Sociology and Ecology
Thom Hartmann’s “Last Hours of Ancient Sunlight” talks about the issue of increasing degradation of the environment as a result of development in human society. In the book, Hartmann centers his attention on a particular aspect of natural resource that is vital to every human’s needs and activities — the much-needed energy, which come, among others, in the form of sunlight and fossil fuels (reserve carbon energy). One of the author’s main ideas and themes in his discussion of this issue (depletion of natural resources) is that human society, through its “dominant culture,” played a vital and significant role in furthering the degradation of the state of the planet’s physical landscape. Sing history as support evidence, Hartmann illustrates how human actions have indeed affected and caused the destruction of the Earth’s environment. A case in point is the use and abuse of human society in its natural resource of sunlight and fossil fuel energies. Through the utilization of natural sunlight, development in human society came in the form of the Agricultural Revolution, which provided people with means to provide food for themselves, in effect, increasing the survival rate of humans in a hostile environment. A similar case happened during the Industrial Revolution, which was prompted with the use of fossil fuels (another natural resource). At present, danger of the steady depletion of these natural resources led to the development of alternative sources of energy, which, unfortunately, will not serve as efficient solution to the problem. This is because, according to Hartmann, the culture of human society cultivates the attitude and way of using and abusing these natural resources. Changing this dominant culture is an effective way to solve one facet of the two-faceted dilemma of environment degradation and natural resource depletion on Earth. As Hartmann asserts, ” … now all of humanity is presented with a dizzying set of conflicting realities. What we choose to do about them will determine our future as a species. Consider these various ideas different people might have about life.”
Hartmann, T. (1999). The Last Hours of Ancient Sunlight. Thom Hartmann and Mythical Research Inc.