Traditional environmentalism is futile. The real solution is to dismantle our broken civilization and live a different type of life.
I stand before you as a broken man. But in brokenness comes humility and humility is the attribute I admire most. A key part of humility is to show respect to nature, animals, and one another. The lowest among us is the greatest among us.
Little bugs crawl on my kitchen counter and I observe these complex little organisms. I respect them, and they have just as much right to be here as we do. I love them because we are all connected by the web of life.
For years I thought the guilt that constantly torments me was instilled in me by my religious upbringing. But now I see it comes from a hyper-sense of responsibility. I want to save something I love, but instead I’m contributing to its death. I go to extremes to recycle everything I can, but still there are some plastics that don’t recycle, and end up in my garbage can. Some of these items will last 500 years and with our human population continually growing there will be a cumulative effect as items rot slower than we toss them. At some point Earth will become a giant garbage heap. Every time I toss a non-recyclable item in the trash I picture it in some landfill a hundred years from now. I will be gone but my waste will remain, haunting the planet.
There is that plastic trash area in the Pacific Ocean that’s now the size of Texas. There is nothing more to laugh about in this life. People are still blowing off fireworks, which terrify both domestic and wild animals. And not to mention the balloon releases, which harm wildlife. Where is the respect? Where is the acknowledgement that we are to live in harmony with nature, and not continually harm it? I can’t afford an electric car and every time I drive my car I’m spewing carbon into the atmosphere — it is the same as littering. And every time I shower or brush my teeth or clean my sink there are chemicals going down my septic tank and into the soil beneath my yard. Some of the crap that goes down the drain will permanently foul the soil. We are turning the planet we live on into a giant shit hole. There are other countries far nastier than our own and all the pollution is going into waterways, soil, and air.
All the while our social order is collapsing as black America begins the much-needed revolution and invisible predators continue their tireless work of counterbalancing our extreme overshoot. We humans love our cities and must have them for our economies, yet areas with dense populations is what viruses love the most. Even if we create a vaccine for the current menace, it will just mutate and other viruses will make the jump into the human herd. It seems that humans would cooperate to fight off the microbe predators, but then I keep hearing about the anti-mask movement. Good Republicans will do nothing to change their rigid patterns because their entire mantra is all about sacrificing the future to maintain the status quo in the present.
Then there is the Rev. Ralph Drollinger, a conservative minister who leads Trump’s White House Bible study group. In a recent blog post he said gays cause “God’s wrath,” (code word for COVID-19) and environmentalists and people with “depraved minds” are also igniting “God’s wrath.”
A quote from one of his recent Bible studies:
Man is created in the image of God whereas the remainder of the created order is not (Genesis 1:26). Therefore mankind is separate, special and superior as it relates to all God has made. It explicitly follows from Genesis 1:26 that mankind is not equal or subservient to all that God has created; conversely he has preeminence over creation and the environment. Properly understood, God has appointed man to be His steward over the earth. Clearly indicative of God’s forsaking wrath is when the abandoned serve the creature rather than the creator.
So, this preacher gives me a punch straight in the mouth. Screw you, sir. The Holy Bible has been used to justify slavery and many other abominable practices, and now some Bible thumper is going after environmentalists. How convenient that a “man of God” is giving the capitalists free license to rape and plunder our environment. Sir, you are disgusting.
But then again, I’ve resigned myself to the fact that people just play out their pre-recorded roles like the insects on my countertop, and never question the insanity of their actions.
Our Invisible Enemy
I stand corrected from my comment last week that we gained the upper hand over land predators about 10,000 years ago. I was at a science museum today and I learned it was actually 50,000 years ago. We humans built weapons and worked cooperatively to fight off the large land animals that threatened us, and, in fact, we wiped many of them out. It would seem that we’d want to work cooperatively again to fight off the coronavirus, but what I’m hearing instead are ramblings about conspiracies and that the virus is a hoax.
