Dark Water: A Much Bigger Question

 

I heard Mark Ruffalo who played Bilott, and Bilott himself on the PBS television show, Amanpour & Company and the real life Bilott. They made some important points.

Commenting on the legal fight that took almost 20 years of relentless endurance on the part of Bilott, Ruffalo had this to say:

“The system is rigged—against the people. They want us to think that it will protect us, but that is a lie. We protect us. Nobody else. Not the companies, not the scientists, not the government. Us We protect us. Nobody else.”

This is the fundamental idea behind the film. The system is rigged. Against us.

Of course, this was just one case. But is in any different in the pharmaceutical sector? Or oil and gas? Or tobacco? Or anywhere else? Not according to Ruffalo.

Ruffalo put it this way in his interview by Amanpour:

“We have a system where the government is not responsive to the needs of the people and where it is slavish to the corporate system. We have a democracy that is in service to an economic capitalist system, instead of that system being in service to our democracy. Yes that system is rigged. It has been rigged because there is so much money in politics. If you wanted to fix the problem, really quickly, you would have the state have a stake in health care. Then this stuff would get cleaned out really fast because right now we’re getting poisoned. We have to pay to get ourselves healthy and the state just keeps taking money from both sides, to keep the vicious circle going.”

In the American legal system the people have to prove the chemical harms them. The corporations can sit back and do nothing other than, of course, block the science of the opponents. This is a fundamental flaw.

According to the film there is still no regulation of PFOSA in America. And PFOA’s are ubiquitous. As Nathanial Rich who wrote the article on which the movie was based, explains,

“But if you are a sentient being reading this article in 2016, you already have PFOA in your blood. It is in your parents’ blood, your children’s blood, your lover’s blood. How did it get there? Through the air, through your diet, through your use of nonstick cookware, through your umbilical cord. Or you might have drunk tainted water…

Where scientists have tested for the presence of PFOA in the world, they have found it. PFOA is in the blood or vital organs of Atlantic salmon, swordfish, striped mullet, gray seals, common cormorants, Alaskan polar bears, brown pelicans, sea turtles, sea eagles, Midwestern bald eagles, California sea lions and Laysan albatrosses on Sand Island, a wildlife refuge on Midway Atoll, in the middle of the North Pacific Ocean, about halfway between North America and Asia.”

As Manohla Dargis said in a New York Times review of the film:

“But at its strongest, the movie makes you see that the poison that is killing Wilbur’s cows and so many other living things isn’t simply a question of toxic chemicals. There is, Haynes suggests, a deeper malignancy that has spread across a country that allows some to kill and others simply to die.”

 This is the bigger issue. The exploration of this issue is what makes this film, and the article on which it is based, so important and so interesting. Ultimately it comes down to these two closely related questions: is our modern political system democratic and is modern capitalism anti-life? Those are two very big questions. Worth thinking about.

Dark Water: Real Monsters

 

 

Dark Water is a really good film. It is a monster/horror film, but not but not the kind you might expect. This is a real life horror show with real life monsters,.

The opening scene is dramatic, spooky and menacing. The scene is idyllic at the outset, like so many scenes in so many horror films. In 1975 a group of cavorting teenagers trespass onto property for a classic midnight swim. It’s obviously loads of fun. I have done exactly that type of thing. But just as in any self-respecting horror film you know from the menacing music that something is wrong. Danger lurks and teenagers dressed only in skimpy swimsuits are defenceless before the danger. There must be a monster lurking in that dark water. And there is. But it is not the typical horror film. It is much worse than that.

The water is oily—slimy. This can’t be good. Suddenly the strong deep male voice of authority rousts them up. The kids are forced to leave. And they do. After they leave a small boat softly glides across the pond spraying something over the slick and shiny surface of the water. The boat is marked “containment.”

In time we learn the monster is not supernatural. It is real. It is indeed profoundly menacing and dangerous. It is a chemical monster the result of corporate malfeasance of a high order.

The film was based on an article in the New York Times Magazine by Nathaniel Rich in 2016 titled, The Lawyer who Became DuPont’s Worst Nightmare.” That lawyer was Rob Bilott (Mark Ruffalo). He was a lawyer that typically acted for chemical corporations. He was an environmental lawyer—for the wrong side!

