|"THE LAST TREE" Text & Graphics © by: Richard W. Posner|
A Simple, Fun Project You Can Try At Home!
For those of you who believe that global environmental issues are something you needn't think about, I have a small experiment you can try that might serve to enlighten you.
Hop in your 10-mpg SUV and motor on down to that most magnificent monster of monuments to consumerism, your local WalMart, and buy yourself a fishbowl. Not an aquarium, just a regular little goldfish bowl.
Then, so you’ll have a reason for owning a fishbowl, purchase a few goldfish. Don't get anything fancy or expensive. This is not a long-term investment. Get a little fish food while you’re at it. You won’t need much.
Take your purchases home, fill the bowl with water, toss in the fish and cover the top of the bowl. Feed your new guests as often as you like. That’s all. Don’t do anything else. Don’t clean or replace the water. Don’t use any pumps or filters. Don't uncover the top. Just leave the fish, whatever waste they produce and the water.
Watch what happens to your new finny friends. Before too long they’ll all be floating belly up in the stinking, oxygen depleted, poisonous mess their fishbowl environment has become.
This planet we live on (Earth in case you’re unsure) is our fishbowl. Our atmosphere holds most of the poison we pump into it for a very long time. The effect is exponentially cumulative. Our environment is just as finite and just as easily poisoned as the one in that goldfish bowl and, if we don't clean up our act, we'll be just as dead as the late goldfish gang.
Above and Beyond the Pointless Debate.
So, putting aside the facts and ignoring the whole issue of climate change for the moment, let's look at what's happening to our environment and the Life it supports.
There are so many crucial environmental issues to be addressed that I wouldn’t even try to list them all. The levels of poisons in the air, oceans, soil and water are staggering. There are probably mountains of books that have been written. Just do a search for pollution, or environmental destruction or anything like that. You’ll get about 87 zillion hits. Of the 87 zillion maybe 10 will say that pollution is not a problem.
Climate Change or Not, If You Can't Breathe You'll Die.
Even if the changes to global climate, of which we’re already seeing the early stages, weren’t an issue at all, the destruction of the environment that allows us to exist still must be stopped!
If you couldn’t connect with the poor dead goldfish, try to comprehend this simple concept. If I put you in a sealed room, pump out the air and replace it with poison gases, you will die! Like an execution in a gas chamber. This should be simple enough for most to grasp.
Now remember, we're not even necessarily talking about C02, greenhouse gases or climate change anymore. Let's just think about air pollution in general, the whole pointless debate about global warming aside.
Earth is, in effect, a sealed room. The walls are made from the atmosphere. Within those walls we need quite a bit of oxygen in order to survive.
Forests produce 40% of the oxygen for our room. 50% comes from the oceans via phytoplankton photosynthesis. That’s 90% of what we need to breathe, to stay alive in our room.
We are clear-cutting and burning forests and killing phytoplankton like there’s no tomorrow. And there may not be. There are no alternative sources for the oxygen we’re losing. It's not an opinion or a theory; it's a fact. Funny thing about facts; they're true whether you accept them or not.
We are pumping the air out of our room by rapidly depleting our oxygen supply.
We are driving millions upon millions of vehicles spewing millions and millions of tons of poison gases into our room. We are burning billions of barrels of oil and billions of tons of coal, pumping more millions of tons of poison gases into our room. There are factories, power plants, landfills, factory farms, aircraft, trains and a shitload of other sources disgorging a long list of noxious toxic gases into our atmosphere. Atmosphere, you know, the stuff we breathe to stay alive?
We are filling our room with poison gases.
Now try to remember how this works. We are in a closed room. We are pumping out the air and filling the room with poison gases. Remember what will happen if we do this? We will die!
Air goes out, poison gases come in, and humans die. It’s a no-brainer. So, even if you don’t believe in climate change -- and that's your prerogative -- you still need to breathe!
Climate Change or Not, If You Can't Get Edible Food & Potable Water You'll Die.
Foods that once provided all our needed nutrition are now inadequate and unsafe for human consumption. The soil is so depleted that the nutritional value of produce has been reduced by anything up to 100% in some cases.
The entire food chain, from the tiniest krill to the largest blue whale, from miniscule insects to massive mammals, every plant, big and small, the complete web of sustenance has become toxic.
Contamination comes from a multitude of sources: direct spraying with herbicides and pesticides, a water table that is loaded with toxins from sprays and fertilizers, ponds, lakes and rivers that provide water for drinking and irrigation and also carry poison into the atmosphere via evaporation, rain that carries the poisons from the atmosphere back onto the ground where they are added to the soil and taken up by crops. It all just cycles endlessly through the environment, building up toxicity over the years and causing the onset of numerous, often fatal diseases.
