September 26, 2011, here on slacktivist: ‘We know how to get out of this mess’
One thing that has always amazed me about the Dark Ages was how we managed to stop knowing so much of what we had previously known about, for example, sanitation.
One of the nice things about the Roman Empire was the way it didn’t require one to walk around ankle-deep in human excrement. Much of the former Roman Empire later opted to revert to having feces in the streets. I can’t believe that was a matter of preference. I don’t think people in Rome were muttering, “I wish the Empire would just fall already so we can get rid of this wretched sanitation and go back to raw sewage in the gutters.”
And yet that happened.
Europe knew how to solve the problem of sanitation and then, fairly suddenly, it stopped knowing how to solve that problem. And it took more than a thousand years of filth, stench and disease before they would figure it out again.
We seem to be doing the same thing right now. We’re ankle-deep in a mess we know how to fix, but we’ve chosen instead to pretend we don’t know how to fix it. That stinks.