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Humanity Has Already Had Four Major Ecological Collapses: How Can We Avoid a Fifth?

For related articles and more information, please visit OCA's Politics and Democracy page and our Environment and Climate Resource page.
Theologian Martin Palmer tells Tom Levitt how we can learn from previous man-made ecological collapses in Britain and create a 'new narrative' that challenges our dominant consumer culture

In your book you talk quite a lot about the devastating impact humans have on the natural world. Do you think that humans can live sustainably?


Throughout most of recorded history we have actually managed to have a balanced relationship with nature. What happens though is that we become more and more grandiose, for example building vast complexes like Stonehenge and destroying every other stone circle for 150 miles around it. We centralise our power and push ourselves and we push nature beyond a sustainable model. In other words, we exhaust the soil, we cut down most of the forests, we put pollute much of the air and the water and we become dependent on such extended trade routes that even the most minor ecological change actually destroys our ability to function because we become dependent on a lifestyle that is supported by grandioseness and no longer a simple relationship with nature. 


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