More on "The Question"
First of all, thanks to all for the thoughtful, insightful comments regarding yesterday's posting. It was part of my goal in writing it to stimulate the exchange of interesting ideas and perspecives. I'm pleased that this has happened. Coincidentally, today's New York Times contains a great opinion piece by Vaclav Havel, former president of the Czech Republic. He's talking mainly about global climate change, however I think that a lot of what he says also applies to other large-scale environmental issues like species extinctions. It's interesting that Havel posits the question as a moral imperative.
Go read the whole thing. It's good stuff.
Whenever I reflect on the problems of today’s world, whether they concern the economy, society, culture, security, ecology or civilization in general, I always end up confronting the moral question: what action is responsible or acceptable? The moral order, our conscience and human rights — these are the most important issues at the beginning of the third millennium.
We must return again and again to the roots of human existence and consider our prospects in centuries to come. We must analyze everything open-mindedly, soberly, unideologically and unobsessively, and project our knowledge into practical policies. Maybe it is no longer a matter of simply promoting energy-saving technologies, but chiefly of introducing ecologically clean technologies, of diversifying resources and of not relying on just one invention as a panacea.
I’m skeptical that a problem as complex as climate change can be solved by any single branch of science. Technological measures and regulations are important, but equally important is support for education, ecological training and ethics — a consciousness of the commonality of all living beings and an emphasis on shared responsibility.
Hat tip: Andrew Sullivan