Bilott was persuaded to go to the other side by a friend of the family, a West Virginia dairy farmer Wilbur Tennant (Bill Camp), who was profoundly angered by what happened to his cows. His cows were strangely dying in horrible ways on land he farmed. He was suspicious. Something was wrong. It was a mystery and Bilott was intrigued. Like a relentless detective  on the trail of truth. And the truth is ugly and leads to an astonishingly long drawn out legal battle against a corporate giant and weak government regulators.

Tennant was unable to get help from anyone before Bilott. No veterinary or lawyer would talk to him. DuPont owned the town and the town was grateful for the ownership. People did not want to rock the boat. It got good paying jobs and security. But did it get something else too? Something less benign?

The corporate giant at the heart of the case, DuPont, never admitted liability or wrongdoing, but it did pay hundreds of millions of dollars for harm caused to animals, property, and people as a result of their chemicals ending up in a local stream and drinking water. The chemical central to the case is called PFOA short for perfluorooctanoic acid. It is a chemical that was entirely unregulated.

In the lawsuit Bilott asked for and got an order requiring DuPont to provide all relevant documents to Bilott. But he got more than he bargained for—110,00 pages of documents! He was literally swamped with paper. It took him months to just sift through the papers. Information in those papers did not come out easily.

It took 16 years for the case to wind through the courts, but of course all the resulting lawsuits have not been completed. Far from it in fact. Many of the parties involved died before judgment of the court was delivered, including Wilbur Tennant.

Yet with enormous—no heroic—work Bilott found a story. Sometimes, I am proud to say, lawyers are heroes. This was one of those times. According to Rich’s articles this was the story:

‘‘I started seeing a story,’’ Bilott said. ‘‘I may have been the first one to actually go through them all. It became apparent what was going on: They had known for a long time that this stuff was bad.’’

DuPont used TFOA in its wonder product Teflon. According to Rich, it was the source of about $1 billion in annual profits for DuPont. Worth defending with vigour. And that is what DuPont with the aid of their team of expensive lawyers did. They defended in the American style—with overwhelming force as the Powell doctrine demands.

PFOA, although unregulated at the time had some very interesting properties. According to Rich,

“PFOA’s peculiar chemical structure made it uncannily resistant to degradation. It also bound to plasma proteins in the blood, circulating through each organ in the body.”

 For decades DuPont had been dumping it into their own landfill near Tennant’s property and that in turn drained into a local creek. As Rich explained:

 “By 1990, DuPont had dumped 7,100 tons of PFOA sludge into Dry Run Landfill. DuPont’s scientists understood that the landfill drained into the Tennants’ remaining property, and they tested the water in Dry Run Creek. It contained an extraordinarily high concentration of PFOA.”

The court ordered an independent scientific analysis of Tennant’s claims that the harm was caused by DuPont’s chemicals and that report blamed poor animal husbandry on the part of Tennant instead of the chemicals. But DuPont had not been entirely forthcoming in disclosing information for the scientific panel to make its determination. The fight should have been over here. But Bilott was as relentless as a bulldog with its teeth in a human leg.

Bilott kept digging and as he kept digging he kept finding interesting stuff. Watch the movie or read the article to find the details and they are fascinating. Well worth the read or view. And he discovered a lot of people that were harmed. Horrendous birth defects and worse. An interesting little scene showed an adult person with horrible birth defects who had been shown in a photograph as a young baby in the film. The actual adult man, played himself as a happy-go-lucky gas jockey.

Here is Bilott’s side of the story according to Rich:

‘‘I was irritated,’’ he says.

DuPont was nothing like the corporations he had represented at Taft in the Superfund cases. ‘‘This was a completely different scenario. DuPont had for decades been actively trying to conceal their actions. They knew this stuff was harmful, and they put it in the water anyway. These were bad facts.’’ He had seen what the PFOA-tainted drinking water had done to cattle. What was it doing to the tens of thousands of people in the areas around Parkersburg who drank it daily from their taps? What did the insides of their heads look like? Were their internal organs green?

Tennant’s suit was eventually finalized after 16 years, but this film actually raises a much bigger question. Or even two. I will talk about that in my next blog.

