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A Natural History of Lifestyles

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“A people without the knowledge of their past history, origin and culture is like a tree without roots.“

— Marcus Garvey

Evolution is a slow process, requiring thousands of years to alter the smallest detail of the human body. Our lifestyles, by contrast, are changing at an accelerating pace.  With the advent of work-saving technologies in the Industrial Revolution in the 19th  Century, our connection to nature began to fade. And with the blossoming of information technology and biotech in recent decades, we have embraced industrial foods, electronic distractions, sedentary behavior and virtual relationships. Our fundamental relationship to nature, to neighbors and to ourselves is evolving exponentially.

With knowledge at our fingertips, we are on the verge of conquering hunger and disease, mastering convenience and expanding human capabilities. But technology has also broken the close-coupling of lifestyle to nature. I believe that the reason the pace of human evolution has increased in recent times is the intense pressure on our habitat. We now have to choose how to live, every moment of every day, largely without the benefit of nature’s compass.

 

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