Helpful votes received on reviews: 88% (4,979 of 5,630)
Location: Nagano, Japan
In My Own Words:
Since yesterday some 200,000 acres of rainforest have been burned to the ground (Rainforest Action Network); some 13 million tons of toxic chemicals have been released into the environment (EPA); perhaps 45,000 people have died of starvation, approximately 38,000 of them children (UNHDR); and more than 130 plant or animals species have gone extinct because of humans (E.O. Wilson). All this in one … Read more
Since yesterday some 200,000 acres of rainforest have been burned to the ground (Rainforest Action Network); some 13 million tons of toxic chemicals have been released into the environment (EPA); perhaps 45,000 people have died of starvation, approximately 38,000 of them children (UNHDR); and more than 130 plant or animals species have gone extinct because of humans (E.O. Wilson). All this in one day, mind you.
One can argue with the specific figures (extinctions are now put as high as 1000 a day) but the general trends are undeniable. Our skyrocketing population puts enormous pressure on the productive and absorptive capacities of earth, surpassing natural carrying capacity by some twenty percent (Jim Merkel, 2003). As ever more fisheries collapse, forests shrink, rangelands deteriorate, soils erode, species vanish, temperatures rise, rivers run dry, water tables fall, ozone fades and polar ice melt across the globe (Lester Brown, 2001), the single most important question humanity has ever faced resonates louder: How can humanity live in a sustainable manner?
My interest in the state of the environment stems from a deep commitment to social justice. I believe we that all deserve a healthy biosphere; that respect and celebration of cultural differences is not only necessary but evolutionarily beneficial; that economic equality, universal health care, unemployment benefits and access to healthy, natural foods are a birthright; and that every society deserves to exist without fear of being intimidated, coerced, threatened with or bombed by a foreign power. In particular, there is no excuse for attacking citizens as part of a political campaign: as the US has done in Vietnam, Laos, Cambodia, Iraq, Serbia, Afghanistan and now Iraq again. Such actions are morally reprehensible.
The problems we face today are of greater number, magnitude and urgency than ever before in earth history—and they are the products of the collective actions of a single rogue species, the animal that named itself Wisdom. Not only do we have the ability to destroy all planetary life by nuclear means, through less visible and more insidious economic means we are actually doing just that—one Dow Jones point at a time.
How did we get ourselves into this mess, and how can we get out? There do not seem to be any ready-made answers to this question, but my readings have proffered various escape routes, some complimentary, some contradictory and some more radical than others:
1) Stop shopping so much—we are drowning in our own trash (see “Affluenza” and “Stuff”)
2) Grow your own food (see “Gardening for the Future of the Earth”)
3) Lead a simple life (see “Radical Simplicity” by Jim Merkel)
4) Permaculture (see “Permaculture” by Bill Mollison)
5) Eco-education (see “Earth in Mind” by David Orr)
6) Ethical shopping/investing (see “The Better World Handbook”)
7) Protest, speak out, start a social movement (see “A People's History of the United States” by Howard Zinn)
8) Homestead in the country (see “The Good Life” by Helen and Scott Nearing)
9) Join or found an ecovillage (see “Ecovillage Living” by Hildur Jackson and Karen Svensson)
10) Take down civilization (see “End Game” by Derrick Jensen and “Against Civilization” by John Zerzan)
Which options appeal to you? Take your pick, and let me know if you can think of any other ingenious ways to reverse the damage we have brought about. Always happy to engage in dialogue or provide more reading suggestions, feel free to drop me a line.
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