The Denver Post today printed an interesting op-ed today (“Green Homes Are Not So New”:, describing the history of sod houses on the prairie, with sunflowers growing on the roof, as well as past uses of passive solar technology in architecture, and implicitly comparing and contrasting that use of “green technologies” to today’s more sophisticated New Energy technologies.

Aside from presenting a fascinating little detail of Colorado history, the story also reminds me of the fact that much of what progress is involves rediscovering the essence of what we were and where we’re coming from, and applying it in more sophisticated ways to what we are becoming and where we’re going. Ultimately, we “emerged from” ecosystems (and remain, despite our delusions of exceptionalism, mere products of nature still ensconced within ecosystems), and are now striving to reintegrate ourselves in systemically sustainable ways back into those ecosystems, without sacrificing the prosperity that our rapacious exploitation of Nature’s bounty has enabled us to enjoy.

It is my belief that our social institutions and our technologies will increasingly come to resemble nature’s forms and functions ever more closely, eventually becoming fully reintegrated into the natural systems of which they are inevitably a part, preserving the benefits to us, while finding ways to eliminate the costs to the natural context which sustains us. In the process, we will better mimic the far-greater sophistication of natural systems, and increase the efficiency and effectiveness of our own human systems by doing so.

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