Becoming invisible

Becoming invisible

In an interview with Dr. Brian Goodwin, he talked about the human race becoming largely invisible. Brian passed away in 2009, but I’m sure his vision, or large elements of it, live on with many of us:

I had this vision of the human race becoming largely invisible on the planet. This would be my vision 30 years from now. We are extremely visible, and we have a very high influence on the state of the planet as we all know, in terms of pollution, global warming, light pollution, noise pollution. I mean the poor cetaceans in the ocean, the whales and dolphins, are just bombarded with noise all the time. We are extremely visible and audible on the planet.

Dr Brian Goodwin in 1991
Dr John Goodwin in 1992. Photo by John Farnham [CC BY-SA 3.0 (, via Wikimedia Commons

So my vision for 30 years from now is that human beings will be largely invisible. Now that seems like an extraordinary vision, and I don’t know how we are going to get there in detail, but it’s a bit like the deer and the badgers, the squirrels and most of nature, there are plenty of them around but they are largely invisible because they have a different lifestyle. I’m not talking about a Rousseau ‘back to nature’, I’m talking about using appropriate technology, natural materials and energy to achieve a lifestyle in which we blend with the natural world, we have learnt how to live in a way that other species have, and therefore have reduced our footprint, decreasing it dramatically to the point where we are one amongst many instead of an absolutely dominant species..

How would we get from here to there?

I think we can see many of the elements that we need to put into plan to achieve that. The current mantra of ‘sustainability’, ecological sustainability, getting away from growth, is very important, in that all we have to use all of the resources available to us now. We have fantastic resources at the moment, and we could invest those in the technologies that we require in order to become invisible, to become integrated with the natural world in a much more reasonable way than we do now. I emphasise again that this does not mean going backwards. It means going forward to a very, very desirable, beautiful culture.

The technology we need to put in place, well we all know about it, it’s solar, wind, ecological buildings, using sustainable materials, redesigning everything that we make so that we don’t spread toxins around, we don’t have landfills, we are doing what the natural world does in terms on recycling, using energy efficiently, everything gets recycled, every product is functional and it is beautiful.

Above, Simon Dale’s natural house, built from stone, wood and strawbales, all from the local area. This shows how our footprint on the landscape can be lessened in more ways than one.