Patricia DeMarco Ph.D.

"Live in harmony with nature."

Transformation: From Conquerors to Stewards of the Earth

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This cold snowy day, the roads are obscured with softly falling snow.  In the stark black and white scene, I thrill to hear the mating call of a brilliant red cardinal sitting in the holly bush outside my kitchen door. He sings with confidence in the Spring to come and a long summer thriving in the privet hedge where he and his mate built four nests last season, all successful in fledging new cardinals into this backyard wilderness. The cycle of life forecast with joy, beauty and grace.

Cardinal in the snow- Photo Credit to Thomas Jensen

Edward O. Wilson’s bright light left this living world on December 24, 2021. The concept of stewardship to preserve half of the earth as wild natural spaces stands as his legacy and his challenge to us. This shift in concept from using the earth as a source of resources to be extracted for economic products to using the resources of the earth in regenerative and restorative ways lies at the heart of the transformation to a sustainable society.

The first transformation necessary for this major shift in approach to the place of humans in the world begins with a change in attitude.  We are facing multiple existential crises, all interwoven, all derived from the basic problem of consuming more of the Earth’s resources than can be replaced. In addressing this problem, we are not facing a technology problem, but rather an ethical problem- a crisis of moral commitment to preserve the life support system of this planet for our children, and for tomorrow’s children. We must infuse consideration for preserving and restoring the ecosystem services of the living earth into all our decisions about land use and resource use. 

Download the full essay here to learn about Regenerative Agriculture; Consumer demand for sustainability in products; Greening urban spaces; Designing complete neighborhoods; and Re-wilding the American Dream.

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