Bill Mollison

If you let people loose in a landscape and tell them to choose a house site, half of them will go sit on the ridges where they’ll die in the next fire, or where you can’t get water to them. Or they’ll sit in all the dam sites. Or they’ll sit in all the places that will perish in the next big wind.

A great many film stars perched on unstable ravine edges in the canyon systems of Los Angeles will, like the cemeteries there, eventually slide down to join their unfortunate fellows in the canyon floors, with mud, cars, and embalmed or living film stars in one glorious muddy mass. We should not lend our talents to creating such spectacular catastrophes.

You can hit a nail on the head, or cause a machine to do so, and get a fairly predictable result. Hit a dog on the head, and it will either dodge, bite back, or die, but it will never again react in the same way. We can predict only those things we set up to be predictable, not what we encounter in the real world of living and reactive processes.

Life is also busy transporting and overturning the soils of earth, the stones, and the minerals. The miles-long drifts of sea kelp that float along our coasts may carry hundreds of tons of volcanic boulders held in their roots. I have followed these streams of life over 300 km, and seen them strand on granite beaches, throwing their boulders up on a 9,000 year old pile of basalt, all the hundreds of tons of which were carried there by kelp.