Tuesday, May 14, 2013

The Metamorphosis of Greed

A recent report stated that carbon dioxide levels in the atmosphere are now at their highest point in three million years. Add to that the unprecedented rate of global temperature rise in the last quarter century. Another recent headline: “Global Warming May Cause Major Extinctions By 2080." Here are some links for all this stuff:




The rate of temperature increase is dangerous because animals and plants will not have time, through evolution, to adapt. On a geological scale, the sudden spike in temperature is like a javelin shooting out of a graph of slight slopes.

The momentum of ignorance is massive. Educated people are outnumbered and rationality is a weak tool compared to the bullhorns of demagogues. Those bullhorns, in turn, are part of massive propaganda campaigns orchestrated by giant corporations, financial colossi that benefit from the destructive status quo.

The encroaching catastrophe is already underway. New Orleans was obliterated by weather. Sandy Hook in Manhattan, too. The polar caps melt, the climate bands shift, animals migrate, including pesky insects. Maybe most important of all to the citizens of the Empire: food prices have gone up.

Still the bulk of the people are blind. Denial. It is a well-worn psychological phenomenon. If you can get past their denial, which is not easy, you get the next mental shield: confirmation bias. Which is to say, reality is interpreted as the person wishes to perceive it (or maybe I should say, as their favorite politician perceives it).

If you happen to think that greedy scientists are lying about global warming to get power, you can always scrounge up evidence worthy of an impregnable conspiracy theory.

And so I think our lovely Earth, and human civilization, are going to suffer the full ravages of a headlong train wreck, one in which a boot on the brake petal was hardly applied. Those of us who dare to be alert need to prepare ourselves for the epochal calamity coming down the rails.

However, let me admit to a little selfishness too and say that I hope to be dead before the full chaos of the Metamorphosis of Greed.

By “prepare” I mean we need to come to grips with it. Psychologically. Myself, I keep saying I am sorry to the Earth in my prayers. I keep speaking to future generations, in this blog and in my poems, and telling them that we were not completely without empathy in this accelerating, bewildering time.

If these future generations actually get a chance to exist, they have a right to hate us. Indeed, today’s younger folks already have a great deal of anger at the “baby boomers” who lived high on the hog while spreading not only pollution but attitudes of hedonistic self-absorption.

I hope, though, that these future generations deal with their hate in a healthy way. I pray they don’t end up hating themselves or thinking of humanity as inherently evil. A virus on the Earth. By 2080, famine, riot and war might be continuous. Maybe large segments of civilization will collapse into barbaric darkness. But, people of the future -- and I am trying not to say this sarcastically or in ridiculous sanctimony -- don’t give up.

Maybe it is almost an impossible task, but strive to surpass, ethically, the present social disease of consumerism. You, hopefully, will be able to better spot, using us as a signpost of failure, the great enemies. Avarice. Ignorance.

Educate all your citizens and do it thoroughly. That is the key to a possible happy ending someday, somewhere. Let me be ridiculously optimistic for a moment: human civilization is young. Maybe the next ten thousand years will be better.


1 comment:

  1. Tiny Austria, pop 8 million, is having to fork out nearly $850,000,000 (€650,000,000) for CO2 credits. They signed the Kyoto Protocol but then basically they didn't adhere to it because they could afford to pay the price - the government sees things mostly in financial terms. The unfolding glacier melt, for example, is now being blamed on the sand blowing over from Africa. I blame it on all the hot air being spouted by politicians and retired politicians. I don't expect future generations to forgive us our greed. Why should they?
    I think Japan may be the first domino to fall. The building of 55 nuclear power plants on an island, which has already been nuked twice, and which has 3 or 4 active fault lines running below it in order to achieve more and more and more and endlessly more economic and industrial growth, instead of being satisfied with the wealth one has and finding greener sources of energy, defeats my power of reasoning.