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The Earth is not yet an artifact

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1 Author(s)
Keith, D.W. ; Dept. of Eng. & Public Policy, Carnegie Mellon Univ., Pittsburgh, PA, USA

Responds to B. Allenby (see ibid., p.10-24) who argues the case for Earth systems engineering and management (ESEM). In advocating ESEM, Allenby stresses the extent of human transformation of the environment, arguing that the Earth has become a human artifact. He implies that, if the world is an artifact, then it is naive to try to maintain a landscape in its natural state, and naive to practice stewardship. I argue that while one may accept that artificiality demands active management, one ought to reject the claim that the world is now artificial. We should learn to control our environmental imprint before embarking on active planetary management.

Published in:

Technology and Society Magazine, IEEE  (Volume:19 ,  Issue: 4 )

Date of Publication:

Winter 0

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