Writing in the New York Times in 1964, science fiction author and biochemistry professor Isaac Asimov predicted what the world would look in 2014. “Men will continue to withdraw from nature in order to create an environment that will suit them better,” he wrote. Considering that humankind has been doing this since the beginning of recorded history, I don’t think this is as bold a prediction as many have made it out to be.
This viewpoint, however, does have an underlying irony (and paradox) that I believe has been largely unappreciated. It is this: any society that continues to withdraw from, ignore, or destroy ecological systems will eventually lose – especially if it wins. In other words, our withdrawal from, and destruction of, nature in order to create artificial environments that suit us better is actually creating an environment that is unsuitable to life.