We live in an era that's so different that we need to be not too sanguine about saying : 'Well , human beings have been messing up the places they live in for thousands of years , says Max Oelschlaeger , director of the Center for Community , Culture , and Environment at Northern Arizona University in Flagstaff
.Circa 1000 , the human species did not possess somewhere between 65 , 000 and 75 , 000 chemicals that we had made.Even if they had wanted to put holes in the stratosphere [ and ] deplete the ozone layer , they couldn't have done that..The engines of the Industrial Revolution chewed through wood , then coal in quantities previously unthinkable.Its factories belched smoke into the air and sewage into the water.Its ever-increasing flow of goods created mountains of unwanted byproducts.
We're beginning to grasp the world in ways that weren't conceivable 50 years ago , in its nonlinear , self-creating ways , says Mr. Oelschlaeger
.If humanity can stop thinking about the environment as something out there and think instead of nature as God's creation and as a part of itself , then dramatic changes could happen , he
This is the last part of the Monitor's millennial series.To read earlier parts , go to csmonitor.com
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