Livingston on Development

From Rogue Primate by John A. Livingston:


Development is a fascinating concept. In the sense in which I learned to understand it, development means the gradual unfolding or realization of an organism, a community—or even an idea—toward a richer, finer, fuller, higher, or more mature state of being. The metamorphosis of a Luna moth, the emergence of a new seral stage in meadow succession, the growth of an embryo, the flowering of a thesis. In the contemporary technoculture, the word “development” is used to describe land speculation, land subdivision, construction, and the work of the wrecker’s ball on cherished old buildings in the city core. “Development” is also used to describe the advancement of the exotic ideology. It represents the crushing and scarification of forests, the mutilation and corruption of waterways, the savaging and toxification of the living soils.

The “development” ideologues do not hear the screaming of the buttress trees or the wailing of the rivers or the weeping of the soils. They do not hear the sentient agony and the anguish of the nonhuman multitudes—torn, shredded, crushed, incinerated, choked, and disposed. These are merely the external, incalculable, and incidental side-effects of the necessary progress of human civilization in its highest form.

“Development,” in the current usage, stands for the advancement of the exotic ideology and the subjugation of those external phenomena we call Nature…




2 thoughts on “Livingston on Development

  1. Civilization has meant a declaration of war on wilderness and wildlife, flora and fauna, that continues in a mad rush today. Rush to what? Civilization and development has meant genocide to aboriginal people and wild animals, destruction of habitat, fragmentation of wildlife habitat, recreational killing of wildlife (aka hunting and trapping), poaching, sacrifice of wildlife and habitat to extraction industries, ranching, farming and development. It has meant global warming. It has meant extinctions. Recently there has been some conservation efforts, even laws (ESA and EPA and Wilderness Acr), which politicians have been intent on undermining or gutting (mostly republicans). Republicans vote against wildlife and the environment 90-99% of the time. Conservationists are trying to stem the tide of destruction of civilization and development, to hold the line, to allow a coexistence with wildlife and biodiversity. We are at a crossroad.

  2. More Liivingston on Development
    Rogue Primate

    Our behavior is not just bad, or injurious, but since it occurs with full knowledge of its nature and consequences, and is even ideologically justified as necessary, it becomes something worse. The sacking and pillage of Nature is predetermined and with intent: biocide aforethought. This charge must not be attached to the starving multitudes who are, quite naturally, fully occupied in trying to stay alive. It is reserved rather for the timorous politicians, stricken immobile in fear of addressing population policy. It is reserved also for the fanatical ideologues of the realization of human purpose and meaning through planetary conquest. Most particularly and specifically guilty is the international commercial “development” enterprise which would domesticate all beautiful and wonderful things non-human into its own noxious image, and would see the process as natural, inevitable, and good.

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