Tuesday, May 29, 2007

Lismullen henge

I joined the green pen brigade today when I wrote a politician an email. I sent Dick Roche the minister for the environment the text below. He has the right to remove the newly discovered Lismullen henge. I think people and particularly politicians (who have five year life cycles) do not have the cognitive architecture needed to make such decisions.

I am writing to you in relation to the planned motorway in the Tara-Skryne valley. I would however like you to consider how your decisions will look to someone at the same remove from us as we are to the creators of the original megalithic monuments.
The Long Now organisation asks people to think about how their actions will affect the long term future. To illustrate how we can affect the future they are building a clock designed to run for ten millennia. This "clock of the long now" costs millions of dollars and will serve as a tourist attraction. The megalithic sites of Ireland are a form of clock of the long now that have already operated for over five millennia.

Economists describe the daily discount rate as the amount of consumption we are willing to put off today to save for later. Cats, who have a very low daily discount rate, will gorge and starve rather then ration food over a period of time. Humans however are capable of seeing how our decisions now will affect the future. It is rare that we make a decision that we know will have consequences more then a few decades from now. You however have a decision to make about preserving Lismullen henge in the Tara-Skryne valley that you know will affect the world for millennia. I ask you to consider the geological timeframe that the consequences of any decision on this site will persist.

1 comment:

Bionic Laura said...

Very true. They are clearing irreplaceable things for a motorway. Who knows what the life span of cars are. What with global warming we could all have hydrogen powered gliders in 50 years. It's not long term thinking.