Friday, September 13, 2013

Can the Planet (and Humans) Survive Technology?

monarch butterfly  

Humanity's presence threatens the biodiversity of Earth, including species such as the monarch butterfly.

WASHINGTON — Charles Dickens could have been talking about the 21st century when he wrote the lines: "These are the best of times, these are the worst of times." Technology can extend human life and take us into space, but it is also destroying the environment and threatening the survival of other species and humanity.

Moving forward, what parts of nature should humans preserve? What will the future look like? Will we develop a stable, long-term relationship with technology? These were some of the issues a group of scientists and humanists tackled yesterday (Sept. 12) in a symposium held here at the Library of Congress.

"The hallmark of the human species is great adaptability," said David Grinspoon, the Baruch S. Blumberg NASA/Library of Congress chair in astrobiology at the Kluge Center, who led the conversation. 

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