London has Fallen: the logic of terrorism

 

This film starts with news that there has been a horrific terrorist attack by Pakistani terrorists. The Americans promptly retaliate in the inexorable logic of terrorists and states—it launches a drone attack a wedding of the daughter of the presumed arms supplier of terrorists. He sternly asserts to his son, “vengeance must always be profound and absolute.” No one questions that logic. The young Americans in Nevada controlling the drone act exactly like young boys with video games and congratulate themselves when the attack is over. The guests of the wedding have been slaughtered.

It matters not that the victims of the American attack are ordinary people, young old, men, women, and children. In fact, this is never questioned through the balance of the film, except of course by the Pakistani’s who vow revenge, extending again the dubious logic of reprisal. Of course it is also presumed that the Pakistanis are evil for attacking the leaders of the free world, including most importantly the bravely heroic young American President. Why is that evil and America revenge “natural”? This is the unanswered question behind this movie.

The Pakistani arms dealer is evil because he supplies arms to terrorists. The leaders of the free world, who supply many times more arms to terrorists around the world, are somehow good and innocent. That’s because they are on “our” side.  We are always the good guys. One side has heroes; the other has villains. What distinguishes them?

The entire film displays one group of killers killing another such group. No one questions this. The film is technically good, and morally bankrupt. A perfect film for a post-ethical world. Watch it if you like.

 

Knives Out

 

Knives Out was a gorgeous film. I enjoyed it immensely even if for me it failed to deliver the truth. So what? What films do that? But detective stories are supposed to do that. Aren’t they?

The film is a fine replica of an Agatha Christies’ whodunit. The setting is in and around a modern gothic New England manor home where the family of a wealthy author, Harlan Thrombey (Christopher Plummer), have gathered for his 85th birthday. And, of course, the patriarch dies. At first it seems to be a suicide, but we all know better without knowing anything.

Around a reading of the will, the family is unsurprisingly a bunch of predatory rats. They are called “self-made over-achievers.” None is as appealing as last week’s laundry. As was said, “a will reading is like community theatre production of a tax return.” But in this case that is an underestimate as we get to watch the family teeth come out.

There is one sympathetic character Marta (Ana de Armas) the nurse of the writer. She has a surprising characteristic. She has a “regurgitative reaction to mistruths.” In other words she vomits whenever she hears a lie. Blanc says, “Cruel or comforting this machine unerringly arrives at the truth. That’s what it does.” What Detective would not pay a handsome fee for that? What philosopher would not like such a machine? Or theologian. Or maybe  they might not want it.

The detective is Benoit Blanc (Daniel Craig), smirking, smoking cigars flipping coins and bumbling towards the truth. He has an unlikely southern accent. One of the sons, Ransom (Chris Evans) calls him the “CSI-KFC.” Blanc assures the family “my being here is purely ornamental, I am a quiet passive observer of the truth.” Just like us in the audience. Isn’t that what we all want to be?

There is a second peculiar mystery. Why is he there? There are police in charge of the investigation but they lean on Blanc even though he does not seem to be the sharpest pencil in the case. Who hired him and why?

The detective story is of course a classic genre if there ever was one. A search for the holy grail of truth. The detective has the task of leading us to it. That’s his job. As Benoit says, “this is a twisted world and we’re not finished untangling it yet.” He also said something like: ‘we must be patient until the truth slides off Gravity’s rainbow to subdue the sodden earth.’ I hope I got that line right. That line puzzled me. The rainbow of the book, I have been told, was the shape of the Nazi V2 rockets of World War II that everyone feared but  ultimately failed to deliver their cargo of deaths because the allies captured the facilities before they were ever used. Most think the shape of the rockets is the basis for the name of the book–Gravity’s Rainbow.

As Thomas Pynchon said in that book,

“But it is a curve each of them feels, unmistakably. It is the parabola. They must have guessed, once or twice—guessed and refused to believe—that everything, always, collectively, had been moving toward that purified shape latent in the sky, that shape of no surprise, no second chances, no return. Yet they do move forever under it, reserved for its own black-and-white bad news certainly as if it were the Rainbow, and they its children. . . ”

The rainbow then was the shape of death. Or perhaps, near death, something not as a fierce. Or maybe I don’t know what I’m talking about.

