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Volume 20 Issue 1 (January 2010)

GSA Today

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Article, pp. 12-14 | Full Text | PDF (149KB)

O brave new world: Geoscientists in an emerging green economy

Jean M. Bahr

Dept. of Geoscience, University of Wisconsin, 1215 W. Dayton Street, Madison, Wisconsin 53706-1692, USA

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The phrase “O brave new world” hearkens back to Shakespeare’s romantic comedy “The Tempest,” written almost 400 years ago. In that play, the maiden, Miranda, has been raised on a remote island with only her aging father, Prospero, and the deformed slave, Caliban, for company. A shipwreck brings the King of Naples, his son, Ferdinand, and others in their party to the island. When confronted with these newcomers in the final act of the play, Miranda exclaims with genuine, albeit somewhat naïve, delight “O wonder! How many goodly creatures are there here! How beauteous mankind is! O brave new world, that has such people in’t!” Some 300 years later, Aldous Huxley appropriated Miranda’s line as the title of a novel; however, in contrast to the delightful new world envisioned by Shakespeare’s character, Huxley’s brave new world was a dystopian nightmare of society and technology run amok. Which of these senses of the phrase should apply to an emerging green economy?

DOI: 10.1130/GSATPA09.1