But hey! That's good for the "health industry"! There's no "profit" in a healthy society!
We pump massive quantities of noxious wastes into the ecosystem. They stay there indefinitely in the water, air and the soil. The effects are cumulative and long term. They are consumed by everything that breathes, eats and drinks. They saturate the entire food chain, of which we are at the top.
The bodies of average Americans are contaminated with 100 or more separate pollutants that are linked to immune system degradation, disease initiation, neural damage and more.
There are epidemics among our children of autism, attention deficit and hyperactivity disorders caused by exorphins and other food additives. Some of these afflictions are greatly exacerbated, more likely directly caused, by the introduction of high levels of mercury through contaminated food sources and even directly by the injection of vaccines with mercury preservatives.
There is a smorgasbord of cancers to choose from; at least one for every tissue and organ in the body. Brain, blood, stomach, liver, lungs, bones, colon, skin -- you name it, we’ve got it! This has spawned a multibillion dollar cancer industry. There's "profit" in every disaster.
These cancers are rampant in modern humans but intensive studies of ancient remains dating from 5,300 B.C. to the mid-19th century show little or no evidence of indicators common in modern skeletal remains.
There are multitudinous food additives, dyes and preservatives, in numbers greater than the list of cancers they cause, which are poisoning everyone who isn’t starving.
The Moment Is Up. Are We Really That Obstinate?
The whole "cap-and-trade" fiasco is nothing but a scheme enabling the corporatists and speculators to make more money from a disaster for which they are in large part responsible. The worshippers of Mammon will capitalize on anything.
That's no reason to dismiss out of hand the effects of increased CO2 and reduced oxygen as some monstrous conspiracy perpetrated by the vast majority of climate scientists around the world. Most are not going to become rich, or even popular, by presenting vitally important scientific evidence. Nature simply won't tolerate our complacency of continued pollution.
Irrefutable scientific data is very nice and all but, come on, this is just simple common sense. If you can see, if your senses still work at all and you are capable of comprehending anything that requires more critical thinking than watching paint dry, or American Idol, you know that we’ve really screwed up the environment.
Even the Media Propaganda Machine (Ministry of Truth) has to go with sensational disaster stories; they sell copy and boosts ratings. Hypocrisy never stopped them anyway. It's an established part of their modus operandi. It’s a little funny listening to them sensationalize the suffering caused by the effects of climate change out of one side of the mouth and then denying its existence out of the other.
If You Don't Like The Climate Here, Just Wait Awhile; You'll Like It Even Less.
The production, distribution and use of most of the things we are addicted to require the destruction of forest, mining, drilling and general devastation of the environment.
Nearly all these activities involve the use of petroleum to make fuel to drive the machinery needed for the acquisition and refining of raw materials. It is also a component in the manufacture of most everything we use.
Absolutely everything we do demands the expenditure of copious amounts of energy, virtually all of which is generated using fuels that produce even more poisonous wastes in their production and use.
All these processes generate enormous amounts of harmful, disease-causing wastes, which corporations, concerned only with the bottom line, dispose of in the most short-sighted, short-term cost-effective ways they can find.
There is worse than no concern for this criminal contamination of the biosphere. There is prior knowledge of the harm that will result. There is malice aforethought in the decision to pursue the highest possible profit regardless of the deadly consequences.
All this depletion of oxygen and release of noxious gasses into the atmosphere will cause what? Remember? That's right! Humans will die!
Like it or not, some of these gasses are causing changes in our climate. Our interference in the normal warming and cooling cycle can actually be traced back around eight thousand years, when some of us abandoned a nomadic existence in favor of farming and herding, a more sedentary lifestyle, right through to the Industrial Revolution and the population boom.
Anyway, there is a growing body of evidence that indicates the beginning of the agricultural age, which required the clearing of ever larger forested tracts, was also the beginning of the steadily increasing human-influenced greenhouse effect that may well end our meddlesome existence. Earth naturally goes through cycles of heating and cooling, but some evidence suggests we should now be cooling. It would seem our “contribution” has had some effect on the natural cycle.
People need to stop "believing" in the status quo and start using a little logic and common sense. More people using more toxins in a finite biosphere will clearly take its toll.
"Belief is the death of intelligence. As soon as one believes a doctrine of any sort, or assumes certitude, one stops thinking about that aspect of existence." -- Robert Anton Wilson
Addicted To Self-Destruction.
As a species, we are committing suicide plain and simple. That’s usually what any addict is doing. We Americans are seriously addicted, and I don’t mean just to oil. That’s actually a symptom of our technology addiction. Making our techno gadgets, powering them, delivering them and using them all depend on fossil fuel, oil, hydrocarbons. We’re like a heroin addict who’s also an alcoholic.
