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Tue Jan 28, 2020, 04:10 PM

Barry Commoner's 'Four Principles Of Ecology,' China's Coronavirus & Human Self Destruction

'What Barry Commoner's Four Principles of Ecology Has to Do With China's Coronavirus.' "The present system of production is self-destructive; the present course of human civilization is suicidal." By Pete Salmansohn, Common Dreams, Jan. 27, 2020. - Excerpts:

-- Wet markets are an established and ingrained part of Chinese community and culture, and thus it is no surprise that diseases are now jumping from animals to humans and humans to humans.

..The late Dr. Barry Commoner, who made the front page of Time magazine in 1970 during the first Earth Day as “the Paul Revere of Ecology.” Barry Commoner published his first best-selling book, “The Closing Circle,” in 1971 which coincided with the very beginnings of Earth Day, and he warned Americans that a society which does not follow the basic laws of ecology and nature is a society courting disaster and turmoil. He said, “We are in an environmental crisis because the means by which we use the ecosphere to produce wealth are destructive of the ecosphere itself. The present system of production is self-destructive; the present course of human civilization is suicidal.” Prescient, wise, and terrifying words….. and probably the first person ever in a modern media spotlight to say that capitalism is inherently anti-ecological.

In “The Closing Circle,” Dr. Commoner proposed his now-famous Four Laws of Ecology, a thesis as timely today as it was when he first conceived this 49 years ago.
“Everything is Connected to Everything Else.”
“Everything Must Go Somewhere.” (Also known as There is No Such Place as Away.)
“Nature Knows Best.”
“There is No Such Thing as a Free Lunch.”

Commoner’s wonderful and exquisitely useful thesis has been summarized, expanded, analyzed with environmental examples for today’s world, and discussed many times over, but ironically, a very hot news story this week regarding epidemics – the spreading CoronaVirus from Wuhan, China – presents us with an incredible example of how all four of Commoner’s ecology laws apply to this now-international health scare. It turns out that Chinese “wet markets” are, according to Chinese scientist Zhenzhong Si, as quoted on NPR, “the predominant food retail outlets for fresh produce and meat in Chinese cities. A large city typically has a few hundred wet markets,” and a huge variety of both plant and animal products are for sale, including live animals, such as rabbits, frogs, snakes, turtles, pigeons, foxes, and many others. Tragically, these animals are kept in notoriously unhealthy confined spaces and their excretions and illnesses are part of the overall market arena, which is visited by thousands of shoppers each day.

Additionally, the live slaughtering of animals takes place on a regular basis. Wet markets are an established and ingrained part of Chinese community and culture, and thus it is no surprise that diseases are now jumping from animals to humans and humans to humans. This is how the SARS virus got started in 2002 and 2003. In China and other parts of Asia, says Dr. Zhenzhong Si, “Eating wild animals is considered a symbol of wealth because they are more rare and expensive. And wild animals are also considered more natural and, thus, nutritious, compared to farmed meat. It's a belief in traditional Chinese medicine that it can boost the immune system…Of course, some people eat wild animals just because they were driven by curiosity.”

If the Chinese wet marketplace in urban areas doesn’t mesh with Dr. Commoner’s big picture of how the world can go very very wrong if it doesn’t follow nature’s basic rules, then nothing does...If “Nature knows best” then wild animals should be living wildly, not harvested en masse for consumption and imprisoned in cages or tanks in crowded markets. And if “There is no such thing as a free lunch” and then you set up an unsustainable system such as the wet markets, you will undoubtedly be bitten in the ass, or worse. “Everything must go somewhere”, in my opinion, equates to the disease, viruses, bacteria and blood, which are produced by animals in awful modes of captivity and being killed, directly next to people working and shopping. And, of course there’s “everything is connected to everything else,” which kind of sums up this whole truly unfortunate and inhumane situation....

More, https://www.commondreams.org/views/2020/01/27/what-barry-commoners-four-principles-ecology-has-do-chinas-

- (Wiki), Barry Commoner (May 28, 1917 – September 30, 2012) was an American cellular biologist, college professor, and politician. He was a leading ecologist and among the founders of the modern environmental movement. He was the director of the Critical Genetics Project and the Center for Biology of Natural Systems. He ran as the Citizens Party candidate in the 1980 U.S. presidential election. His work studying the radioactive fallout from nuclear weapons testing led to the Nuclear Test Ban Treaty of 1963.

- 'The Closing Circle.' In his 1971 bestselling book The Closing Circle, Commoner suggested that the American economy should be restructured to conform to the unbending laws of ecology. For example, he argued that polluting products (like detergents or synthetic textiles) should be replaced with natural products (like soap or cotton and wool). This book was one of the first to bring the idea of sustainability to a mass audience. Commoner suggested a left-wing, eco-socialist response to the limits to growth thesis, postulating that capitalist technologies were chiefly responsible for environmental degradation, as opposed to population pressures...https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Barry_Commoner

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