The Maine Woods

A Publication of the Forest Ecology Network

 Volume Four     Number One                           Late Winter 2000

 A Letter from the Editor

by Paul Donahue

A lot has happened in the world since our last issue went to press in September, not the least of which is the fact that we have entered into the next millennium. As we start down the trail of this next thousand years, this might be a good time to ask where life on Earth stands? Given that the last year of the past millennium was not exactly what one could call promising, what changes will the next thousand years bring to the planet? Will the human race still be around a thousand years from now? And if we are, how different will things be? How many of the millions of other life forms with which we share the planet will still exist?

While hope and optimism are important, to determine where we are going to end up, we need to make a realistic assessment of where we are today and the direction in which we are heading. In the words of Lisa Gosselin of Audubon magazine, the good news is that, "Despite our best efforts, humans haven't managed to destroy the planet. Not yet." But the window of opportunity for correcting our course is rapidly closing. The next two or three decades could well be the most important in human history.

The big question as we enter into the next thousand years of human existence is whether or not will we recognize Earth's natural limits and finally learn to live in harmony and balance with Nature?....or, blinded by ignorance, greed, and selfishness, will we continue to make the same egregious mistakes over and over and over again?

The WTO protests in Seattle showed the way forward for many of the struggles which are taking place throughout the world against the forces leading to social and environmental disaster. It showed the strength that can be developed through coordinated action. It showed that people from all cultures can come together when there is a common and deeply felt objective. And it showed the inherent weakness of the seemingly invincible alliance of corporations, multilateral organizations and governments working to destroy the planet in the name of profit. By building on the success of Seattle, there is hope for the next thousand years.

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