So, we’re fouling our fishbowl, gassing our room, poisoning our bodies, and assuring our extinction as a species, because we’re junkies. Like most addicts we’re also deniers.
If it were learned tomorrow, beyond any shadow of a doubt, that our iPods, cell phones, hi-definition TV's, laptops, SUV's and all the other poison-based gadgets are killing us, we’d simply ignore that bothersome bit of information and get on with our mindless quest for self-extermination, as we've been doing for quite some time.
If we were told we’d have to give up any of these goodies we’d go totally ballistic. We’d put up much more of a fight over losing our gadgets than we did over losing the Bill of Rights, Habeas Corpus and the Constitution! Well, we'll be losing them anyway. If impoverishment by debt doesn't do it, natural and environmental disasters will.
How do people become addicts? Well, there’s usually another player involved. A term that’s been commonly used for many decades is pusher. This is a form of parasitic human that usually coaxes the user with a sales pitch promising great things. If you think about it though, the pusher/parasite is just another kind of addict hooked on the wealth and power provided by the host/victim. Who is the Pusher for America’s technology fix? The crony capitalist marketing machine. The parasitic corporations that suck their life from the body of the masses. A parasite is something that is dependent on a substance it gets from its host to survive.
1. Biology. An organism that grows, feeds, and is sheltered on or in a different organism while contributing nothing to the survival of its host.
An addict and a parasite actually have a lot in common. Both rely on another “organism” to provide what they need. The relationship isn't symbiotic though. Both are assuring their own destruction through their codependency.
Now this begins to be interesting. We have two groups of junkies, each one dependent on the other for what it needs to satisfy the unsatisfiable. Consumers hooked on corporate techno poisons, corporate parasites dependant on the wealth/power fix they get from consumers. It almost seems like poetic justice.
It’s actually a form of Mutually Assured Destruction without “nookuler” weapons. It’s a negative biomechanical feedback loop -- helluva thing! I just made that up, but it sounds pretty good.
You can see, however, that taking this mutual addiction to its logical extreme, the two groups will eventually cancel each other out. The parasite kills its host, thereby killing itself. It’s a zero-sum game for both participants. Nobody wins.
It has to stop, or it will kill us all eventually. Our planet will have to adopt a new paradigm; Earth without people. In other words, nature will restore balance with or without us.
It seems that if humanity expects to survive, it needs to find a way to offer wide-scale (affordable) renewable, environmentally safe, alternative energy sources. Not in five years or ten years or sometime this century but right now! In a truly free market, people will make wise choices.
If this means that the stock market crashes in the near term, then so be it.
If this means that rapacious, criminal, multi-national corporations that profit from death must die themselves, by all means, make it so.
If this means an end to the invisible hand of the market, the complete destruction of so-called “Free Market Capitalism” then what the hell are we waiting for? This fictitious “tide that lifts all ships," the "trickle-down" of “free” market economics is the single most significant cause of the environmental crises we face.
If we trashed this polluted system of production and consumption today, following some sort of global epiphany and spontaneous social revolution, there might be great chaos and suffering, but we would survive. If we continue on our present course, exponentially increasing our pollution of the biosphere, the human race will become extinct. Which do you think will come first?
The human race, if it is to survive, must consciously take the next step in its own evolution. We must grow up, abandon our lust for wealth, power, and cheap goods built on the backs of slave populations, and become both moral and civilized for the first time. We must do it now: This is an evolutionary imperative.
Unfortunately, unless the corporatized, neo-fascist propaganda machine of the mainstream media Ministry of Truth can be turned to public service, it is unlikely that the needed changes will come in time.
We need a massive information explosion and it must be aimed at “markets” just as all “selling” is done today. Society has been trained over generations to respond to such advertising and, sadly it seems, people won’t consume anything that hasn’t been “sold” to them.
The problem is that those who own the means to get the message out are the ones who would rather shoot the messenger, placing priority on their own personal wealth and power instead of the survival of the human race.
There are many documentaries out there that make the case against the principal polluters: agribusiness, fossil fuels, factory farming, nuclear power, and a great range of manufacturing. There are problems with documentary movies however; they're one-shot deals. They can be up to two hours long, so they require the viewer to have an attention span of more than fifteen minutes. The American viewing audience continues to prove that they generally do not.
One thing that critics who like to bash "tree huggers" need to understand; it is not that we need to save the Earth for spotted owls, poison dart frogs, coral reefs, whales, Amazonian rain forests, or any other exotic fauna or flora they may or may not ever see. What we are trying to save is the lives of our children, grandchildren, and the future generations of humanity.
Richard Posner is a writer, computer graphics and image editor, and is skilled at electronic music applications. The full range of his political and ideological views, and the background for those, can be found on his own site. Richard can be contacted directly at firstname.lastname@example.org