This is my second post today. The first was a brief note about the outcome of the 2012 election called Much Ado About Nothing — Dave
In truth, I am quite relieved that the 2012 election is over, for now I can return to writing full-time about the Real World, a place where the Earth's surface is warming rapidly, the oceans are becoming a plastic-filled, acidified, fishless soup, the futile economic struggle against the 2nd Law of Thermodynamics is racing toward its inevitable conclusion, and, at least here in America, navel-gazing, myopic members of our misnamed species Homo sapiens remain preoccupied with inconsequential, fraudulent matters unrelated to their ultimate or even short-term fate.
I first featured British writer Paul Kingsnorth in my post The Inherent Contradictions Of Pro-Growth Environmentalism. When I wrote that post in early 2012, Kingsnorth was articulating a sane position regarding the actual intentions of alleged (but co-opted) "environmentalists" with regard to this planet. Here's a quote from Kingsnorth from that post—
It became apparent at that point that what I saw as the next phase of the human attack on the nonhuman world a lot of my environmentalist friends saw as “progressive,” “sustainable,” and “green.” What I called destruction they called “large-scale solutions.” This stuff was realistic, necessarily urgent. It went with the grain of human nature and the market, which as we now know are the same thing. We didn’t have time to “romanticize” the woods and the hills. There were emissions to reduce, and the end justified the means.
It took me a while to realize where this kind of talk took me back to: the maze and the moonlit hilltop. This desperate scrabble for “sustainable development” was in reality the same old same old.
People I had thought were on my side were arguing aggressively for the industrializing of wild places in the name of human desire. This was the same rootless, distant destruction that had led me to the top of Twyford Down. Only now there seemed to be some kind of crude equation at work that allowed them to believe this was something entirely different. Motorway through downland: bad. Wind power station on downland: good. Container port wiping out estuary mudflats: bad. Renewable hydropower barrage wiping out estuary mudflats: good. Destruction minus carbon equals sustainability.
So here I was again: a Luddite, a NIMBY, a reactionary, a romantic; standing in the way of progress. I realized that I was dealing with environmentalists with no attachment to any actual environment.
Good stuff. Kingsnorth has a blog at his website The Dark Mountain Project, and a reader called my attention to this opening quote from his post Re-Wilding The Human.
What kind of civilisation can change the climate of an entire planet – as far as it knows, the only planet in existence which sustains life – and yet find the evidence of this so uninteresting that it relegates it, in its hierarchy of ‘news’, below the latest murder, the inevitable re-election of one of its increasingly meaningless political figureheads and a lot of people running around tracks for a week in a big aerodrome?
What kind of civilisation can tip the web of life into a ‘death spiral’ and then spend its time arguing about whether or not this is a good thing? What kind of civilisation can embed something it calls ‘economic growth’ so deeply into its sense of self-worth and meaning that when it dimly becomes aware that this growth is turning the Earth itself upside down, it responds with calls for more of it? What kind of civilisation arrives at a point of no return, and then insists that the only ‘pragmatic‘ response is not to change the way it operates but to remake nature itself, from the genetic level upwards, in its own image? Anything rather than change. Anything rather than face the impossibility of change. Anything rather than look down.
What kind of civilisation can change...? That's a good question. Kingsnorth is obviously thinking The Problem all the way through. The next question to ask is What kind of species would create the kind of civilization which can change...?