Fixing Nature with Technology

Douthwaite gives numerous, solid examples of ways our social problems can be improved by technology but from the other sources, we are shown that there are other ways to go about this. Huesemann begins with saying that the idea of humans having the ability to improve upon nature is outdates and even to be falsified by science, specifically, biological evolution (Huesemann pg. 5). He backs this statement with Barry Commoner’s “There is no such thing as free lunch.” Basically saying that will all the great technologies we have today, there will always be negative affects of these advances. Michael and Joyce Huesemann touch more on the ideas revolving around natural selection. Natural selection “continuously optimizes the balanced functions of all species with respect to each other within ecosystems” (Huesemann pg. 7). This parts basically means that when humans interact and attempt to change outcomes using science and technology, they ultimately disturb the natural balance.


The negative effects of this technology are directly related to the exploitation of nature based both on the human activities and the speed which they are done (Huesemann pg. 8). The resilience of societies is limited, Huesemann provides a strong example in stating the extinction of indigenous cultures as well as animals proves this.

Unintended consequences are a proof that our technologies are failing, in order to actually succeed in trying to solve out social problems we must keep trying. At this point, scientists should have enough evidence to back their ideas on what may or may not work. On the larger scale, problems shouldn’t be attempted to be solved all at once but rather trial and error in the smallest ways possible in order to find a solution.

2 thoughts on “Fixing Nature with Technology”

  1. Hello Ryan!
    The “natural balance” of the Earth’s biosphere is extremely delicate and—I agree—easily thrown off by technological developments infiltrating its system. With caution, though, as you stated, “small steps” can allow progression for us as a species while still ensuring the environment which we inhabit remains healthy and capable of supporting future endeavors. Furthermore, while Douthewaite did provide several solid arguments as you mentioned in your post, I also believe that technology cannot be applied to every situation of the likes. Detailed contextual information (most often too detailed for us to fully conceptualize), and an extremely broad scope (which covers a variety of issues we may not consider) are both required for a successful technological solve; however, achieving these key pieces tends to be very unpractical. No matter what we do, humans will always “disturb the natural balance” in some way. Great post!

  2. I do agree that at this point in our progression of technology and science, scientists should understand what could work and what couldn’t work. We cannot run tests on a large-scale sample and expect there not to be any large consequences. To advance safely in trying fix our ecosystems, or even social problems, we must practice the experiments on a small scale so that test can be controlled and observed. If we were to unbalance the natural balance of the earth, unpredictable consequences could follow. In our part of this worlds history, we have access to so much power from technology. We need to use it in small doses to create and maintain a healthy outcome for improving our planet and society.

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