Stuart McMillen, who wrote and drew that cool comic about reindeer on St. Matthew Island, has a new comic comparing human industry to ecological development after the Mt. St. Helens eruption. I know, it’s no gay X-Men wedding, but it’s really interesting! I promise!
McMillen’s thesis is that industry and ecosystems are analogous — each goes through three stages, and only the last stage is fully sustainable. Our society is based on Type II industry, and the area around Mt. St. Helens has only reached a Type II ecology in the wake of the famous disaster. But we both need to fast-forward to Type III if we’re going to make it. For Mt. St. Helens, that means an ecosystem in harmony, a balanced arrangement where flora and fauna are inter-reliant and no one species dominates. For industry, it means being able to run industries off their own waste (or each other’s), in a closed-loop system that constantly feeds and renews itself. In both cases, basically, it means sustainability.
These would be interesting enough ideas in an article or thesis, but in comic form they become accessible and charming (I like the Twin Peaks homage in the first panel, and the dismayed squirrel on page 22). I promise reading the comic will be more fun than reading my last paragraph.
- Type III , StuartMcMillen.com
Get Grist in your inbox