EARTH MEANDERS: Earth Bailout and the Stewardship Revolution
Global citizens together committing to a revolutionary spirit of action are the Earth and humanity's last best hope
By Dr. Glen Barry, EcoInternet
From Earth's Newsdesk
Oceans on acid, certifiably crazy ancient forest logging, carbon markets paying to log and pollute — the global ecosystem is failing and the world has gone mad. The disease of too many humans, each wanting to forever consume more at the expense of liquidating life-giving ecosystems, must be decisively cured before being ends. It has become apparent that changes of the magnitude necessary to ensure humanity's shared survival are not, indeed cannot, occur without transformative revolutionary action. What hope remains for the Earth and humanity lies in a global people's movement to topple polluting industries and usher in an era of stewardship.
Global citizens could choose to commit ourselves to planetary, bioregional and personal stewardship by pursuing mass protest and if necessary revolutionary insurgency to bailout the Earth. There is virtually no chance of saving the Earth and all her inhabitants without overthrowing speculative, industrial capitalism. To maintain a livable Earth, it may be that an unprecedented Earth Revolution waged by global citizenry — first through mass protest and political means, and if need be through sabotage, insurrection and violent revolution targeting the Earth destroyers — must commence immediately.
This academic examination of actions any Earth lover could take, if they want the birds to continue to sing and their children to breathe, is in no way meant to incite or condone imminent violent acts. Anyone choosing to do so would of course bear the legal risks and threat to their life of taking a stand for shared survival. It is meant solely to discuss one option for saving the Earth which is not spoken of in polite society, and deserves to be: revolutionary action to utterly destroy those killing the Earth.
INDUSTRIAL, SPECULATIVE CAPITALISM DESTROYS BEING
The economic heyday of living fast and loose based upon liquidating ecosystems on credit is over. And none too soon, as humanity has exceeded the capacity of the Earth to provide habitat for all its creatures including humans, and an inevitable economic and ecological contraction has now commenced. Modern capitalism, and by this I mean speculative finance and resource intensive industrialism, has failed to provide just, equitable livelihoods without destroying ecosystems. The whole existing economic, political and social systems are simply irredeemable.
Massive change in our environment and how we live are inevitable. We live in a money-grubbing, Earth destroying, inequitable and unjust world with a billion starving and a billion fat people, each in their own way sucking the Earth dry. A painful transition in how all of us live, individually and socially, is happening. Yet we can still determine whether this change is ultimately positive, in terms of more equity, justice and sustainability; or not, as the world is flung into despair and collapse from continuing with the status quo of endless growth in populations, economies and consumption.
We need to take one last concerted effort to reform existing government and society to sustainability, equity and justice. If peaceful entreaties to power, from a massive protest movement of global citizens, to do what must be done to achieve ecological sustainability are rebuffed, yet again, it is up to all enlightened folks to smash the growth machine. Industries and individuals liquidating natural ecosystems will have to be destroyed to get back to a steady state where we actually make a living, creating with our hands and minds, from an Earth that lasts forever. History is full of times where people needed to take decisive action to survive, and now is one such moment.
Looming ecological, economic and social collapse — of which the human family is just on the front end — is a repudiation of western democracy, of organized religion, of capitalism, and it illustrates how bereft and illusory those ideals are. Existing thought and social structures have been revealed as having little relevance for addressing seven billion super-predators that are eating their habitat. Our ability to access water, air, food and shelter required for biological life is already failing, and the despair and despondency associated with third world poverty is all of our futures.
These traditions would encourage us to carry on, making slight reforms, and to bicker and quarrel for scraps of former consumptive glory. They are unable to facilitate a reexamination of human relations to the Earth's ecosystem and other species, and achieve a powering down of the industrial economy and return to the land, at the necessary scale and speed to avoid an apocalyptic ecological, economic and social collapse. Business as usual, including minor reforms around the edges, will never bring about global ecological sustainability. Exponential growth always destroys itself. The forces of destruction are too pervasive and too powerful to learn to play nice and give up their positions of privilege.
CRAPPING ON ECOSYSTEMS
Earth has been trashed. Global ecosystems, including air, water, land and oceans; continue to be destroyed for throw-away consumption, and to be treated as waste dumps. The atmosphere is warming, changing in chemical composition, and losing its protective layer. The Arctic is melting like dropped ice cream on a hot pavement; portending massive sea rises and further unleashing abrupt and runaway climate. The ability to grow our food, be safe from extreme weather, and dependably enjoy clean water is in doubt. And it is not just climate that is at risk — FAR from it.
