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  • Doomsday Scenarios Make Better Fiction Than Science, Says Researcher Karl Butzer

    Doomsday Scenarios Make Better Fiction Than Science, Says Researcher Karl Butzer

    By David Ochsner, College of Liberal Arts
    Published: June 20, 2012

    For more than 50 years Karl Butzer, a renowned environmental archaeologist at The University of Texas at Austin, has trekked across continents, sifted through countless excavations and pored over collections in some of the world’s greatest libraries and museums in a quest to better understand humanity’s age-old relationship to the natural environment. He has seen …

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    • Quote 2
      Russ Long said on July 11, 2012 at 11:16 a.m.
      @ Karla Busch: I guess I'm focusing on this section of the article: " Focusing solely on environmental factors — such as climate change — results in “finger-pointing and fear-mongering,” he says, when our energy would be better spent in finding new ways to adapt to a changing world." That suggests, to me at least, that Butzer thinks we are wasting our time attempting to "preserve the environment", and that we should just adapt to whatever environment we wind up with. That is the part I have a problem with. In the past crises that Mr. Butzer has studied, moving to an unaffected area was one way to adapt. But with climate change, that option doesn't really exist.
    • Quote 2
      Karla Busch said on July 1, 2012 at 7:47 p.m.
      Adaptation is changing to survive. I do not believe that Karl Butzer is saying that we can go on abusing the resources we have or ignore our responsibility to preserving our environment, but that environmental collapse is not inevitable IF we adapt. Which I understand to mean research and discuss the problem and make the change. We must stop the political and commercial incompetence -- understand (place a value on) the true costs or our actions or inaction and make changes that are critical to our long-term survival. We as citizens of the U.S. and the world must push our leadership to focus on critical environmental and socio-ecomonic matters that determine our future. I understand Mr. Butzer to mean, build smarter and stronger human networks that will change and adapt to survive.