Spenser Confidential

 

 

It’s difficult for me to decide what to think about the  new Netflix  film, Spenser Confidential, starring Mark Wahlberg. The reason is that I have been fan—not a rabid fan—but a modest fan of the Spenser series of Detective novels written by Robert Parker. The problem is that this film is loosely—very loosely—based on the characters in that series namely Spenser and his buddy Hawk. In truth the only resemblance to that series of novels is the fact that Spenser is a detective, or at least is investigating a murder, and he likes boxing. The only resemblance between Hawk in the novel series and the film is that they are both black and big and tough. I don’t know why the film makers bothered using the same names. They must have paid for the rights to do that, but there is very little connection. There is also very little connection between this film and a TV series starring Robert Ulrich as Spenser either. That series did have a strong resemblance to the novel series. This weird fact mystified me.

Now getting down to the film. I liked it. I like it a lot. It had great humour particularly involving Spenser and his rough foul-mouthed wife. I also liked the humour between Spenser and his new pal Hawk. The mystery Spenser tried to solve was hardly worth our attention.

All in all, the film was amusing and funny. Not a bad combination actually. I recommend you see it. Just don’t expect anything like the previous Spenser series.

Freedom: Where is it?

 

In the community we lived in this winter, Johnson Ranch, Arizona, they have a lot of rules about what you can and cannot do. Fro example, we learned that there were a lot of picky community rules about the color of buildings—all tan. No other colors allowed except slightly different shades. So it seemed to me. At the community swimming pool we were asked to vote on which color of wall we liked best. And they were all basically the same.

They have rules about what kind of plants you can grow on your yard. You have to choose from an approved list.

They make available a book of such rules. Its pretty big. Apparently local Nazis enforce those rules. Sort of like Seinfeld’s Soup Nazi. I wondered, where is the freedom America loves so much? Doesn’t anyone care about freedom any more.Has it been sold  for sake of conformity. Everyone should be the same.

This reminds me of a song by Pete Seeger:

Little Boxes

Little boxes on the hillside
Little boxes made of ticky tacky
Little boxes
Little boxes
Little boxes all the same
There’s a green one and a pink one
And a blue one and a yellow one
And they’re all made out of ticky tacky
And they all look just the same

And the people in the houses all go to the university
And they all get put in boxes, little boxes all the same
And there’s doctors and there’s lawyers
And business executives
And they’re all made out of ticky tacky and they all look just the same
And they all play on the golf course and drink their martini dry
And they all have pretty children and the children go to school
And the children go to summer camp
And then to the university
And they all get put in boxes, and they all come out the same
And the boys go into business and marry and raise a family
And they all get put in boxes, little boxes all the same

There’s a green one, and a pink one
And a blue one and a yellow one
And they’re all made out of ticky tacky
And they all look just the same

This is not just an American problem. Canadians are just Americans on Prozak. Canadian are just not as loud about freedom.

Where has all the freedom gone? Long time passing.

Social Distancing

 

Social Distancing

Until a week or two ago I had never heard of social distancing. Now I know social distancing. Chris and I have been self-isolating for 10 of the required 14 days as required. About once a month we usually get together with a group of 6 or more people that we call “the Collective”. We usually go to Smitty’s Restaurant and Bar where we enjoy beer and wings or wine and wings and most of all great conversation. We have lots of fun. We all miss that now that we are required to commit to social distancing. But it is hard. One of our group had the bright idea to continue our meetings virtually. She bought chicken wings for each couple and we agreed to get together on line. And we did.

You know what? It was great fun. Maybe one of the best collective meetings ever. Maybe we should try that with different groups. Why not?

 

Are we repeating what Europeans did to Indigenous People in the “New World?”

 

I have been blogging a lot about the incredible destruction by Europeans of Indigenous people of the western hemisphere after they first made contact. Lately I have wondered if the descendants of those Europeans, together with the immigrants who came from the west and their descendants have been unwittingly repeating the crime some 500 years later. Only this time they are doing it again to indigenous people but also to the rest of us. Are we doing it to ourselves in other words?

Kate Jones and her team of researchers found that 335 new diseases emerged between 1960 and 2004, and at least 60% came from animals. There is really nothing surprising about this. Many human diseases evolved from contact with animals. Europeans much more than people in the western hemisphere domesticated animals for centuries. As a result over millennia they developed immunities to many of those diseases. When they arrived in the “New World” and contacted people in the new world who did not have that long history of contact with such animals and as a result had on immunities to the diseases the Europeans brought with, they were devastated by the diseases. Within a century 95% of the indigenous people were dead according to some experts.

