Before 1915 human population was naturally capped by Earth’s natural nitrogen (N) pool to about 2 billion. Then Fritz Häber discovered how to produce N using natural gas. Rapid human population growth dates from this point [500Kb pdf]. We’re heading for overshoot central.
We need to see ourselves as natural – and start behaving like it asap. Whatever belief humans hold we end up at the centre of it separate from all other life, and yet ‘we’ ourselves are not alone, we are composite organisms; dependent on billions of microbes across thousands of species keeping us alive and functioning.
To rediscover our naturalness we need to start becoming intensely aware of all nature – all of nature would do very well without us.
I see our first nature as nomadic, our second-nature founded (mainly) on labour and animal energy. Our current oil-based state is not a culture at all as it will be very short-lived. We should be holding onto our oil so that we can get out to the planets and beyond; we also need oil to create the fossil-free economy – even making a single large wind turbine is a very hard problem without fossil fuels – link to non climate denier blog. How will we get to the third-nature, where we live in partnership with Earth and its systems?
The alternative is to be driven to a survival state by unwillingness to recognise our planets’ symptoms of illness. Over the next few months I will explore workable paths to our third nature on a finite planet.