Two Contemporary Political Commentators On The Value Of Abandoning Hope

No hyper-bol; no exagérations; no inaccuracy; no fake news; no religious dogma (theist or atheist); no conspiracy – just the situation laid bare: the planet is being killed (not dying) and we know it. The mass extinction event currently underway, along side climate change, air, land and water pollution, and just about everything else that surmounts to the day-to-day normality of this culture presents us with an impending apocalypse (in any meaningful sense of the term), which this culture will have to face up to eventually.

Marxist-Lacanian philosopher and sociologist Zizek, despite his reverence of Stalinist-socialist type-civilisation, has some valuable insights on the value of abandoning hope –

“The true courage is not to imagine an alternative, but to accept the consequences of the fact that there is no clearly discernible alternative: the dream of an alternative is a sign of theoretical cowardice; it functions as a fetish that prevents us thinking through to the end the deadlock of our predicament. In short, the true courage is to admit that the light at the end of the tunnel is most likely the headlights of another train approaching us from the opposite direction.” Zizek.

Radical environmentalist writer Derrick Jensen stated in his seminal text Endgame this –

“A wonderful thing happens when you give up on hope, which is that you real-
ize you never needed it in the first place. You realize that giving up on hope
didn’t kill you, nor did it make you less effective. In fact it made you more effec-
tive, because you ceased relying on someone or something else to solve your
problems—you ceased hoping your problems somehow get solved, through the
magical assistance of God, the Great Mother, the Sierra Club, valiant tree-sitters,
brave salmon, or even the Earth itself—and you just began doing what’s neces-
sary to solve your problems yourself …. When you give up on hope, you lose a lot of fear. And when you quit relying on hope, and instead begin to just protect those you love, you become danger-ous indeed to those in power.” Derrick Jensen, Endgame.

It is time we have the courage to abandon hope, stop taking comfort in it, take responsibility for our lives, the world our lives are immersed in, and start to act in resistance and revolt – defending wild nature and attacking that which seeks to kill it.

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Industrial Agriculture Is Punishing Soil With Fertilisers And Creating Oceanic Dead-Zones

These are the words of soil expert Rick Haney on agribusiness’s pursuit of maximum crop yield –

“We were applying fertilizers and getting these big yields, so that system seemed to be working — until we began seeing, for example, the dead zone in the Gulf of Mexico [created by algal blooms triggered by high nitrogen levels from fertilizer], and we started wondering if this was really working right. Are we putting on too much fertilizer? And the answer is, “Yes we are.”  It’s like instead of feeding your children a balanced diet, let’s just feed them vitamins. That’s not going to work, is it?

Our mindset nowadays is that if you don’t put down fertilizer, nothing grows. But that’s just not true, and it never has been. The biggest issue with all this is that we keep wanting to get higher and higher yields. But the reality is that you are shooting yourself in the foot doing that …

… Well, if we are going to overproduce corn, wheat, soy, sorghum — look at the price. Why is the price low?  Right now, these guys are planting corn around here, and I’ve talked to several of them who tell me that they won’t be making any profit this year. They are looking at a loss. It’s just crazy. If you are going to overproduce your product, the price drops. So what are we doing?

We had a guy I talked to last week who said, “If I adopt these soil health principles, my yields will fall.” And I said, “Yeah, I hope so, I hope everyone’s yields fall.” There’s just this mindset that we’ve got to increase the yields, increase the yields, increase the yields. You can’t keep doing that.”

Taken from this piece on Yale Environment 360.

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More on Mexican dead zone here and here.

What’s Scaring Scientists? Human Extinction Through Artificial Intelligence.

Executive director of Climate Nexus Jeff Nesbit suggests that humanity might be extinct by 2050.

“The human race could vanish in the blink of an eye within our lifetimes … there is a dark, threatening side to the AI story, and it is only now being discussed publicly.” Nesbit

Nesbit draws from the fears of individuals such as Bill Gates, Stephen Hawkins and Elon Musk in his article on the subject – full text here.

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Desertification – Agriculturally Induced Ecological And Climatic Shifts Created The Sahara Desert

When thinking about the Sahara do you picture a green landscape, lush with vegetation and teeming with life? Of course not! Because today the Sahara is a desert, dry and arid: a harsh and unforgiving landscape. The ecoregion is the worlds largest hot desert, stretching across North Africa, from the Red Sea to the Atlantic ocean. […]

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When thinking about the Sahara do you picture a green landscape, lush with vegetation and teeming with life? Of course not! Because today the Sahara is a desert, dry and arid: a harsh and unforgiving landscape.

The ecoregion is the worlds largest hot desert, stretching across North Africa, from the Red Sea to the Atlantic ocean. Geoarcheological research by Dr. David Wright of Seoul National University has found that human driven ecological and climatic changes, brought about through the advent of agriculture, are the principle cause of the shift from the lush green landscape it once was into the ecoregion we know today.