As John Vidal reported in the Guardian:

“Research suggests that outbreaks of animal-borne and other infectious diseases such as Ebola, SARS, bird flu and now COVID-19, caused by a novel coronavirus, are on the rise. Pathogens are crossing from animals to humans, and many are able to spread quickly to new places. The US Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) estimates that three-quarters of new or emerging diseases that infect humans originate in animals.”

Kate Jones has discovered that these zoonotic diseases are increasingly linked to environmental changes caused by human activity. We disrupt pristine forests by logging, mining, and road buildings through remote areas without paying any attention to what we are doing. We think the world is ours for the taking. We see ourselves as lords of the universe with the divine right to do with it as we please. By doing that we bring people into ever closer contact with animal species we have never encountered before. As a result we have built up no immunities to any new diseases or pathogens they carry just like the Indigenous people of the Americans when the first European explores arrived. Could that happen again and basically for the same reason? Are we doing to ourselves what we carelessly did to the indigenous people of the western hemisphere? It’s beginning to look that way.

Maybe we need a new attitude to nature.

Messing with Nature

 

I have been reading David Quammen for years, going back to the good old days of Outside Magazine. A while ago he wrote the book Spillover: Animal Infections and the Next Pandemic, about pandemics. Needless to say, today he is in hot demand. He also recently wrote in the New York Times “We invade tropical forests and other wild landscapes, which harbour so many species of animals and plants – and within those creatures, so many unknown viruses. We cut the trees; we kill the animals or cage them and send them to markets. We disrupt ecosystems, and we shake viruses loose from their natural hosts. When that happens, they need a new host. Often, we are it.”

 All I say to that is, “ouch.”

The nCoV-2019 virus was first isolated and identified in Wuhan China in 2019. The “n” in the name stood for “novel.” Now people are calling it COVID 19. It was found in a seafood and live animal market in Wuhan. I remember seeing such markets while I visited China. I found them amazing and disturbing. Probably that was because they were so foreign to me. I thought at the time that they had the strangest animals available for purchase for food. But that is all a matter of what we are used to.

Quammen reported how despite the virus’s name it is actually not as novel a virus as we might think. Something very similar was discovered by a group of researchers in a cave in Yunnan about 1,000 miles southwest of Wuhan about 10years ago. They noted its existence with concern. The virus they determined emerged from a “non-human animal probably a bat, and possibly after passing through another creature, may seem spooky, yet is utterly unsurprising to scientists who study these things.”

Zheng-Li Shi, of the Wuhan Institute of Virology is part of a team of researchers, that identified COVID-19 was also part of the team that showed the SARS pathogen was a bat virus that had spilled over into people. “ Ms. Shi and colleagues have been tracing coronaviruses in bats since then, warning that some of them are uniquely suited to cause human pandemics.” They found that COVID-19 is

“possibly even more dangerous to humans than the other coronaviruses. I say “possibly” because so far, not only do we not know how dangerous it is, we can’t know. Outbreaks of new viral diseases are like the steel balls in a pinball machine: You can slap your flippers at them, rock the machine on its legs and bonk the balls to the jittery rings, but where they end up dropping depends on 11 levels of chance as well as on anything you do. This is true with coronaviruses in particular: They mutate often while they replicate, and can evolve as quickly as a nightmare ghoul.”

Researchers say they have been raising the flag on these viruses for 15 years. Many of them are frustrated that their warnings have been largely ignored.

Peter Dasak a scientist with a private firm, has said the research shows “these viruses are making the jump, repeatedly, from bats to humans.”

 Quammen drew the following conclusion,

“In other words, this Wuhan emergency is no novel event. It’s part of a sequence of related contingencies that stretches back into the past and will stretch forward into the future, as long as current circumstances persist. So when you’re done worrying about this outbreak, worry about the next one. Or do something about the current circumstances.”

Those “current circumstances” Quammen points out,

“include a perilous trade in wildlife for food, with supply chains stretching through Asia, Africa and to a lesser extent, the United States and elsewhere. That trade has now been outlawed in China, on a temporary basis; but it was outlawed also during SARS, then allowed to resume — with bats, civets, porcupines, turtles, bamboo rats, many kinds of birds and other animals piled together in markets such as the one in Wuhan.