We are witnessing interconnected collapse of all life giving ecosystems, which aggregates to global ecological collapse of the biosphere. Our land has been cut and scraped of its life. With only a few massive forest wilderness ecosystem engines remaining to power the Planet, the delusion that these primeval givers of life should be cut to make our lawn furniture continues to thrive. Species continue to be lost daily, unknown and unvalued. Forests continue to first become farms and then parking lots. More terrestrial ecosystems have been lost than the biosphere can bear, and our sister species, and climate and water cycles, are universally in perilous, life-threatening decline as a result.
The well is running dry globally, and severe water shortages are set to kill hundreds of millions soon. Meanwhile business sees this (and climate change) primarily as a means to profit, and seeks to privatize water globally — completing the elite's slavery of regular folks just struggling to get by. The oceans are nearly lifeless, fisheries are collapsing, and they are becoming acidic dead zones. Toxics pervade our environment and our body's very cells, and we do not know what they do individually, much less as a toxic cocktail. Soils are being lost, nitrogen cycles overwhelmed, deserts obliterate arable land, and populations continue to rise exponentially and demand more of everything which means more destroyed ecosystems.
Meanwhile, the rich panic as their economies stop growing, so their governments are halting even meager existing progress on climate change and other global crises. Billions live on a buck or two a day, and live brutal, violent and short lives while an equal number live in opulent splendor. Only the latter don't see it that way, and panic at the thought that their splendiferous ways will not continue to grow forever. The world is full of uneducated, crazy loonies that hold blindly to ancient superstitions and are completely oblivious that the foundation of their and posterity's existence — the habitat necessary for all present and future life — is being destroyed for their illusory comfort.
THE ELITE'S FAILURE
Over the past decade the Kyoto Protocol has shown us just how difficult it is for countries to make real and deep cuts in their carbon emissions. During this time, emissions have soared by over one percent a year, and are projected to begin rising soon by up to 2.5 percent a year. Emissions are growing beyond imagination and way faster than even worst case scenarios. Every year the science becomes more dire — abrupt climate change of horrific speed and consequences looms. The Earth System needs cuts of emissions of at least 3 percent a year, and almost undoubtedly more, to avoid civilization ending abrupt and runaway climate change.
Sadly, the truth is simply that the cuts in emissions of greenhouse gases necessary to halt climate change below a dangerous level are now almost certainly beyond what human society can achieve in the timescale required while maintaining the status quo political consensus and economic growth. Faced with overwhelming science and democratic expressions of public concern, the ruling elite have squandered decades, showing clearly they are incapable of taking the measures necessary to protect the Earth System. At the first sign of ecologically mediated economic downturn, they have jettisoned international political cooperation and urgent domestic measures. Because it would threaten their privileges, the elite have virtually assured destruction of the Earth and doomed the majority of people to hopelessness as we descend into chaos.
It is grotesque that the world's governments have spent tens of trillions of dollars to bail out a failed system that turns rainforests into cheap consumer items, shits carbon into our only atmosphere, and views beautiful life-giving creation only in terms of money for its destruction. This willy-nilly effort to continue a deeply unsustainable economic system amounts essentially to governments directly paying people to consume. These funds could easily have solved every environmental crisis — climate, forests, water and oceans — and many other social problems, but instead were unquestioningly given to prop up criminal bankers and the corrupt system which exists to liquidate ecosystems. We can only hope the economic downturn will mean less consumerism and environmental destruction.
Governments are miserably failing to lead. From Australia's 5% carbon reduction target, to Europe's rainforest based biofuel aspirations, to the U.S.'s endless dithering — the global growth machine has proven unwilling to release its death grip upon power. And while Obama's rhetoric is welcome, in all likelihood the magnitude of ecological change required is beyond what can occur within a majority rules democracy firmly in control of the polluting elite.
Obama is a great man, and appears concerned about climate change, but he is unlikely to overcome the economic and political system's utter suicidal dependence upon growth at all costs in a finite world. We all hope Obama can overcome oil oligarchy rule, and in a time of recession, get the right wing wackos to realize we need to cut carbon emissions by 80% as soon as possible, and put in place a sizable carbon tax. But realistically, it is not going to happen. Obama is certainly better than war and eco-criminal Bush, yet just how much transformational change can a President be expected to make that goes right at the privileges of the elite?
