03.08.05 NOTES: Tuesday@REI - Sustainability of sustainability - Bruce Latimer WOWs

Submitted by Norm Roulet on Tue, 03/08/2005 - 16:45.

WOW - WOW - WOW – Draft Notes - I stepped in late to Natural History
Director Bruce Latimer's talk on sustainability of sustainability with sobering
insight from a biologist on evolution of man, that we are on a run away train
headed toward the abyss, that termites are more important to the Earth than
humans, that we are all Africans, that man is hard wired to compete, and that
odds are 60/40% against the survival of humanity. He is not hopeful mankind -
man unkind - will survive more than the next few generations. He sees the only
hope of human survival is that we hijack our hard wiring to compete with
economic reward for doing the right things - getting together like we are today
and talk about the problems and find the right solutions - and we must do that
at a global level. China will not decide they want less than Americans and we
already need 4 planets Earth to support what we already consume.

I ask Latimer if as a biologist it is safe to assume man is meant to become
extinct - he replies 99% of species have gone extinct and it is safe to say we
will as well - our problem is our brain has allowed us to exceed consumption of
the resources appropriate to our species - I ask if we are an evolutionary
experiment gone wrong - he says perhaps so.

Phil Lane ask what is the population of humans the Earth can sustain and he
says analyses predict 11 billion but Bruce believes the quality of life will be
very poor - further, as resources become limited we will see much more
competition and strife for resources - now war over oil - next war over water
and land.

Is there a hopefulness in the difference between males and females - yes
sperm is cheap - eggs are expensive - there is a fundamental difference in
approach to how males and females impact environment, which may have value.

Capitalism is the key to sustainability - rewards for good
practice - humans are sneaky species so there are always some trying to work
their way through any cracks to compete to the top.

Phil talks about REI vision of economic development and Bruce sees open
collaboration as the key. Ed Morrison speaks up of a new form of capitalism and
that there's wealth creation opportunity in that - how do we use projects in
East Cleveland as living laboratory - bring lots of perspectives to the table
thinking about this in a deep way - so now we look at the role of cognitive
science in economic development

BTW - attendee asks about recent Museum team led discovery of skeleton of 4
million year old hominid in Ethiopia - Latimer was just in Ethiopia to see the
discovery - one in a lifetime find - expect to find more - old male with lots
of arthritis - probably 5 feet tall - used aerial photos to survey region and
went to explore and found - Bruce and Ed encourage people to visit - team has
12-15 covers of Science and Nature magazines

Bruce is trying to encourage a new dialogue for University Circle - new to
area and ready for change - Ed and REI are driving for that same process - REI
proves the value of that

OSU Extension has plans for "Opportunities for Regional
Sustainability" conference in Wooster March 24, 2005 and Cleveland State
University organizes a Sustainability Forum" with past conference material
and presentations available at http://www.SCS2000.org