“You’re living through a time when virtually half of humanity’s intellectual, social and spiritual legacy is being allowed to slip away. This does not have to happen. These peoples are not failed attempts at being modern — quaint and colorful and destined to fade away as if by natural law.”
–Wade Davis; TED Talk The World Wide Web of Belief and Ritual (2008)
Eight years and almost two presidential elections since Wade Davis’ TED talk was uploaded onto the internet, we have still only yet begun to understand and articulate the magnitude of our growing environmental catastrophe. We’ve begun to document it’s horrors, and the people who have felt it’s wrath the deepest have given us its testimony: “The world has not turned on us, we have turned on her.”
Since 2008, we have seen rapid progress in environmental conservation, from large for-profit recycling centers, to sustainable hunting safari tourism attractions, to slick electric cars, to divestment campaigns. But the biggest questions still remain unanswered: Where are we lacking judgement and insight when trying to understand the principle behind these global problems? We’ve progressed forward, but will the advancements in technology be enough?
Spoiler; the answers to the questions mentioned above won’t be in Davis’ TED talk, but it is still an interesting 20 minutes to consider. It doesn’t seem as though it is possible to heal the deep scars we’ve created, but there may be a bright future to consider as the environmental, deeply humanistic love for life strikes awareness about these broader global environmental issues. Then perhaps the principles that we learn from documentaries, film, and news will permeate into action rather than cheap talk.