A Conversation With Theodore Roszak
One of the paradoxes of our conception of progress is that, as time goes on, our society produces people more ecologically illiterate than people ever have been in the past. Widespread ecological illiteracy is one of the roots of our environmental crisis. Many people simply do not understand the biological foundations of their own survival.
As Marx himself knew, sheer physical discomfort is not the worst form of suffering. Greater by far is the hardship that results when privation is due to injustice, incompetence, corruption. Then the pain is compounded by the indignity of victimization.
We gathered in the Round House, a covered amphitheater dug into a hill, and sat on earthen benches. Four huge tree trunks in the middle of the room supported the wooden beams of the roof, which, like a tepee, was open in the center to the sky. Beneath the opening burned a large ceremonial fire.
Finally it occurred to me that the landscapes looked unfamiliar because in 1920 there were no trees. The forested hillsides and lake shores I’d believed to be ancient sanctuaries of wild beauty had been stripped bare only twenty years before my birth.