Etiqueta: Jaume Terradas
Second instalment about Mesopotamia. We are now situated throughout the 20th century, political and social changes caused massive forced migrations by people of the area and the uncontrolled exploitation of marshes populated by the Ma'dam tribe.
The Poem of Gilgamesh is the oldest known fiction text, and represents brilliantly the conflict between nomadic and agricultural and urban societies; between nature and city. A conflict that lasts from 5.000 years ago Mesopotamia to the current Iraq.
The West world, with its desire for expansion and exploration of new and unknown territories, has deprived indigenous communities of their traditional methods of life and culture. The Arctic tribes have not either been an exception.
Los Angeles and its great urban area (more than 18 million people) are in water suply problems since long time ago. At the begining of the 20th century, Owens Valley was drained among huge hiden economic interests that inspired the film Chinatown.
Jaume Terradas explains how an error in channeling the water of the Colorado River in California created a large artificial lake that, now, is endangered by the great water demand from the crop fields and nearby cities.
We need to understand how things work, to know how to assemble and how to disassemble them. But we have reached a point of so much specialization and mechanization that too much often we can not understand how everything works, and even more, if we will be able to fix what we have broken.
Jaume Terradas talks about the fight between humans and Evil, represented by the figures of the white whale, in Moby Dick, and the white shark in Jaws. However, it's possible that humans should think about if we are our own evil.
In 1966, the USA’s President is Lyndon Johnson, in the USSR it is Brezhnev, in France de Gaulle, in India Indira Gandhi. There is an increasing US involvement in Vietnam’s war (and an increasing refuse of war inside the US).
Let's come back to 1916. The World War I is raging (Battle of Verdun and the Somme). Germany is in search of its ‘lebensraum’, an empire like that England and France already have. We recall the Great War today with the terrible images of Kubrick’s Paths of Glory, Monicelli’s The Great War, Losey’s King and country, Renoir’s La grande illusion, and many other films.
We cannot remain indifferent to the intriguing and risky world of possibilities that opens up as a result of biology merging with technology, evolution and culture, a combination that ultimately poses serious environmental problems.
This phrase is often repeated among biologists, but it is time for non-biologists to recognize the truth of this statement. In the opening session of this year's course at the Institute of Catalan Studies, Jordi Casanova explained that in the light of modern knowledge, we humans are animals, considering not only in our biology (an obvious fact) but also our behavior. Many studies, mostly on apes, have shown the existence of feelings such as jealousy, envy, a sense of for injustice, rebellion; to these I would add empathy, defense of hierarchy, and a wish power.
When I studied the subject of ecology at the University of Barcelona, about the years 1964-65 (fifty years ago!), Margalef was our teacher. Even though he was still not a university professor but the director of the Fisheries Research Institute of the CSIC (now Institute of Marine Sciences) where he concentrated his research. The ecology classes were at the building of the University Square, the practices at the Institute.
Ecologists have talked and written a lot about how human activities change ecosystems or living conditions, at the local or global scales. We also claim about the need to abolish the persistent gap between human society and Nature in thinking, because humans are a part of Nature. Yet, curiously, we have not much worked in clarifying what is our role or place in ecosystems.
In the year 1970, an international meeting was held, organized by IUCN and UNESCO, on Environmental Education in the School Curriculum, at the Foresta Institute of Carson City, Nevada. One of the results of that meeting was the first largely accepted definition of environmental education, a concept born perhaps a couple of years before and mainly developed at the United Kingdom.