A drilling rig in the South China Sea

Industry has always had a nasty habit of plundering the natural world “before science has understood its importance”, says Chris Packham. And that’s what’s happening right now on the ocean floor. We know more about the surface of Mars than about the deep seabed. On almost every mission “scientists discover new species”. Yet with almost no debate, a secretive new industry is drawing up plans to send gigantic bulldozers into the deepest parts of the ocean to mine for metals anminerals. It’s a terrible idea. Industrial fishing and pollution have already exacted a toll on this hidden world, but this will massively increase it. Not only will it be likely to cause irreversible damage to a unique ecosystem, it will also accelerate climate change by disturbing the processes that store carbon in deep-sea sediments. Over the next year, governments will be negotiating a UN treaty that could establish safeguards for the management of international waters. Let’s hope they reach a deal to stop the deep-sea mining industry. (Chris Packham, The Guardian 22 July 2019).

Moderation is the key word in the ideas of Epicurus.  After all these centuries        the greedy, insensitive and short-sighted still pursue money, power and exploitation ( of the planet and of their fellow human beings) without pause.  Moderate  democracy, however imperfect, has been the form of government most likely to restrain the obsessive money men. But deliberate decisions are being made to ignore the greater good and pander to the money men.  Every one of us should resist this – the greatest days of the societies, in the West at least, have been when moderate democracy has been alive and well.  Alas, it is fading.  We must not give up on it.

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