Wilderness, Massive Infrastructure Projects & Changing Global Norms

(Some may find this thought a little gloomy.) In a world of increasing chaos and a fragmenting world order, it seems likely that humanity’s ability to build giant-scale infrastructures will diminish. If so, this will lessen the overpowering environmental impact that these kinds of structures have and will make lighter the heavy hand of humanity that oppresses the natural world. There will still be all the cumulative effects of pollution and toxicity run out of control. But the towering Golitath that is the human giant may be entering a stage of collapse, and that may offer some relief to wildlife and wild lands. We’ll see.


NairobiNtlPark_ChinaKenyaRailroad_Getty_web.jpgConstruction of the second phase of the Chinese-financed Standard Gauge Railway in Kenya crosses through Nairobi National Park, as pictured here in June. YASUYOSHI CHIBA/ AFP/ GETTY IMAGES

Thanks to William Laurance for this informative opinion essay that gives a bit of hope for wilderness preservation:

Is the Global Era of Massive Infrastructure Projects Coming to an End?

The world’s wild places have been badly carved up by decades of roadbuilding, dam construction, energy exploitation, and other megaprojects. Now, as the financial community, environmental groups, and local citizens increasingly oppose big infrastructure development, the tide of environmental destruction may be turning.

AP_MalaysiaChinaRailroad_web.jpgMalaysia’s former Prime Minster Najib Razak, third from left, looks at a model of the China-backed East Coast Rail Link in 2017. Malaysia has since canceled the project due to mounting costs. AP PHOTO

We are living in the most explosive era of infrastructure expansion in human…

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