Saturday, November 16, 2013

seen in the scene from the anthropocene in the philipines....,

Humans devised the technological means to use natural resources to construct a vast array of infrastructure (cities, roads, cars, ships, power stations, computers etc. etc). The operations of society are now very dependent on the services of this infrastructure. When it is abruptly destroyed as has happened in the Philipines, and as it irrevocably ages - which we witness all around ourselves - the decisions made by people (and their survivability) in the future will be greatly affected by the declining availability of these services.

paul chefurka | Denial wears many faces. Whether it’s average people who are too busy with their lives to take on board the more extreme reports of environmental degradation; bloggers and politicians who believe that it’s all a hoax cooked up by evil scientists to get grant money for bogus studies; or, perhaps surprisingly, the green activists who believe that more political or technological change will improve or even fix the situation – these are common techniques we use to avoid confronting the horror of global collapse face-to-face.

We are all familiar with the face of climate change denial. The Koch brothers, James Inhofe, Anthony Watts and a host of bloggers and politicians work tirelessly to derail any efforts to address humanity’s greatest existential crisis since the Toba super-volcano 75,000 years ago. They are a resilient species, their fact-resistance bolstered by inoculations of status and cash.

But this form of denial is easy to spot. There is a more subtle form, one that is endemic among the white hats of the green movement. They are the ones who tirelessly work from the moral high ground – to change policies, to develop and promote green technology, to encourage sustainability. They resolutely refuse to countenance any thoughts of our predicament being inextricable. Tireless work, even in a lost cause, tends to keep one insulated from the deeper, darker realizations, and lets one keep fighting the good fight. Heroism has always been an intrinsic part of our story: “Quitters never win and winners never quit!”

Is it unfair to characterize (at least some) green activists as being (at least somewhat) in denial? Possibly. But it’s true far more often than you might expect.

I have no idea if we’re facing “the end of the world”, whatever that hackneyed phrase might mean. However the big picture that most green activists, including the Transition folks and most Permaculturists I’ve met, fail to take on board includes some very simple, very stark facts: the entire planetary biosphere is collapsing, including the oceans, rivers, lakes and land; we are going to break the 2C degree “safe” threshold (which was never safe to begin with) within a couple of decades even with our best efforts (which we’re not giving); we will break 4C and possibly 6C with BAU; the agricultural systems of the world are destabilizing before our eyes due to extreme weather; methane feedbacks may have already begun; the world’s populations of human beings and their food animals are exploding while the world’s population of wild creatures is imploding; the bees and bats are dying; starfish are melting; sea turtles are dying on the beaches; the Eastern Cougar, the Western Black Rhino, the Japanese River Otter and the Formosan Clouded Leopard have all been declared extinct in the last year.

It looks a whole lot like the global life-support system is coming apart at the seams, and we are doing what we’ve always done: precisely nothing.