Current circumstances also include 7.6 billion hungry humans: some of them impoverished and desperate for protein; some affluent and wasteful and empowered to travel every which way by airplane. These factors are unprecedented on planet Earth: We know from the fossil record, by absence of evidence, that no large-bodied animal has ever been nearly so abundant as humans are now, let alone so effective at arrogating resources. And one consequence of that abundance, that power, and the consequent ecological disturbances is increasing viral exchanges — first from animal to human, then from human to human, sometimes on a pandemic scale.

We invade tropical forests and other wild landscapes, which harbor so many species of animals and plants — and within those creatures, so many unknown viruses. We cut the trees; we kill the animals or cage them and send them to markets. We disrupt ecosystems, and we shake viruses loose from their natural hosts. When that happens, they need a new host. Often, we are it.”

 Quammen also reminds us of another important fact: that is that too many of us in the west, especially in Canada and the United States have erroneously believed for too long, that our continent is a fortress that keeps us immune from illnesses and problems that plague the rest of the unfortunate world. As Quammen says, the fact is that

“The distance from Wuhan or the Amazon to Paris, Toronto or Washington is short for some viruses, measured in hours, given how well they can ride within airplane passengers. And if you think funding pandemic preparedness is expensive, wait until you see the final cost of nCoV-2019.”

We don’t know what will happen. This too may pass. But we must be more alert to political leaders who cut funding for scientific research or disband important health teams in order to keep our taxes as low as possible. Low taxes are not always a good thing. Quammen has another important warning:

“We must remember, when the dust settles, that nCoV-2019 was not a novel event or a misfortune that befell us. It was — it is — part of a pattern of choices that we humans are making.”

We have to be careful when we mess with Mother Nature. We have to learn to work with nature, not against it. We have to be smart. We have to pay attention to our scientists. When we make public policy decisions we have to be guided by the best science and not let it be overridden by what we hear from ignorant television pundits.

COVID-19 and Wildlife Trade

 

There is yet another problem with human activities. Besides our disruption of natural places like forests, we bring in animals, often strange animals, into our cities and towns and put them together when they have never been together before. and they have never been together with us. Sometimes species jump from one species to another and then to humans, with devastating effect. As I learned from listening to David Quammen on National Public Radio often the route to us is through an intermediary species. This is a particular problem in Asia with something I have seen—wet markets.

 These are informal markets that have sprung up in part because people in Asia often lack refrigerators or distrust them. I don’t want to demonize them. People in Asia need them. There animals are slaughtered, cut up and sold on the spot and then hung up. Or sometimes they are kept alive until the buyer arrives and wants one killed. In Asia people believe in fresh, not refrigeration. As they are hanging they often defecate on the other species below them. This is how a petri dish for pathogens is inadvertently created. Again as a result of humans who recklessly don’t care what they do to other species. Apparently there was a wet market in Wuhan where the coronavirus was first discovered to have infected humans. 

As Thomas Gillespie Professor of environmental sciences at Emory University said, “Wet markets make a perfect storm for cross-species transmission of pathogens. Whenever you have novel interactions with a range of species in one place, whether that is in a natural environment like a forest or a wet market, you can have a spillover event.”

The wet market in Wuhan sold numerous wild animals including wolf pups, salamanders, crocodiles, scorpions, rats, squirrels, foxes, civets and turtles and many others. To us those seem like very exotic creatures. To Asians not so much. In Africa they add monkeys, bats, rats, and dozens of bird species as well as other mammals, insects and rodents. It is all a matter of what you are accustomed to.

Scientist Kate Jones also said “The wet market in Lagos is notorious. It’s like a nuclear bomb waiting to happen. But it’s not fair to demonise places that do not have fridges. These traditional markets provide much of the food for Africa and Asia.” Others say that wild animal trade is a much bigger problem.

Pogo was right: I found the enemy and the enemy is us!

The bottom line, according to Brian Bird, a research virologist at the University of California is that we must be prepared. As he said, “We can’t predict where the next pandemic will come from, so we need mitigation plans to take into account the worst possible scenarios, the only certain thing is that the next one will certainly come.” We should not be cutting back on research and preparedness as the Americans did recently. We should be expanding our preparedness.

My point is simply that all of this points to careless human activities. Too many people just don’t care how we interact with other species. After all we are the lords of the earth. Aren’t we? That is the attitude that has got us into trouble. We need a new attitude to nature. One that is more respectful, more modest.