 2017). Jared Diamond's book Collapse (2005) evoked much attention, with its reports on community collapse due to overexploitation of resources. But the number of unambiguous cases of such collapse are in fact few (the Viking colony on Greenland, the Easter Island, Minoan Crete), and have been factually disputed, as well (McAnany & Yoffee, 2010; Bregman, 2020). Most premodern communities managed to establish sustainable solutions to local resource use (Ostrom 1990). The Sami of the Arctic share limited grazing areas for reindeers, with agreements encompassing benefits and responsibilities in order to maintain common pastures (Barlindhaug, 2013; Marin & Bjørklund, 2015). Shared use of summer pasture, arable and meadows, has a long history across Eurasia, where resources have been regulated by common rules defining numbers of grazers, duration and associated duties, as well. The system of transhumance and setring of Northern Europe and the Swiss Alps partly roots back in the Iron age (Moe et al., 1988). Common laws included duties associated with maintenance and care of outfields, such as bush and rock removal, hunting of predators, and sowing of new grass following landslides. In Sahel, pastoralists have maintained the common use of meadows for cattle, which also included rules for shared use of the scattered acacia trees, and their protein-rich fruits (Stave et al., 2007). Through such agreements, sustainable use of common resources have been successfully maintained over centuries, without resource deterioration. A 'tragedy of the commons' is an exception rather than the rule (Ostrom, 1990; Araral, 2014)."