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philosopher, and an American Indian folklorist. The Native American gave graphic examples of how his culture views the natural surroundings: it considers human resources to be an integral part of the whole Earth rather than a force to dominate the terrestrial globe. The philosopher reinforced this viewpoint by reminding us that the whole Earth is a living organism and, therefore, we cannot treat humans differently from other living components. The theologian put human beings in the Judeo-Christian perspective as part of God’s total creation.
Thus an immediate—as opposed to a geological—solution to the problem of maintaining global biodiversity seems to depend on the collective behaviors and perceptions of people toward their habitat. The Western world in particular has been out of harmony with its environment and through temporary technical superiority has imposed its destructive standards of affluence on the rest of the world. Unfortunately, the Earth’s natural resources are finite and inadequate to support a global living standard equivalent to that of the developed countries. To keep the Earth reasonably habitable for humans in the centuries to come, natural forces will have to lower the human population and reduce the indiscriminate exploitation of the natural world. Controlled rational exploitation may be the answer, if the surviving humans have the foresight and sensitivity to carry it out.