“We didn’t inherit this world from our ancestors;
we borrowed it from our children.”
A few days ago I happened across one of the most cogent analyses of the ultimate consequences of Anthropogenic Climate Disruption (ACD) — Climate Change — that I’ve seen to date. It’s written by Chris Hedges, posted on Truthdig.com, and entitled Evoking the Wrath of Nature.
Here is the portion that caught my attention. It is a precise summation of the undercurrent motives behind ACD (seldom if ever stated in the mass media) which drive those national attitudes that have enabled the cause(s) of ACD AND the resistance toward developing solutions before the consequences prove irreversible. On this continent, as Hedges notes, the causal attitudes date back to the arrival of the Europeans, [who were] driven by an avarice that blinded them to all but profit. . . .
The Europeans of the era ridiculed the beliefs of the American Indians, along with their communal structures, in which everything was shared and all had a voice in tribal decisions. They routinely referred to them as “savages” or “heathens.” They painted the militiamen who terrorized and slaughtered Indian communities as military heroes and agents of Christian civilization and progress. They scoffed at legends and beliefs like the one that the remarkable stillness of the lake at the base of Mount Chocorua was sacred to the Great Spirit and should not be violated by the sound of the human voice. The Europeans did not believe that nature could seek vengeance. They were sure they could domesticate and control the wilderness.
Mount Chocorua is named for the great chief Chocorua, one of the last of the Abenakis, who was killed around 1720. He was hounded to the summit of the mountain that now bears his name by white settlers and either shot or pushed off its precipice. He is reputed to have damned the Europeans before he died, saying: “May the Great Spirit curse you when he speaks in the clouds and his words are fire! May lightning blast your crops and wind and fire destroy your homes.”
Chocorua’s grim curse is now reality. Greenhouse gas concentrations, including carbon dioxide, methane and nitrous oxide, continue to rise. Last year was the hottest since we began scientifically tracking weather, and 2015 is expected to top 2014. Glaciers and ice sheets are melting at an accelerated rate, causing the oceans to rise. Even if we stop all carbon emissions today, some scientists say, sea levels will rise by 10 feet by 2065 and as much as 70 feet over the next couple of centuries. Major coastal cities such as Miami and New York will be underwater. Droughts plague huge swaths of the planet. Wildfires, fueled by parched forests, have been burning out of control in Southern California, Canada and Alaska. Monster cyclones and hurricanes, fed by warming air currents, are proliferating, ripping apart whole cities. Massive species extinction is underway. And we could face a planetary societal collapse due to catastrophic food shortages within the next three decades, according to Anglia Ruskin University’s Global Sustainability Institute. Food shortages are being driven by the warming of the planet, an ever-burgeoning population and “widespread shifts in consumption patterns as countries develop”—code for the growing and unsustainable global demand for animal protein as developing countries urbanize and income levels rise.
The blind, self-destructive exploitation that lies at the heart of capitalism, the placing of monetary profit above the maintenance of life, the refusal to understand and accept limits, have turned the victimizers into the victims. Ignoring the warnings of native communities, we have evoked the deadly wrath of nature. And I fear we may not be able to find our way back. (highlights mine)
Greed, combined with the biblical thesis that humans were granted by their God “dominion” over the earth, “dominion” over all of life, are proving to be a deadly combination. Today in this country, with the threat of ACD consequences becoming greater with each passing day, both the (principally right wing) “greed” and “Christian” segments of our society not only work endlessly to deny the scientific reality of ACD, they also leave no stones unturned in their collective efforts to (a) prevent any efforts to reduce carbon emissions, or to (b) rescind the many successful programs already in place — all in the hope of increasing profits and reducing costs, and all of which they do with the nearly full and complete support of the Republican Party. It’s interesting to note, for example, that virtually the entire GOP slate of 2016 presidential candidates — along with the vast bulk of their party’s congressional colleagues — proudly deny even the reality of ACD. “It’s a scientific hoax,” and “climate changes every day,” and “God will not allow . . .” etc. are bogus reasons most often cited as “fact.” The bottom line is that money and profit mean more than anything else on the planet, each and all of its myriad life forms included.
So: Whereto from here? Hedges’s concluding statements seem as fair an analysis of ACD consequences as I’ve yet seen or heard. He writes,
The world does not fit into the rational boxes we construct. It is beyond our control and finally our comprehension. Human beings are not the measure of all things. Existence is a mystery. All life is finite. All life is fragile. The ecosystem on Earth will die. It will be slain by our failure to protect it, or it will succumb to the vast array of natural forces . . . We have lost the capacity for reverence. We slew those who tried to warn us. Now we slay ourselves. (highlight mine)
Indeed, indeed. The haughtiness of unfettered Capitalism has set the stage for its own destruction even as it accepts the destruction of others it has orchestrated over the course of centuries. It seems more the pity that “we” are unable to learn, to follow the course of prosperous survival rather than that of ultimate destruction, of mass extinction. Why might that be? Is the human intellect too dense, too shallow, to comprehend the consequences of its actions?
No. It’s because there is and always has been PROFIT in destruction. And besides, God said . . . etc.
Chief Luther Standing Bear of the Teton Sioux pointed out the clear and obvious countermeasure when he said,
“For the Lakota, mountains, lakes, rivers, springs, valleys, and woods were all finished beauty. Winds, rain, snow, sunshine, day, night, and change of seasons were endlessly fascinating. Birds, insects, and animals filled the world with knowledge that defied the comprehension of man.”
Sounds good, but nope, no way. Ain’t no PROFIT in it.