Calling All Future-Eaters
The human species during its brief time on Earth has exhibited a remarkable capacity to kill itself off.
The Cro-Magnons dispatched the gentler Neanderthals.
The conquistadors, with the help of smallpox, decimated the native populations in the Americas.
Modern industrial warfare in the 20th century took at least 100 million lives, most of them civilians.
...Homo sapiens, as the biologist Tim Flannery points out, are the "future-eaters."
In the past when civilizations went belly up through greed, mismanagement and the exhaustion of natural resources, human beings migrated somewhere else to pillage anew. But this time the game is over. There is nowhere else to go.
The industrialized nations spent the last century seizing half the planet and dominating most of the other half. We giddily exhausted our natural capital, especially fossil fuel, to engage in an orgy of consumption and waste that poisoned the Earth and attacked the ecosystem on which human life depends. It was quite a party if you were a member of the industrialized elite. But it was pretty stupid.
Collapse this time around will be global. We will disintegrate together. And there is no way out. The 10,000-year experiment of settled life is about to come to a crashing halt. And humankind, which thought it was given dominion over the Earth and all living things, will be taught a painful lesson in the necessity of balance, restraint and humility.
There is no human monument or city ruin that is more than 5,000 years old.
Civilization, Ronald Wright notes in "A Short History of Progress," "occupies a mere 0.2 percent of the two and a half million years since our first ancestor sharpened a stone."
..."Whether human beings would still be a force on the planet, or even survive, is a moot point," ...Clive Hamilton in his book "Requiem for a Species...writes. "One thing is certain: there will be far fewer of us."
We have fallen prey to the illusion that we can modify and control our environment, that human ingenuity ensures the inevitability of human progress and that our secular god of science will save us. The "intoxicating belief that we can conquer all has come up against a greater force, the Earth itself," Hamilton writes.
...We face a terrible political truth. ...Decisions about the fate of the planet and human civilization are in the hands of moral and intellectual trolls...
...lobbyists make the laws. Their public relations firms craft the propaganda and trivia pumped out through systems of mass communication. Their money determines elections. Their greed turns workers into global serfs and our planet into a wasteland. ...They cannot be reformed or trusted.
...We will either defy the corporate elite...or see ourselves consumed.
Time is not on our side.
...The future, if we remain passive, will be wrested from us by events.