Thanks to my sister Michelle McIlroy for designing the logo!


Ever since I was a child, I have been very interested in nature and the environment. I have a B.S. degree in wildlife biology, and have worked as a zookeeper, wildlife biologist, and ecologist. I am conducting a brief survey of world leaders, government officials, religious leaders, corporate CEOs, environmental groups, wildlife experts, and others regarding nature and the environment. I am also very interested in religious views, customs, and beliefs from around the world, and the interactions between religion, culture, society, and the environment. This is something I am doing out of personal interest, and is not connected to any group or organization. I have been working on this project since the summer of 2006, and hope to eventually turn it into a book and/or documentary. I am hoping to make this into a global project, with responses from all segments of society. Feel free to contact me directly if you have any questions or comments. If you have not already done so, I hope that you will consider taking part in my project, and please spread the word to anyone you think might be interested! Thanks for stopping by!


July 14, 2006

John Michael Greer

Grand Archdruid, Ancient Order of Druids in America

Today’s Date: 13 July 2006

1. What interaction with an animal and/or nature in your life has had the biggest impact on you?
Hard to say. I grew up in the Puget Sound region of Washington state in the days before it got turned into a wetter equivalent of LA, and nature was all around me all through my childhood. The suburbs where my family lived still had patches of undeveloped woodland, and we camped and hiked frequently in the Cascade and Olympic Mountains and on the Pacific coast. During my teens and twenties, though, I watched the whole region sell out its natural beauty, its clean air and water, and its quality of life for the sake of "growth." That was a defining experience for me, but it was an interaction with human society, not nature.

2. Did you have a favorite place in the great outdoors during your childhood?

The ocean beaches north of Gray's Harbor, on the Pacific coast, where we spent a lot of summers during my childhood. To my mind that's still the most beautiful place in the world.


See above.

3. As a former zookeeper, I would love to know what your favorite animal is, and why?

The mouse-eared bat, Myotis lucifugus. Bats are amazingly elegant creatures and it's a joy to watch them dance in the air -- besides which, any animal that eats its own body weight in mosquitoes every evening is a friend of mine.

4. What do you think is the greatest environmental challenge facing us now, and what do you think will be the greatest challenge in the future?

I'll have to preface this by saying that I don't believe in the mythology of progress -- the claim that our civilization will just keep on getting more advanced, more powerful, and more mechanized, until it either blows itself up or metastasizes across the galaxy in some sort of Star Trek fantasy future. In my view, industrial civilization peaked in the second half of the 20th century and now faces a long downward slope of decline and fall, like every civilization before it. From that perspective, the present as well as the future take on a very different appearance.

The greatest environmental challenge facing us now is our culture's inability to realize that nature is a community to which we belong, not a commodity that we can own. Most of industrial society's dysfunctional relationship with nature comes from the delusion that we're separate from nature, that we don't depend on it for anything but amenities. Even in economic terms that's complete nonsense -- one good study showed that human beings get something like 33 trillion dollars a year in "free" goods and services from nature, which is around four times the value of all human-produced goods and services -- and of course on a deeper level it's nonsense, pernicious nonsense, as well. Human beings are never quite healthy or sane when they try to hold themselves apart from nature.

The greatest environmental challenge in the future will be dealing with the ecological legacies of our current dysfunctional relationship to nature. Industrial society, as I've suggested above, has peaked and is beginning the long downward slope of decline. One implication of this is that the long-term impacts of our current abuse of the environment will have to be dealt with by people who have fewer resources and less economic capacity than we do now. It's hard enough to deal with global warming, toxic waste contamination, and the like now -- imagine having to do it with an economy in long-term decline and a society strained to the limits by its own dysfunctions! Still, that's the world we've made for our children and grandchildren, and for their descendants centuries on into the future.

5. If you could give everyone one piece of advice regarding the environment and our natural resources, what would it be?

You don't need as much as you think you need. You've been conned into thinking that happiness can be bought at a store in the form of an endless torrent of wretched consumer gewgaws, and it can't. Stop, think, pay attention to what actually matters, and you may just discover that a simpler life that does much less damage to the earth is more satisfying and more filled with delights than the work-buy-consume-die treadmill you're on.

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