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I remember reading Rachel Carlson's Silent Spring in high school and sensed that there was something monumental about what she was saying, although I did not delve further into the subject then. Clearly, her message had some connection to social change, or rather to the ills of society and nature.
It would take several decades, however, before the fundamentality of the environment and the extent of the crisis deriving from its neglect would become clear to me.
That realization took place in 1987. I was in Nepal as part of an Israeli development cooperation mission and was staggered to see what was being done to that majestic country, so rich in natural resources yet its people so poor, under the banner of "development": Deforestation, land degradation, water and air pollution, biodiversity diminished. My worldview was proundly altered after witnessing the destruction.
A year later, when I started my doctoral work in geography, I decided to study the relationship between societies and their natural settings. I learned about global change and wrote my dissertation on the central role that society-nature relations play in authentic development. I began studying the sustainability literature.
It has since become abundantly apparent to me that the environmental crisis is as least as dangerous to the future of life on this planet as the nuclear age and the atomic bomb. I now realize that repairing the world is simultaneously a social, economic, cultural, spiritual pursuit, all having to do with the planet and the societies that inhabit it.
Some recent pieces on environmental issues written by meReporting On Poverty and Sustainability from the Rehovot Conference