h.e.s.e.-UK topical issues

The interaction of humans and the environment is not merely mechanical. It is psychological, social, economic, even meta-evolutionary. Much of human development in terms of skills, capabilities and knowledge now lies outside our biological frame of reference. This creates leverage. ‘Progress’ in the past century especially has been unprecedented. Our meta-evolution hugely exceeds the evolution of our natural environment, which cannot adjust and rebalance.

We consume already three planets’ worth of resources with no regulation on population growth and economic development. The world cannot keep pace, and nor can we. At most times in the past, human activity could be monitored and the effects recorded and used to moderate a slow rate of development. Not so now. Our environment is filled in so many ways with novel factors, whether chemical, electromagnetic, or sheer destruction of natural environments, that tracking the effects on ourselves takes longer than the time in which developments are themselves overtaken by further developments.

Alarming trends in loss of habitats, extinctions, massive species movements, and closest to our heart, human health and well-being, indicate that something is seriously wrong. We repair as best we can, rather than removing damaging factors, and in any case, there are so many potentially damaging factors that apportioning causality is extremely difficult. How, for example, can you ascertain causality for an illness cluster that is not biologically vectored? If the reason is twenty percent pesticides, twenty percent cosmetics, twenty per cent electromagnetic fields, twenty per cent genetic disposition and twenty per cent nutrition: what is to blame and what should be done? There is no reason to suppose that much of our modern ills are not multi-factorial. Certainly, blame avoidance is very much the name of the game, and ideas that our modern conveniences may be harmful is very hard to accept. Media perceptions sometimes seem to be that if your mobile phone may be a health hazrd, then the alternative is stone-age living!

Of course this is not true. But unless we take heed, major concepts such as Peak Oil, the Olduvai thesis, or Gaia could just achieve that status for us.

In these pages we will be pursuing some of the issues that people do not like to face.