...before we plow an unfamiliar patch
It is well to be informed about the winds,
About the variations in the sky,
The native traits and habits of the place,
What each locale permits, and what denies.
- Virgil, The Georgics
Don't think from the above quote that I sit around all day in dimly lit, wood paneled, libraries reading ancient Roman poets. It's just that this year I've read an unusual amount on America's Dust Bowl of the 1930s and our Great Plains in general, and this quote, found while reading Wendell Berry's What are People For?, struck a chord.
I think the arrogance of the time interests me. The thought we could dominate nature, the insanity in the belief that "rain follows the plow," that Manifest Destiny meant we could destroy millions of acres of grassland without consequence. Virgil's warning has been around for centuries and yet somehow we missed this vital clue in our responsibility to the earth and to future generations. Recent arrogance with regard to climate change says we're missing clues once more.
Every disaster movie begins with a scientist being ignored
- poster in a 2017 March for Science