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Lecture 5

106 Lecture 5: Week 2

Geological Sciences and Geological Engineering
Course Code
GEOL 106
John Hanes

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Wednesday Class 2015-02-11
Earth Systems Engineering: The world As Human Artifacts by Brad Allenby
“The earth, as it is now exists, is a human artifacts”
“It reflects the (frequently unintended and unconscious, but nonetheless real) design of a single species”
But I would argue that anything that any of us does is earth-system management/engineering
When I hear the sigh and rustle of my young woodlands, planted with my own hands, then I know that I
have some slight share in controlling the climate” – Anton Checkhov (1899)
Earth-systems engineering/management credo: Think Globally; Act Locally
Everything you do has an impact on the earth
If the success or failure of the planet and of human beings depended on how I am and what I do, how
would I be? What would I do?
R Buckminster Fuller (1895-1983) Architect, systems theorists, author, designer, inventor
Buckminster Geometric Dome
There are no passengers on spaceship earth, we are all crew members – Marshall McLuhan (1911-1980)
Canadian Philosopher of Communication theory
So, Allenby calls Conscious, Controlled management/engineering of Earth Systems
“The issue then is not whether we should being Earth-systems engineering, because we have been doing it
for a long time, albeit unintentionally. This issue is whether we will assume the ethical responsibility to do
ESE rationally and responsibly” – Allenby
Ethical Responsibility
“If we were not already damaging these complex systems unintentionally, we should not dare to try to
engineer them intentionally” – Allenby
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