At the post office, my neighbor rolled down the window of his pick-up truck to chat. As is typical in Northern Maine this time of year, we praised the sunlight, warmth, bare patches of ground, and eyed the shrinking snowbanks with delight.
The war in Ukraine is not only a human tragedy, but an environmental disaster with exploding chemical plants spewing toxins into the air, rockets increasing greenhouse gasses and warships killing marine life.
Over this past weekend I went to see the new Avatar movie. I had seen the first one and, although it had flaws, I saw the overall message as compelling. Fair warning, here is a small spoiler: Simply put, the plot is one where humans in the future, with the help of gargantuan and lethal military might, attempt to colonize a planet called Pandora. It is another solar system many light years from earth, and it possesses many extraordinary and rare minerals and resources, as well as incredible biodiversity and Indigenous societies. In the sequel, the humans of earth have returned, and their goal is nothing less than total colonization of the planet for the purpose of resettlement. Earth, as one cold hearted military general says, is dying.
“Ducey insists Arizona holds sole or shared jurisdiction over the 60-foot strip the containers rest on and has a constitutional right to protect residents from ‘imminent danger of criminal and humanitarian crises.’”
The first Earth Day was in 1970. It came about as a response to a major oil spill off of Santa Barbara, California, in 1969. This, along with Rachel Carson’s book, Silent Spring which documented the devastation caused by the pesticide industry on birds and other wildlife, the end of the Vietnam War, and the famous 1968 Earthrise NASA photograph of the earth from the moon, galvanized millions of people to protest the destruction of our biosphere caused by war and powerful industries. More than 20 million people took to the streets that day, making it still the largest single-day protest in human history.
2021 was a year that few would want to relive. Mounting climate change fueled catastrophes dominated much of the news around the world. Here in Canada, it was no different. Fires and record heat decimated large swaths of land in British Columbia and Alberta. Then the floods came. Decades of clearcutting old growth forests have led to a seemingly never-ending stream of disasters. In years to come, this existential crisis will only grow. But there is nothing natural about these disasters. This is just one part of a global attack on our biosphere for the profit of a few.
On the show today, Chris Hedges discusses the lies and fantasies told by the mainstream environmental movement about how to solve the climate crisis with authors and activists Derrick Jensen and Lierre Keith.
Yes, the time for talk is well past and one more report isn’t likely to change minds or induce new action. Nonetheless, it is always useful to have the latest information when dealing with an ongoing emergency. The world’s governments shouldn’t need the latest United Nations report on the state of Earth’s climate to act but if some do care to pay proper attention, the situation is ever more dire.
“We are here to awaken from our illusion of separateness.” ― Thich Nhat Hanh
One of the biggest lies that people in the global north were sold and have largely internalized is that we are separate from the biosphere from which we evolved and on which we depend upon for our very survival. Even as we stand on the precipice of ecological collapse, human supremacy over nature has been the unchallenged narrative. As a result, those who have taken up the struggle to protect this fragile arrangement of existence are often otherized. Their “cause” is treated as just one of many. The “treehugger?” The “environmentalist?” The person who “cares about the earth?” How noble. How non-threatening. It becomes just another cause in a myriad of causes.
PR: Kenn, this question haunts me: Is it still possible, amid constant inundation by the mass and social media simulacrum, for literature, poetry or a music to rouse the heart and foment rebellion against one’s complicity in what amounts to a bondage of sensibility? Naturally, we are given to outrage but, for the most part, it is directed, if we are honest, at our own sense of powerlessness against the mind-stupefying roil of events.