non-sustainable developments (i.e., atmospheric change, deforestation,
fresh water use, etc.) become halted in pleasant ways of our choice,
or in unpleasant ways not of our choice?"
To my mind, by far the most important question concerns the way in which
our currently non-sustainable course gets resolved in the next several
decades. Our present course with regards to many of our demands on the
environment cannot be sustained for more than several decades. Those
demands include atmospheric change, deforestation, fresh water use,
global warming, overfishing, production of toxic materials, utilization
of available photosynthetic capacity, and utilization of topsoil. Hence
the interesting question is whether these non-sustainable developments
become halted in pleasant ways of our choice, or in unpleasant ways
not of our choice.
M. Diamond is Professor of Physiology at the UCLA School
of Medicine, is the Pulitzer Prize-winning author of the widely acclaimed
Guns, Germs, and Steel: the Fates of Human Societies.