In the Book of Genesis, God is rumored to have told newly created man, “Be fruitful, and multiply, and replenish the earth, and subdue it: and have dominion over the fish of the sea and over the fowl of the air, and over every living thing that moves upon the earth”.
Seems humans have taken that exhortation just a little too literally! Did God really intend for us to turn His miraculous creation into a smoldering, charred cinder, incapable of sustaining life more complicated than bacteria (or, the indestructible cockroach)? Sadly, God isn’t in the habit of granting face to face interviews, so we have only the word of those fortunate few who claim to know what He meant. My guess is, these insiders were likely the first financial experts who looked at a world burgeoning with diverse life and seemingly limitless natural resources and figured out its actual scrap value.
These are worrying times for those who are excluded from the world of Politics, Weapons Production, Oil, CDO’s, Commodity markets and Hedge Funds. For the average Joe, the end of all he’s come to assume is his birthright – his inheritance from previous generations, if you will – is starting to look pretty darned imminent. And, yet, those who claim the right to lead us through the yellow fog of pollution and environmental collapse don’t appear to have noticed. Indeed, their dedication to the accumulation of extraordinary levels of wealth remains their number one priority. To be fair, that’s pretty much the same as it would be for most of the rest of us, given half a chance.
So, you’ve turned the natural world into piles of cash. What do you intend to do with it? Eat it? That’s not such a crazy thought, by the way. We already have huge swathes of farm land being turned over to ethanol production. How smart is that? Instead of using corn for food, we’d sooner starve people in the Third World to keep our gas tanks topped up so we can visit the mall and spend money we don’t have. Here’s another incredible idea: let’s extract natural gas by using a cocktail of chemicals which turn America’s fresh water reserves into a toxic, inflammable, soup and praise the companies that are doing it for their efforts in reducing dependence of Middle East oil, which of course America is not dependent on (though the Chinese are, which is more to the point), since it gets only 19% of its daily oil needs from that part of the World. Your average punter should not fooled by any of this. He or she should know, in his heart of hearts, that using food for fuel is not a long term strategy. But, it’s not the average punter who’s invested in this insanity. It’s the politicians and their corporate owners who are pushing nothing more than another short-term, money making scam.
Frankly, I care not! In fact, I’m not even an environmentalist. Environmentalism is probably the most ludicrous idea ever to pop into the heads of the anti-corporate, anti-government (anti-everything) brigade since the ludicrous concept of conservation; and I’ll tell you why. Most environmentalists would not be prepared to return to a stone-age, hunter gatherer lifestyle, over the next decade or so, and get behind the mass culling of humanity (including themselves, or their nearest and dearest) down to a level of, say, a couple of million souls so the planet could be saved They just say they would.
Humanity started changing the world the moment it first appeared. And, it’s been downhill since then. The biological imperative to grab as much as we could, when we could, served us well in the beginning. Today, it’s our biggest enemy and will ultimately cause our demise.
Time for the truth! We might appreciate the beauty of a big cat, or a breaching whale, but Nature – or the Earth, if you prefer – could give a rat’s ass about the survival of the jaguar, the lion, the rhinoceros or the humming bird. It never has! Whether you believe God created the world six thousand years ago, or created the universe thirteen billion years ago and gave ‘Nature’ the job of filling it with life, or the whole thing is ‘accidental’, is unimportant. The plain fact is, according to the fossil evidence, there have been five mass extinction events in Earth’s history. At the end of the Permian period, most all marine species disappeared. At the end of the Triassic, half of all marine invertebrates and around 80% of all land quadrupeds went extinct. At the end of the Cretaceous, virtually no large land animals survived. Plants were greatly affected while tropical marine life was decimated. Global temperature was 6 to 14°C warmer than present with sea levels over 300 meters higher than current levels and the oceans flooded up to 40% of the continents. To quote Wikipedia: The massive eruptive event which formed the Siberian Traps, one of the largest known volcanic events of the last 500 million years of Earth’s Geological History, lasted for a million years and spanned the Permian-Triassic boundary, some 251 to 250 million years ago. So, the creation of the Siberian Traps likely caused the Permian extinction, and an asteroid strike near the Yucatan Peninsula may have finished off the dinosaurs – though there’s considerable evidence that they were in decline well before the disaster. Were these just random events, caused by an eternally evolving planet, or was the Almighty clearing the decks for our emergence? If so, I have to ask: why wait so long before giving the world the benefit of human intelligence? Of course, to someone devoted to the concept of Intelligent Design, this wouldn’t have been a long time (less than a fortnight ago, last Saturday, in fact, in geological terms). Sadly, God only talks to Televangelists, Popes and my next door neighbor’s dog. Provocative question: Is Intelligent Design a way of getting around the fact that, according to present academic thinking, white people descended from black African people? Just asking!
News flash! Nature doesn’t care about us, folks. Our immortal souls may well return to our Creator when we die, but our bodies are nothing more than raw materials for the next biological Ipod. For most, of course, our immortal souls are what matters more than anything else. Many Christians are positively foaming at the mouth over the end of our time in this physical world. I have no problem with that, other than to observe that short-stroking at the prospect of the arrival of Judgment Day does tend to make caring for the physical world somewhat irrelevant, which does have the effect of accelerating its annihilation. What of those who do not believe in the End Times prophecy? Well, the news is not good for them, either. We as individuals might be willing to do so, but the species as a whole, from the rapacious CEO’s of global corporations down to the humblest peasant among us, with fourteen children, twenty-seven grand children and six great-grand-children, is not capable of making the necessary reductions to our demands upon a fragile, natural and finite world, which has provided, at best, only brief periods of environmental and climactic stability – the latest of which may, given recent events, be drawing to a close.
But, don’t worry! Somewhere, hidden in a deep cave, or borne on the back of a comet, life will endure. The Earth will turn, the sun will rise and set and a world ravaged by humanity will be filled, once more, by life forms even James Cameron couldn’t visualize.
It’s our choice: survival or extinction. But, don’t for a moment think that Nature is rooting for us… or any other species for that matter.