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Technology causes problems as well as solves problems. Nobody has figured out a way to ensure that, as of tomorrow, technology won't create problems. Technology simply means increased power, which is why we have the global problems we face today.
Tasmanian history is a study of human isolation unprecedented except in science fiction - namely, complete isolation from other humans for 10,000 years.
Take air quality in the United States today: It's about 30 percent better than it was 25 years ago, even though there are now more people driving more cars.
Starbucks goes to a great effort, and pays twice as much for its coffee as its competitors do, and is very careful to help coffee producers in developing countries grow coffee without pesticides and in ways that preserve forest structure.
Some people have much more pull than other people. But when I say that the public has ultimate responsibility, I'm not saying it in a moral sense. I'm just saying it in the sense of what is it that's really going to bring change.
No government is here forever. And there are other forces - the most potent force in our society, in fact, big business - doing good for the environment.
Native Americans had only stone and wooden weapons and no animals that could be ridden. Those military advantages repeatedly enabled troops of a few dozen mounted Spaniards to defeat Indian armies numbering in the thousands.
Measles and TB evolved from diseases of our cattle, influenza from a disease of pigs, and smallpox possibly from a disease of camels. The Americas had very few native domesticated animal species from which humans could acquire such diseases.
Lest those islands still seem to you too remote in space and time to be relevant to our modern societies, just think about the risks... of our increasing globalization and increasing worldwide economic interdependence.
It's striking that Native Americans evolved no devastating epidemic diseases to give to Europeans, in return for the many devastating epidemic diseases that Indians received from the Old World.
Introspection and preserved writings give us far more insight into the ways of past humans than we have into the ways of past dinosaurs. For that reason, I'm optimistic that we can eventually arrive at convincing explanations for these broadest patterns of human history.
Infectious diseases introduced with Europeans, like smallpox and measles, spread from one Indian tribe to another, far in advance of Europeans themselves, and killed an estimated 95% of the New World's Indian population.
I've worked very hard in this book to keep the lines of communication open. I don't want to turn someone away from this information for partisan political reasons.
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