Venting time. I haven’t ranted about climate change in a while. Get’s boring, no matter how urgent it is to fix the problem. The rhetoric gets tedious. Nobody wants to have to do the equivalent of going out and standing on a street corner with a “The End is Nigh” sign.
But, sometimes I wish I could be left to doing myself in through my own idiocy. Yes, folks, I’d like to win my own “Darwin Award“. I don’t want it won for me. That takes all the fun out of it. If I’m going to go down because of asinine decisions and shortsightedness, I want it to be my own. Alas, I will probably not have that opportunity.
Despite all the facts and the nearly absolutely unanimous conclusions of all scientists and scientific institutions that Global Warming is real – and we are not only not waiting for the shit to hit the fan, but heaping crap on it at an accelerated pace – we just put it out of our heads so we can go on trying to bail out water from the smaller sinking ships of our various jobs submerged in proven-outmoded capitalistic paradigms doomed to failure. The environment is dying. The economy has tanked. Capitalism has failed, partly because it was based on the presumption that selfish greed is the prime motivator of humankind (as opposed to creating a system based on generosity and altruism). Democracy has been replaced with bureaucracy. The Constitution has been eviscerated, and anyone who stands up to corruption is a “terrorist”.
So, I was thinking, why can’t we shift away from fossil fuels? The number one answer that everyone has assimilated without trying to is that, “it will destroy the economy”. There are other lines, such as that, “it won’t produce enough energy”, but the “economy” line is #1. Who cares? The economy (from the perspective of ordinary people) is already destroyed. If the economy were to be revived, the definition would be that even more money was funneled up to the 1% who already own the monopoly board, the banks, all the property, and have changed the rules of the game to insure their own unimaginable wealth continues to expand at the expense of everyone and everything else.Though, in a sense, one could say the economy is operating beautifully, because the wealthiest are increasing their profit margins, and even the bankers responsible for the world wide economic crisis have subsequently received record bonuses.
What’s the use in improving the economy if it just means the fabulously wealthy get richer, and the rest of us get genetically modified table scraps? And what is the use of a stellar economy for 1% of the population if the rest of us inhabit a Zombie Apocalypse? What are they going to do, hole themselves up in domed malls?
It’s time to “just say no” to the mass suicide of our species through extraordinary stupidity and the absolute refusal to listen to scientists (while, instead, listening to the corporate-funded, neoconservative, blow-hard, think-tank drivel served up through brainwashing talk radio, and most of the news outlets).
Not just “no”, I think it’s appropriate to say, “fuck off” to the big corporations, the growing surveillance state, and the bullshit hierarchies. First we must recognize that it’s just a game. Things don’t have to be like this. It’s not inevitable. It’s not natural. The world has become a dictatorship run by a network of immoral, shortsighted businessmen. The least we can do is stop worshiping them, and stop accepting the game as reality.
As Timothy Leary famously put it, “Turn on, tune in, drop out.” [Actually, Leary popularized it, but philosopher Marshal McLuhan coined it.] We have to do it without the potent psychoactives that obliterate the superstructure and make the game a glaringly obvious facade, but it’s still doable. It could be summed up as, “reject the propaganda of the master.”
We may still have to march in lock-step, man our cubicles, and earn fractions of what is actually made off of our own work, but we don’t have to believe we are slaves or we deserve this crap. It’s bullshit. There’s gotta’ be a better way. The current system is for the most wealthy few percentages of inhabitants of this planet anyway. Why are we so worried about saving their economy for themselves at our expense by preserving their fossil fuel industries? Let’s worry less about the fantastic fortunes of the few, as we’ve been programmed to do, and more about the doomed futures of everyone else.
Let’s listen to the scientists and not the billionaire businessmen. The solutions are out there (there’s tons of research supporting a successful switch to renewable resources) and all we need to change is our thinking.
11 replies on “Civilization to win “Darwin Award””
It’s a shame that just fixing the energy economy won’t save us.
One thing a free market economy is good at is shifting resources quickly to the hole in its own dyke.
That, plus the need for exponential growth everywhere means we’re hitting a dozen walls simultaneously.
There’s the climate change wall.
There’s the biodiversity wall.
There’s the food production wall.
There’s the pollution wall.
There’s the wall of depletion of hundreds of resources, with fresh water perhaps the most important but far from the only one.
There’s the pandemic wall and the loss of antibiotic effectiveness.
There’s the wall represented by the decay of the decrepit democratic institutions that haven’t been maintained or revived for a couple of centuries.
There’s the economic wall approximately summed up as Marx’s ‘Crisis of capital’.
I’ve just hit the wall of examples I can think of, but I bet there’s lots more.