His research has found that, as vegetation removal increased to introduce domesticated livestock, the amount of sunlight reflected off the earths surface increased, causing shifts in atmospheric conditions that resulted in reduced monsoon rainfall. This then lead to escalating vegetation loss and desertifiction, creating a feedback loop that spread across the ecoregion.

Agriculture owes its roots in shift from hunt-gatherer polycultures into the monoculture of civilisation at approximately 10,000 BC- the cradle of civilisation being the fertile crescent, which spanned from the Persian Gulf to Upper Egypt. Urbanisation and the advent of cities are other defining features of civilisation, whose origins for contemporary global civilisation are found in the fertile crescent.

When discussing the introduction of agriculture by Euroamericans in the Americas, Dr. David Wright states – “(m)ore analogous to the African context, the introduction of domesticated livestock by Euroamericans into semi-arid and arid regions of the Americas profoundly altered the ecosystem, inducing regime shifts in many regions. Grazing and browsing ungulates evolved in the Americas during the Cenozoic and were a critical component of the ecological matrix (Grayson, 2011; Woodburne, 2012). Prior to Euroamerican settlement, vast prairie grasslands spanned the interior upland regions of both North and South America. However, with the exception of Highland South America, there were no domesticated grazers present before the arrival of European settlers. Cattle (Bos taurus)  introduced a new pressure to the landscape that spatially and temporally correlates to a regime shift from grassland to scrubland (Van Auken, 2000).”

Dr. Wright’s research displays how, as well as being an immediately destructive process through the loss in vegetation, agriculture creates conditions for escalating feedback loops, with increasingly worsening results. And with the contemporary food crisis bringing about a global land grab for domestic consumption, changes in climate and soil destruction is worsening too. In Britain, soil degradation through intensive farming has gotten us to the point where we have about 100 harvests left, at current rates of consumption.

Extensive damming and draining projects are now worsening the ecological conditions of the area that once was the fertile crescent, with no efforts by the governments to reduce or reverse the damage. And given that 15% of the worlds human populations currently live in deserts, the importance of Wright’s findings are apparent because, as he states “the implications for how we change ecological systems have a direct impact on whether humans will be able to survive indefinitely in arid environments.”

 

Oceans Are Warming 13% Faster Than Previously Thought

According to research published by Science Advances, the worlds oceans are warming 13% faster than stated by previous estimates.

In a press release, the research team had this to say –

The oceans are affecting weather and climate through more intense rains. This process is a major reason why 2016 was the hottest year ever recorded at the Earth’s surface, beating out 2015 which was the previous record. Additionally 2015 was a year with record hurricanes, heat waves, droughts, and wild-fires around the world.”

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Ocean warming is already directly affecting bird and fish populations across the globe. Ocean warming is responsible for the drastic decline in the ocean’s phytoplankton, which will only worsen with the continuing rises in temperatures. And the way in which it is affecting weather systems across the planet is a disaster for the biosphere.

Disposable Plastic Bottles – A Disaster For Wildlife And Rivers

Plastic bottles are a common part of daily life in the western world. In the US 1,500 plastic bottles are consumed every second, 80% of which end up on landfill sites, leaching chemicals into the ground. They contain Bisphenol A and phthalates, which have a harmful impact on human health and are released with heat. […]

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Plastic bottles are a common part of daily life in the western world. In the US 1,500 plastic bottles are consumed every second, 80% of which end up on landfill sites, leaching chemicals into the ground.

They contain Bisphenol A and phthalates, which have a harmful impact on human health and are released with heat.

They are made from the petroleum product called polyethylene terephthalate, which requires fossil fuels to produce and be transported. In their production, they require two gallons of water for the purification process of one gallon of water. They take longer than a human lifetime to decompose – 450 years as one estimate states.

Littering means many end up in ecosystems, such as rivers, where they create a plethora of problems for the animals who live there, such as their tops being mistaken for food by fish and birds, with 90% of seabirds now consuming trash.

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In Britain, plastic pollution is an environmental catastrophe for rivers, such as the Thames, with plastic bottles being one of the more common items found by those attempting to reduce the damage. The situation has gotten so bad that the Environmental Audit Committee has launched an inquiry into the damage caused by disposable drinking products.

Rather than tackling the issue at hand, most of the proposed solutions and strategies in place are based in industrial recycling measures. But, besides being ineffective and inefficient, the industrial recycling industry comes with an entirety of its own toxic problems and pollutants.

Solving the problems created by plastic pollution appear too vast to comprehend, especially when so many believe in the false promises of the bright-green business-as-usual-environmentalism that dominates discussion. But with techno-utopians and those in positions of institutional authority being less than helpful, it is clear that it is up to individuals and communities who value the health of the ecosystems they are part of to do what they can to reduce the damage of this culture and resist its relentless violence towards the living world.

I leave you with this quote from prominent environmentalist writer Derrick Jensen –

“By now plastic is almost everywhere. By everywhere I mean in a huge portion of consumer products, in food and packaging, in liquid containers and the liquids they contain. By everywhere I mean in the oceans and in the air and on the land. By everywhere I mean on Mount Everest and in the Marianas Trench and in remote forests.”