While traveling through the mountains of West Virginia, I passed through an area of old strip mines and it brought to mind the ranting of radical environmentalists. To them, strip mines, development, and any other such desecrations of the natural, untouched, pristine world are the rape of mother earth. To them, such scars are permanent marks which never will be healed and are never to be forgiven. To them, human civilization is a scourge on the earth that only destroys. That type of speech is good for getting up the dander of a gullible population and stoking emotion for their cause, but such gross overstatement has a serious problem. Reality doesn't bear it out. As humans, we may not be able to envision the long-term changes in the natural world because it takes longer than our impatient human character cares to wait. There are very good reasons, however, to be optimistic about the future of the earth, of nature, and of the human race.