ECOLOGIST'S PERSPECTIVE ON ELECTRICAL POWER. Page: 3 of 10
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function of the number and intensity of the interactions and we have seen
that these rise more than exponentially. To fill this need we build
governments with greater and greater complexities, piling rules and
restrictions on further rules and further restrictions until the rules be-
come so complicated that they are unworkable.
The problem of power is obviously very much larger than a series
of simple technical problems that can be solved within the context of
existing political and social systems. Simplifications and restraint are
required if we are not to watch society crumble of its own complexity.
Simplification is necessary to maintain the integrity of social systems.
Restraint is necessary because the environment is no longer so large that
it can be run by compromise among reasonable exploiters. We must now
consider the limits of the earth's natural systems, fitting our activities
into a finite world with much greater attention to basic laws of ecology.
And this is the principal point I wish to address.
We build our society into a matrix of natural living systems
that do a great deal toward stabilizing our environment and maintaining it
as a wholesome place for man. It seems reasonable to assume that the con-
tinuance of an environment that is congenial to our interests requires the
continuing function of the major living systems of the earth. How big can
human activities get with respect to the rest of life before the costs
become greater than man can pay and all aspects of life are progressively
degraded? It seems doubtful that we will succeed in substituting energy
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Woodwell, G.M. ECOLOGIST'S PERSPECTIVE ON ELECTRICAL POWER., report, April 30, 1973; Upton, New York. (https://digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metadc1030494/m1/3/: accessed April 18, 2019), University of North Texas Libraries, Digital Library, https://digital.library.unt.edu; crediting UNT Libraries Government Documents Department.