Honestly, our species as a whole is so detached from reality that I wonder if we will ever make it. As I said last week, I no longer care if humans go extinct. It’s the best thing that could ever happen to the planet and millions of other species who continually suffer from our destructive apathy and ignorance. Yet, there are some beautiful, wonderful people, like Jimmy and Rosalynn Carter, who make our species worth saving.
It is imperative that each one of us try to make the world better by helping the Earth, animals, or one another. As an environmentalist, much of the time I’m trying to mitigate the excesses and laziness of the people who don’t give a damn. These people are wearing me out.
I respect people based on what they do to “give back.” Your nice house, fancy car, and boat mean absolutely nothing to me. I realize that 80 percent of the world’s population is in basic survival mode, and you guys get a total exemption. I’m with you all and I get it. But you can still give back by just giving a smile or words of encouragement to a store clerk. No matter how miserable your life is as a bottom feeder, you can still lift others up. And I’m a bottom feeder too, just trying to survive, day-to-day.
Only One Shot
As for religion, if you’ll read my recent blog posts you’ll see that I’ve recently done a deep dive into astronomy, quantum mechanics, evolution, and abiogenesis. I’ve also studied theology and world history. It’s not that I don’t believe in God, it’s just that I haven’t found him yet after 40 years of study. At age 15 I started having doubts about a superior being and five years later I began my search by actually reading the Bible. No “smoking gun” or “silver bullet” was ever found in my research, so I can tell you this: the life you have now may be the only one you get, and it’s your choice to use it for good or throw it away. I love the term “caretaking,” and I assure you that is where you will find the only meaning to this life.
If you are a caretaker to the Earth, animals, or humans, then you are making a lasting contribution to the betterment of your world. If more of us became caretakers then our species would stand a chance at survival. But as for now, I have serious doubts about whether we will make it to the next century.
My fellow tree-huggers have assured me that the Earth will recover from the brief little dark spot in history known as “industrialized humanity.” It’s possible that after our 500 years of shitting on the planet is over that the Earth may never recover. In fact, we are already doing irreversible harm to our planet.
I know that nothing I say or do will change the natural evolution of industrialism and the systemic destruction that goes with it. Most people are just like insects, and eat, poop, and screw, and go about their lives searching for happiness, which for many means more and better junk, at the expense of the environment. The world we created for ourselves is an absolute disaster, with so many people degrading their one shot at life with alcohol, tobacco, and drug addiction. The herd just slowly marches to the cliff as billionaire politicians scream about “Making America Great Again.”
After freeing myself from the bondage of religion, I started out as a wandering idealist in my late 30s, and I was hoping to save the world. It only took six years of fighting the systemic resistance to change and the inflexible institutions to make me jaded and cynical. I am now an old man of 60, still ready for one last good, righteous fight, but still unsure where to throw in my last reserves of energy, strength, and caring. The Christian Nationalists run my country and they constantly drone on about the evils of homosexuality and abortion, and as the world crumbles around us they blame all our problems on, you guessed it, the evils of homosexuality and abortion.
Is it just me or are people becoming even more ignorant and irrational? We are certainly our own worst enemy and the animal kingdom and planet won’t miss us when we’re gone. If there is a God he’s an ass for letting so much madness go on.
It’s time for a few shoutouts. The first goes to Maggie Sargent, who, like myself, broke out of a conservative religious culture and has become an activist for veganism, the environment, and is an antinatalist, which is a movement to respect woman who choose not to procreate. Below is a video where she shares her thoughts and throws in a yoga class.
Any time I find someone who shares my vision of saving the world I list them on my “We Live on a Planet” website. Last night I came across the Deep Green Resistance, which is a group that feels that mainstream environmentalism is ineffective and that the real threat is industrial civilization. Of course, I agree.
Lastly, I wanted to say farewell to my beloved friend and companion for almost five years, Kopek. On our weekly hikes he always watched over and protected us and our other dogs. He was fearless, loyal, and a deeply loving animal. On Thursday I laid him to rest in the lot behind my yard. After almost 13 years of a wonderful life he died of congestive heart failure. I cried a lot and the pain is deep. Life will not be the same without him. Goodbye, Kopek.
Originally published at http://mysingularityblog.blogspot.com.