If it was just one or two civilisation destroying problems I’d be moderately hopeful of finding a way out, but as it is we might as well award ourselves a Darwin right now so at least we’ve got a little time to admire it on our trophy shelf alongside the heads of all the animals we’ve already driven to extinction.
Just in case I wasn’t cynical enough, thanks for adding all the walls of impending doom. Of course, we could fix it all (or at least minimize the damage), if only we would do the right thing, instead of whatever’s best for the few that are already fabulously, outrageously well off.
Those walls you speak of are all related, and so could the solutions be. Why must a species of so many intelligent people commit itself to mind-numbing stupidity.
Your line about getting the Darwin award NOW, so we have a little time to admire it cracked me up.
I think you might have some answers yourself, and are probably a very positive influence in the right direction. If only we could get the Neanderthals out of the driver’s seats and change the course from the cliff’s edge.
I thought I had the answer but the rope broke.
If you like my cynical negativist humour then your mate J. Sri Bhagovwid might enjoy this or this.
I’ll suggest he looks at those, because I did, and really enjoyed them. I’m pretty sure you know that JSB is a self-proclaimed “load of bullocks”, and rails against the false gurus. He does, however, hold out for the possibility of real spiritual awakening, meaning, he doesn’t completely disregard all of Eastern philosophy, and for the sake of argument accepts that the Buddha probably was enlightened, and thus it’s probably a possibility for others.
I don’t think JSB and I would have much to disagree on there, though for the sake of argument I’d be just as likely to point out Adi Shankara as the Buddha.
But we have already communicated to each other through secret signs and know that we both follow the one true faith.
The curious thing about human activities is that they’re based more on customs and habits than information and logic. 18% of greenhouse gases come from livestock. Consumption of meat and dairy has rocketed over the last century, and promises to continue as developing economies adopt the lifestyles of developed economies. Given the low disruption and costs, drastic reductions in meat and dairy would clearly have a quick impact on GHG emissions, not to mention health benefits. This would be a part of the solution if a) it were on the political agenda, and b) most people would be prepared to adapt their eating patterns. Both of these are somewhat unlikely. Food choices are some of the most custom-based choices in life, even if you’re in the minority without a religion.
In any case, this is all academic. By about mid-century, the per-capita costs of food production will be so high that all but the very rich will have to be pretty much vegan, with animal produce becoming the reserve of the few (in addition to other resource intensive foods such as chocolate and coffee). The only square on the monopoly board will be Scheisse Strasse. The car piece will be replaced by a paddle.
Nice last line. Gave me a chuckle. Since I’ve lived in Asia for the last 6-7 years, my meat intake has gone way down. In China I mostly just got to gnaw on bones. But what this helps me see is that it’s easy to reduce meat intake without cutting it out entirely. One does a pretty radical diet change when one moves overseas to an area that has very few foreigners. My city didn’t have cheese, for example. But there we encyclopedic menus of delicious foods for me to choose from. Seems it would be easier to sample alternative delicious foods than commit to dying in the street, but, perhaps not.
It appears more and more intelligent people are quite cynical about our future. It’s bizarre that, as a species, instead of marshaling our brightest people to come up with and implement solutions NOW, we’re still digging deeper for ever more carbon to burn. It’s something out of science fiction.
OK, I have a semi-contrary view. Sure, I’m on the same side as all your rantings, but, if I may be so bold, I think that addressing climate change could actually benefit the energy industry in the long term. While we have no definitive idea how much actual supply there is, fossil fuels are a finite resource (outside of geologic time) so making the money now means no money later. Stretching out the limited resource means stretching out the profits, too. Also, many alternate sources, like solar, can be generated much closer to the user allowing more generated power to reach the consumer and be sold to the consumer. Finally, alternate sources require scientific input and what better way to shut scientists up than by giving them cool projects to work on.
I think there’s enough carbon being tapped through mountain-top-removal, and milking it from tar sands, to bring about the destruction of our climate. So, rather than the fossil fuel petering out before the shit hits the fan, it represents the final, orgasmic, hurling of great globs of cow dung at the fan. In other words, we’ve found enough carbon to finish ourselves off in the next century, and we are doing precisely that with a vengeance.
Absolutely! A little carbon’s wonderful, but that carboniferous combustion-driven system we have … not so wonderful.
I imagine that if we started taking the steps to fix things, rather than destroying the economy, everything would be better. Would I mind if there were more and better bike lanes? Would I mind seeing more greenery everywhere? Would I mind breathing less carbon-monoxide? Would I mind seeing so many people making a living converting to greener energy? It seems like a win-win situation all around. The only losers would be those who have so much money that they have nothing to lose.