Since the counterculture '60s, Stewart Brand has been creating our internet-worked world. Now, with biotech accelerating four times faster than digital technology, Stewart Brand has a bold new plan ...
With biotech accelerating four times faster than digital technology, the revival of extinct species is becoming possible. Stewart Brand plans to not only bring species back but restore them to the wild.
Brand is already a legend in the tech industry for things he’s created: the Whole Earth Catalog, The WELL, the Global Business Network, the Long Now Foundation, and the notion that “information wants to be free.” Now Brand, a lifelong environmentalist, wants to re-create -- or “de-extinct” -- a few animals that’ve disappeared from the planet.
Granted, resurrecting the woolly mammoth using ancient DNA may sound like mad science. But Brand’s Revive and Restore project has an entirely rational goal: to learn what causes extinctions so we can protect currently endangered species, preserve genetic and biological diversity, repair depleted ecosystems, and essentially “undo harm that humans have caused in the past.”
His newest book is Whole Earth Discipline: An Ecopragmatist Manifesto.
"Brand has always been much more of an iconoclast than an icon."Stanford Social Innovation Review, Winter 2010
“As you gain elevation [on the mountain] your IQ goes down — but your emotional affect goes up, which is great for having a mythic experience, whether you want to or not.”
“It would be helpful if humanity got into the habit of thinking of the now not just as next week or next quarter, but the next 10,000 years and the last 10,000 years — basically civilization’s story so far.”
“There should always be in sight the draw — a kind of a beacon that draws you on through the labyrinth.”
“[Wind energy] takes a very large footprint on the land, five to 10 times what you’d use for nuclear, and typically to get one gigawatt of electricity is on the order of 250 square miles of wind farm.”
“If all of your electricity in your lifetime came from nuclear [energy], the waste from that lifetime of electricity would go in a Coke can.”
“National Geographic has the theory that [in] the last century, discovery was basically finding things, and in this century, discovery is basically making things. De-extinction falls in that category.”
“The technology of synthetic biology is currently accelerating at four times the rate of Moore's Law. It's been doing that since 2005, and it's likely to continue.”
“Humans have made a huge hole in nature in the last 10,000 years. [With de-extinction,] we have the ability now, and maybe the moral obligation, to repair some of the damage.”