November 6, 2002 - I just learned that Raymond Dasmann died yesterday. He was a major influence on my life, as I started reading his books over 30 years ago when I was in college. He was always able to make the point advocating environmentalism from a strictly scientific point of view. That's right; Ray understood and communicated that environmentalism is not a mere political philosophy, but is rooted in scientific understanding. Scientific popularizers are not always popular among other scientists, so I always greatly appreciated what he wrote. So though I never knew him personally, I will mourn him. His words will live on - - age does not diminish his classic works!
"There is a trend toward uniformity in environment, people, and ways of life over all the earth. This trend is in the long run inimical to life, including human life. It will do us little good to conquer nature or even pacify mankind if the world we create is bland and uniform, one where life passes quickly because nothing new can happen again anywhere."
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"Diversity has always characterized the biosphere to which man belonged. In living systems, complexity brings stability and ability to withstand change. The future survival of man may well depend on the continuing complexity of the biosphere."
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"If we create in California a world with no space left for wild animals, it will prove to be a world with little space for human freedom."
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"The concepts of 'private' land and the 'rights of land ownership' as they are now interpreted form a dangerous myth. Far from being long established in Western Tradition, they are of relatively recent origin.
The expression of the rights of land ownership in the feudal estates of Europe was tempered by the concept of the duties of landowners...
The modern anonymous system of land ownership places a maximum emphasis on rights and a minimum on duties. Public interference with such property rights has been severely resented and has usually been effectively prevented. Yet, in a real sense, there can be no moral right of an individual to hold exclusive power over land. At best, he has a lifetime trusteeship over a property upon which others must ultimately depend. This implies a moral duty to pass land down unimpaired or even enhanced in its value. The land of America must support or enrich the lives of all Americans now and in the centuries to come. No person can claim the right to impair the livelihood or well-being of future generations through his misuse of the land. This is the moral situation. The legal situation is of a different order."
"We are already fighting World War III and I am sorry to say we are winning it. It is the war against the earth."
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