Thursday, 18 December 2008

Alternative famine remedy...

Recently I came across a paper published in the September 1920 issue of the journal Nature under the rather presumptuous title; 'The Drying up of South Africa - and the Remedy'. This interesting paper (more of a comment, really) talks about the eternal struggle between Mankind and Nature (as in the hippy-ish force, not the journal!), opening with the paragraph:

'Whilst Man of all races and skin-colours is once more involved in fractricidal quarrels - how Superior Intellegences in more advanced spheres must grin as they watch our wars against one another through super-telescopes or by aethereal telegraphy! - Nature is making one more effort to get rid of man. This time through Drought. She has seemingly hated everything that rose above the mediocre on this planet, whether it was in fish shape, or the fish-saurian, the dinosaur, the struthious bird, the ungulate mammal, or the brain-worker, Man. She tried to nip us in the bud by reviving the Ice ages which she had used for other destructive purposes in the pre-Cambrian, Devonian, Permian, and Jurrasic periods. But this succession of cold spells only braced Northern Man to greater efforts and greater triumphs, and sent Southern Man to grapple with the tropics, and to digest and partly overcome their germ diseases. Now the tropics, and above all the sub-tropical regions are being threatened by drought. The desert is spreading in sub-tropical North America, in tropical South America, in temperate and sub-tropical Asia and eastern Europe, in northern and north-central Africa, and in that prolongation of the African continent which lies beyond the Zambezi and Kunene Rivers.'

Quite a rant, I know! Wait until you see the last paragraph:

'Man must give up internecine warfare and unite all his forces to defeat his arch-enemy, Nature. He must melt the ice at the North and South Poles, and put a stop to the spread of desert conditions in Asia, Africa, Australia, and the Americas.
H.H. Johnston'

'...unite all his forces to defeat his arch-enemy, Nature.' For some reason I now have an image of Nature in my head that's a cross between Brittania and the classical Victorian image of Queen Boudica.

Well, whether by design or not, we seem to be trying to do what he suggests, although somehow I don't think it's working quite how he imagined...

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