Friday, March 15, 2013

1018. From Readers: Why the Need for Sustainable Society

By Fred Ball, March 15, 2013
Fred Ball

As a new feature, I will post comments from the readers on matter of interest to Our Place in the World.  The following remarks are by Fred Ball who lives with his Costa Rican (Tico) family in Atenas, Costa Rica, for the past 14 years.  Fred Ball is a marine biologist, commercial pilot and former university lecturer. He currently conducts nature tours throughout Costa Rica. Ball and his wife, also a biologist, are currently part of a movement to stop Mansanto's project to plant GMO corn in Costa Rica.  He is also taking an online course on sustainability offered by Professor Jonathan Tomkin of the University of Illinois.  He submitted the following statement to a forum consisting of other students participating in that course. 


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Greetings fellow students whom I hope will aspire to promote sustainability in times present and beyond. I am Frederick Ball, and I am aware of the pessimistic views expressed by scientists, environmentalists and others how humankind continues to compromise the precious assets of planet Earth such as the air we breath and the water we drink. Over the years I have witnessed on a global basis the widespread results of deforestation, contamination of the marine and fresh water environments, and reduced air quality. If you have not personally observed any of these events, which I find hard to believe, then you can certainly scan the abundance of available information that can be found in the media. Also, there are countless watchdog groups such as Ecological Internet and Rainforest Rescue that monitor projects that threaten the environment.  The National Aeronautics and Space Administration have a site ( that provides certain vital signs of the planet relative to global climatic change. Despite the ongoing assault on Earth’s indispensable resources there is no doubt in my mind that Earth as a geological entity will survive, but not its ecosystems that support life! Perhaps lower life forms such as bacteria and cockroaches will continue to survive, but the majority of advanced organisms will most likely die-off. I say the majority because maybe Homo sapiens, in light of their technological wisdom, for a select few, will be able to extend their survival in artificial systems. Just imagine living the rest of your life in a closed capsule for life-support!

    Some people argue that it is already too late to reverse the trend of Earth’s deteriorating ecosystems. Whether true, or not, I believe all of humankind is obligated to seek out a life style that does not continue to compromise our vital natural resources. For me, that is what sustainability is all about!

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