In the 19th century, nature was romanticized as existing in perfect, sustained balance unless disturbed by human influence. In the 21st century, we know that to be a myth: Nature is constantly evolving and fluctuating, regardless of our involvement. So why, asks ecologist Daniel Botkin, do we persist in making environmental policies that reflect an outdated view of our world? On a planet constantly confronted by environmental problems, Botkin warns that this old-fashioned thinking isn’t just anachronistic, it could prove dangerous. It’s time, he says, to drag ecological science and policy into the present—in order to insure the future of planet.
Botkin is a professor emeritus in the Biological Sciences and Environmental Studies Program at the University of California Santa Barbara. His book, The Moon in the Nautilus Shell: Discordant Harmonies Reconsidered (Oxford University Press) is available for signing at the program.
Watch Daniel Botkin talk to university science students about his career as a writer and ecologist and his lifelong interest in “science outside.”