Ecosystem Dynamics and the Management of Landscapes at Different Temporal and Spatial Scales

Western Civilization has reached a "watershed" in its history of co-evolution with nature. In three hundred years, since Faust, Goethe’s masterful epic poem was birthed from legend, humans have employed science as a means to subdue and exploit nature. Faust is about man’s mastery of scientific reason and its double-edged role in search of human salvation. Throughout Faust, Goethe centers not on the "Word ," but on the “Deed” as the final measure of man’s worth. Employing his human reasoning through science to achieve fame and fortune, the aging Faust turns his attention to serving humanity as he contemplates his final fate. Ironically, in his concluding work, he chooses to defy the ocean by reclaiming rich tidal lands from the sea, and in the process has two Greek mythological figures (Baucis and Philemon ) killed whose cabin and chapel were ostensibly in the path of this project. To that end, Faust’s detached intellectual hubris and self-absorbed character leaves a legacy of unrepentant transgressions – repeated failures to learn from experience – against his fellow humans and nature; finally cursed and blinded by the "Specter Care." As Western civilization embarks on the 21st Century, the prophetic curse of the phantom Care on the Faustian "scientific" character still epitomizes the human predicament – unwillingness to embrace error in the life of our societies and adapt. Download the complete document below.