As an explanation for those of you outside Germany, or outside Europe, the occasion for the current Episode is the latest EHEC alarm in Germany. You can search the Web and the press for more details. In the meanwhile, the “culprit” for the particular aggressive EHEC type responsible for the latest deaths seems to have been found. It is supposed to be a local german sprout coming from a particular farm, apparently an organic farm. And I expect that someone out there will use the chance to manipulate the opinion regarding green and organic stuff… Oh dear! However, the root cause of it all is still missing. Why is EHEC being found in vegetables when it is rather supposed to be associated to ruminants? Are the reasons correlated with hygienic faults in the farms? Or with water contamination due to the concentrated livestock breeding activity in the area? Or with something else? Will we ever find out, or will the press stop reporting, now that the most aggressive sprout has been found and no more scandal can be made, leaving us without scientific answers?
I just read that, in addition to the less aggressive type found in spanish cucumbers, somewhere in Bayern another EHEC type was found in vegetables… Maybe they are not as dangerous as the current killers, but they are an indication that something is quite wrong…
What the heck is EHEC looking for in vegetables at all?
We people don’t love all kind of animals in the same way. Some hate spiders, love puppies, fear cats, snakes or rats… Everyone I know, including myself, find cockroaches disgusting, even though they are quite brilliant from an evolutionary perspective.
I was surprised when I heard from some scandinavian friends some years ago that seals can be a plague. I saw seals as very cute and funny animals who did not hurt anyone. I guess bedouins have a different relationship with scorpions than New Yorkers would have.
I bet we will soon start having new views about storks around Heidelberg, now that we see them quite often around, after so many years missing them and appreciating them because of their pure rarity.
I just remembered some passages in the book State of Fear by Michael Crichton referring to our not always knowing what we are doing when we define environmental protection policies… His point was valid: We adore some animals and hate others. This probably influences our animal protection policy in some way.
We people, including scientists, politicians, administrators, can never see things fully objectively. Whenever we issue a law to protect a particular species, I am not sure if we do always the right thing, but I am also human and enjoy the beauty of storks, herons and eagles around Heidelberg, while I tend to despise poor, vulgar pigeons.
Some days ago a loyal fan, and most severe critic, asked me a difficult question. He asked me if I believe I will succeed, given my radical views around building an ecologically intelligent world, with a lot of humanity and minimalistic technological growth, and given my non-linear career, and the contradictions involving my skills and strengths, including my background as physicist, and IT expert.
Let’s review some of my radical views first:
Renewable energies? Yes, naturally, but only tightly connected to renewable natural resources at the material, and not only at the energetic, level. Should this be self-evident? It should… but unfortunately it is often only implicit in the discussions, and it promotes the wrong kind of “clean-tech”, and the wrong kind of industrial products.
Energy and material efficiency in absolute numbers, and not only “per unit of consumed product”:To have significantly fewer things would not hurt us at all. It could rather lead us to more humanity, meaningful simplicity, and a higher quality (rather than quantity) of life.
Less industrialization and automation. Would this mean “fewer jobs”? Not at all. It would rather require a deconstruction of the current, flawed concept of “work”, like Ivan Illich used to wisely say apropos economies of subsistence.
Minimalistic technology, without excess: The capacity to create technology is also part of what makes us human, together with, say, the capacity to love and care for other living beings. But the excessive way we deal with technology today turns us into stupidly addicted slaves…
Rediscover our natural capacity to live, and flourish with what we have around: We export/import too much superfluous stuff. It would be beautiful to learn again to live with our local blessings.
A bit of wilderness, please! When I look around, I mostly see lots of concrete, lots of metal, cultivated landscapes, potted gardens, domesticated dogs, fat cats, and overall man-made stuff… We need wilderness to remember who we really are…
Now, let’s get back to the question above… Will I succeed with my radical views? A zen master would argue that if you change yourself, you can change the world, and I am convinced of the wisdom of this thought.
Maybe if I succeed in a conventional way, I will have failed…
With high probability I will remain a weird CEO, who keeps spreading weird words, attends degrowth events, doodles philosophical cartoons, and records piano pieces to illustrate service oriented products on our Website, develops minimalistic consulting approaches, and tries to see the success of every step on the way…
I will not comment on this episode… which is actually a paradox… pretty much like the one with the cretans and the liars by Epimenides, who happened to have something to say about moderation in life, by the way… and herewith I just blew up my own rendering of the famous paradox…
According to the latest scientific legend, cyanobacteria (blue-green algae) used to convert the early reducing earth atmosphere into an oxidizing one, thus killing oxygen-intolerant organisms, and making possible new sorts of living forms, including the likes of us, human beings.
In other words, cyanobacteria poisoned the world with oxygen and are commemorated as heroes because they made sentient apes like us possible…
Now it seems to be our turn to poison the atmosphere, the biosphere, and every other sphere within our reach. One might argue that these are the ways of the universe… However, there might be a difference between cyanobacteria and human beings:
For one thing cyanobacteria were innocent, whereas we are not
Furthermore we might consider the unflattering fact that our so called “intelligence” might be highly overrated.