6. What should be done?


The first and most important task of all planning should be the analysis of the following question (in my humble opinion):

What kind of beings do we humans want to be?

For example we have to discuss the question whether mankind should exist forever! Compared to the existence of the universe, mankind has been around (and is adapted for) only a rather short period. Less than 1% of all species that ever lived on planet earth still exist. Probably that is even an overestimation, as we probably do not know all the species which ever existed on earth!

If the only task is survival, then it is even foolhardy to think that mankind is more important than all other life-forms, which exist and existed so far on earth! It would be more consequent to allow mankind to decay, after optimal conditions for its existence have ceased!

Only if our task also includes the survival of human culture, human survival gains in importance.

If we decide on this task, then possibly the next question should be: In which form should mankind and its culture be "transferred into the future"?

Cloning of plants is common since centuries; partly by bedding out or cultivating wood. Cloning of useful or rare species, like aurochs, ocelot or panda is already in preparation, according to the magazine Scientific American (9) .


The transfer of frozen cyto- and sperm banks is already being practiced for a long time! Maybe we will one day even be able to revive an ancient Egyptian Pharaoh!

But genetic engineering is developing further. If not in Germany (see "Mankind, its own Creator? Word of the German conference of bishops regarding genetic engineering and biomedicine", 8.3.2001), then in other countries, who are still in need for money.

So future landscape planning will have to answer the question which life-forms we want to preserve in a traditional and which in a modern way.

If we revived one biological Pharaoh, aren't we obliged to revive also his culture? And can we also revive his knowledge, thoughts and feelings to create an appropriate way of life for him? And what will be our attitude to those species that would have to die for achieving this aim? Should we prevent their extinction? Should someone have prevented extinction of the dinosaurs - thereby preventing lots of mammals including mankind itself to originate?

In addition, it is to be expected that most of today's genes have survived the multiplicity of catastrophes by chance. This means, they have been "chosen" by chance. So very probably there could exist better genes=species than those existing today. Shouldn't we try to develop such species?

In an article for New York Times (10) Pollack writes about companies that are working on multisexual genetic engineering across different species. According to him, they have succeeded in mixing genes of over 26 different bacteria.

This does not mean the creation of "monsters". For example by mixing in genes from polar zones or out of geysers one tries to create plants which can survive in areas which by now cannot be cultivated. For example one could seed rice in the desert or bananas in the tundra.

It is also very probable that one day we can produce herbal products without plants or meat without animals (11) or enough food for every person on earth. By the way this is also one of the preconditions of mankind's flight into space).

Shouldn't landscape architects already start thinking about the question: "what to do with the landscape, when it stops to be needed for production?"

(9) Lanza, R. P./Dresser, B. L./Damiani, P., Cloning Noah´s Ark, in: Scientific American, Nov. 2000

(10) Pollack, A., Selling Evolution in Ways Darwin Never Imagined, in: New York Times, 28. Oct. 2000

(11) Easterbrook, G., Techno-Vegetarismus: Steaks aus der Retorte, in: FUTURE, Aventis-Magazin, 3/2000

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