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An American President and two State Governors

like toddlers with no sense of ….

 
First a few quotes from a remarkable Countercurrents essay by Elizabeth West (elizabethwest@sonic.net).

So here we are: the summer of 2017 with the arctic ice melting, the temperatures rising, the oceans rising and acidifying…. From the beginning of known human history, we wanted better lives, longer lives, happier lives. We used our gifts to reach for what we wanted, like toddlers, with no sense of the bigger world around us, no notion of the consequences of our actions. No awareness of the unfathomable complexity and the perfection of balance represented by the environment we inhabit.

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Our proclivity for advancing our own short-term interests has made a mess of things from the beginnings of this current iteration of civilization.

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Could this be because we do not understand fully how our world works? Is it possible that we lack a lot of critical information about the ways in which this planet’s life forms and forces are interwoven and connected? Maybe our superior intelligence, while it has been billed as a powerhouse in the problem-solving department, does not really have the scope of vision that would ensure that problems—solved–stay solved.

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Quick gains, long-term disasters: this is a pretty common human story. Are we capable of examining it? Even acknowledging it? Of recognizing that our anthropocentrism and self-assurance may be doing us more harm than good despite (or possibly because of) our fêted cognitive capacities?

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Unfortunately, as is almost always the case, we see our own interests and little else. Here is the thing: we helped make these disasters because we always thought about ourselves and neglected to consider the balance of life. Because our needs were far and away more important to us.

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Still, if something is not working, I ask: why keep doing it? Even if you have no natural affinity for the pine martens who die in the fires or the sandpipers who are flung to their deaths in the monsoons, pragmatism would suggest a change in practice.

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This piece of writing is, in a ridiculously small way, an attempt to acknowledge those losses that have gone unseen. It isn’t much, but I invite you to join me in taking a few minutes to honor and mourn those who have died in this summer’s conflagrations and deluges. We won’t know much about most of them, but we do know that they lived and we know that they died. And that we are all diminished by their deaths.

Next: quotes from my new book MOVING BEYOND: A Fast Approaching Critical Fork In Our Evolutionary Road

Many ecological forces are building. Here is a listing of the ones that will by the turn of the century be the most recognizable:

· Parts of the planet will reach temperatures beyond the ability for humans to exist in them.

· Weather conditions will become erratically destructive

· Ocean levels will rise from heat induced ocean water expansion and the melting of ice caps in both the North and South Poles. Widespread coastal inundation will follow with the loss of coastal cities and marshlands

· Agricultural production throughout the planet will be severely disrupted by climatic change, aquifer depletion and unavailability of carbon based fuel and fertilizer resources

· Fish stocks in the oceans will be severely depleted as a result of acidification and over fishing

· As population continues to press on the availability of resources, there will be starvation and massive civil conflict

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What does all of this mean for the future? First, let us look at where we are today in our global response: The word “global” is being used here for the reason that this is a global problem directly affecting every human life‑and all other life forms, on this planet.

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Overall, it has been uncoordinated, scattered and ineffectual.

Why? The social sciences (including that of economics) remain silent. The religionists remain confined to their fixation on a circular theological epistemological disconnect to Nature’s reality. Political and moneyed powers remain fixated on their own self-interest.

The outcome by the turn of the century will be our species facing a painful adjustment as it attempts to survive in a hostile planetary environment of its own making.

To summarize the above with more specificity:

· Academia; confined to the narrowness of research within the exclusivity of the University
· Public; suspicion of those in academia
· Legislators; gridlocked by their own and constituent self interest
· Religions; blinded by ancient beliefs
· International organizations; weak and without geo-political power to enforce agreements
· Non Profits and citizen groups; ineffectual against the tide of opinion
· Market Economics; unable to factor into cost “negative externalities”
· Population Masses; powerful financial/industrial/media/religious interests feeding non-rational inherent narcissistic desire

Next a NY Times Op-Ed Comment

FROM SWEEDEN

QUOTE

What I find shocking is not that ignorant people have been deceived by the oil industry, the same old ploy as for cigarettes and even some of the same “scientists”, but rather that seemingly intelligent people have willfully ignored the need to push back against the Koch brother’s propaganda. The forces of oil saw long ago that this was a fight for control of the discourse. They succeeded to such a degree that the accumulated knowledge and conclusions of thousands of climate scientists are given approximately the same gravity and importance as the opinions of members of the Tea Party and bible thumpers. Someone with gravitas and influence must speak up and talk about worst case scenarios. In every other sort of disaster planning the worst that can happen is given serious consideration, for obvious reasons. But with the worst catastrophe to ever hit humanity looming ever closer, not so much. Climate models don’t take into account two crucial sources of methane, which traps 30 times the heat of CO2. The thawing Arctic from Alaska to Siberia and the ocean floor are leaking and they hold enough gas to heat the planet 5 or 6 degrees C. Wake up homo sapiens! This has only just started. Forget about 2 degrees C. that train is under water in Houston. It’s time to make a contingency for a much, much warmer future

Review & Commentary