E. O. Wilson tells us in The Diversity of Life that there are something like four thousand different species of bacteria per pinch of soil. We are familiar with the concept of genetic diversity - according to Wilson we have identified 1.4 million species of plants and animals - but we have no idea how many more exist. The estimates I've heard range from five to eighty million! So, as we discover more, we discover that we know less and less about more and more. This is something that should instill some humility into us. It should give us the idea that our agricultural binge - our whole Industrial Age binge - cannot go on. We need to rethink, and our institutions are not ready for it.

 

David R. Brower


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