Ecological Imagination: Our only Hope for Saving the World from Extinction?


In 1902, President Theodore Roosevelt famously spared the life of a black bear — and prompted a plush toy craze for so-called "teddy bears." 

When Taft succeeded him, the toy industry looked for a "new" toy to delight the children of America for the next four or eight years. They came up with the "billy possum", a total failure in spite of a marketing blitz. And you can see why, this poster tells the story:

Poster produced for the marketing campaign of the Georgia Billy Possum Company
Who would want to eat a teddy bear?

Writer Jon Mooallem, in a vivacious TED talk seen by over half-a-million people, suggests that how we view animals - our "ecological imagination" - has real consequences for a species' chances of survival. With about half of known species headed for extinction by the end of this century, which ones would you bet on to survive? 

Curious to listen to Jon? Here's the talk, well worth watching:


I was struck by his evocation of the power of "ecological imagination". 

I do hope he is right and that ecological imagination can save our world! It was certainly that particular kind of imagination that drove me to write "Forever Young", though I would argue that I was also driven by a "social justice" imagination. I am sincerely worried to see the world sink into such a deep divide between the ultra rich and the rest of us...

Your views?

PS: You know what is my fondest hope? That my book (like my blog) will help to open people's eyes to what is happening in the world around us and make them aware that if we go on this way without reversing current trends, we are headed for disaster!

PPS: Sorry for the break in posting: my computer was hit...by thunder and all the wires linking me to Internet melted down! Speaking of ecological disasters, what could be worse than being thrown out of the Net?
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