The Value of Nature

Abumrad: Is there another way to think about the value of nature in a way that’s not economic and therefore shortsighted and all about us, but also not simply about the aesthetics and the beauty because that can be sort of limiting too. Is there another way?

J.B. McKinnon: The best I was able to do in thinking about this was, when it struck me that in a way, all this biological diversity that’s out there, all these wonderful and amazing and alien things that other species can do, is like an extension of our own brains. There’s so much imagination out there that we simply could not come up with on our own, that we can think of it as a pool of imagination and creativity from which we as humans are able to draw.

And when we draw down on that pool of creativity and imagination, we deeply impoverish ourselves. In a sense we are doing harm to our own ability to think. And to dream.


Jay O’Hara, “Go Out and Get Yourself in Some Holy Trouble”

“Our first job is to stop talking and start acting. I think one of the things that has held the movement back is the big green NGOs saying that the world is ending, and not acting like it. People can smell the bullshit, and they think, “Well, they’re not acting freaked out, they must be trying just to fundraise off of it. So why should we pay attention to that? A bunch of hypocrites!”

“I don’t think our problem with denial in the United States is a problem with Republicans and right-wing climate deniers. The problem with denial is White liberals and middle-of-the road Democrats who have not internalized the severity and magnitude of the problem. And that’s our biggest block. It’s eerily reminiscent of what Dr. King talks about in “Letter from Birmingham Jail” when he says that the biggest hindrance to civil rights might not be the Ku Klux Klan or the White councilman, but the White moderate who says they agree with the goals, but says “slow down, calm down, you’re not being reasonable.”

“The denier population is only 25 percent of the population. We don’t need to convince 100 percent, we only need 50 percent to agree with us. Research says that a nonviolent revolution only requires 4 percent or so of the population, because once you move those people to the furthest level of commitment, people on the next layer move a little further out. Who cares about the deniers? They’re not the problem — we’re the problem.”



Adam Curtis: Bitter Lake

“Bitter Lake is a new, adventurous and epic film by Adam Curtis that explains why the big stories that politicians tell us have become so simplified that we can’t really see the world any longer. The narrative goes all over the world, America, Britain, Russia and Saudi Arabia – but the country at the heart of it is Afghanistan. Because Afghanistan is the place that has confronted our politicians with the terrible truth – that they cannot understand what is going on any longer. The film reveals the forces that over the past thirty years rose up and undermined the confidence of politics to understand the world. And it shows the strange, dark role that Saudi Arabia has played in this. But Bitter Lake is also experimental. Curtis has taken the unedited rushes of everything that the BBC has ever shot in Afghanistan – and used them in new and radical ways. He has tried to build a different and more emotional way of depicting what really happened in Afghanistan. A counterpoint to the thin, narrow and increasingly destructive stories told by those in power today.”


Global Calculator

The Global Calculator is a model of the world’s energy, land and food systems to 2050. It allows you to explore the world’s options for tackling climate change and see how they all add up. With the Calculator, you can find out whether everyone can have a good lifestyle while also tackling climate change.