One person cannot bring about the transformative changes necessary from within a system whose whole purpose is to destroy ecosystems for increased consumption. He cannot do it alone, but a protest movement and credible revolutionary threat CAN give him and others in power more room to advance the ball. That is, a credible radical revolutionary threat can increase the political space to carry out difficult policies. Social change has always primarily come about only when the elites are faced with losing their positions of privilege, and must capitulate to avoid destruction.
Industrial, speculative capitalism based upon growth is going to end, along with the over-consumption, one way or another. The only question is whether after there will be habitat and ecosystems for continued human survival. This economic downturn will not be solved through greater liquidation of ecosystems for their resources. We need to return to the land and equitably meeting human needs, as we power down the Earth eating growth machine and begin an era of stewardship and ecological restoration.
It is ludicrous to despair over reductions in economic growth and money for consumption when these are precisely the measures required to bring humanity back into balance with the Earth System. It is difficult to not meet all of the “needs” marketers have hammered into our heads, particularly when our children feel it is their birthright. Yet it is time as parents to steel our will and cut back on consumption so that our children can survive.
The mainstream environmental movement has become an industry that profits from the existence of this myriad of ecological problems. They are fatally compromised and deeply in denial, failing to realize their efforts, even if fully realized, are insufficient by many orders of magnitude. Even the radical groups are confusing being well funded and on TV, with actually being effective at creating sufficient large-scale ecological social change. They completely fail to grasp the enormity of the global environmental challenges, the momentum behind population, consumption and ecosystem loss trends, and the magnitude of action required to save being.
All the earnest, scrubbed, comfortably upper middle class environmentalists assuring you that climate change is really an opportunity for green jobs are dead wrong. Their minor tinkering reform of an irredeemable economic system and consumptive way of life is not enough. Technocratic solutions' disconnect from ecological limits is downright dangerous. If we want to keep on living, the only way forward is for the Earth and humanity to be utterly transformed.
PEOPLE POWER, EARTH INSURGENCY
It has become abundantly clear that the transformation necessary to maintain the Earth and humanity will have to come from the people. The only pathway to Earth healing and sustained human betterment may be a mass movement of global citizens demanding policies sufficient to achieve global ecological sustainability in an equitable and just manner. And if this fails, committing to an escalating revolutionary spirit of action, willing and able to do whatever is necessary to maintain a livable Earth.
I do not intend here to provide detail, but rather to highlight key elements of a Stewardship Revolution. Given increased scientific clarity that humanity and Earth are heading towards a cataclysmic collapse, and the inability of current elites to respond to decades of warnings, it is essential that the possibility of escalating protest including revolutionary violence be considered.
The first response from both the politically correct and neo-conservative crowds alike will be how could I suggest such a thing? My response is that there are times — including now when our very being is threatened — where revolution is appropriate. There have been many instances in human history where revolutionary violence advanced human betterment — ending slavery, establishing representative government — and others — India's independence and an end to institutionalized racism — where non-violence was the best tactic. It is suggested we use both to save the Earth, as clearly all tools are needed now.
It is not acceptable to give up on the Earth. Protection of our genes, families and habitats are any animal's deepest intuition. After three decades of environmental campaigning, it is clear that changes of the scale and speed necessary to achieve global ecological sustainability are not happening. Political structures are ill-equipped to make the changes necessary, primarily because those who profit from ecocide are the ruling elite. With elimination of activities such as use of coal and ancient forest logging, and return to a less consumptive, localized life, the human species' future can be assured.
The long term vision of sufficient policy to avoid apocalyptic ecological and social collapse is an end to industrialism and a return to stewardship where humanity lives from the Earth's annual increment of spare natural capital. Yet there are many that benefit greatly from liquidating ecosystems and they will not stop doing so easily. There is no indication that the elites who are holding the reins of power, and even the average consumer enjoying an ill-gotten life of leisurely consumption, is going to give up their Earth destroying ways without a fight. But if they cannot be compelled to do so, we all die. The evil spirits of over-population, over-consumption and ecosystem loss destroying our shared existence must be exorcized using all means necessary.
It is time to return to the land, with our communities and families, and practice wise stewardship — even as we prepare, if necessary, to destroy capital, organizations and people mortally wounding the Earth and our prospects for shared survival. Stewardship views the land and ecosystems as living entities that need to be nurtured, and defended at all costs. This means protection, restoration and regeneration, and harvesting what can be taken without diminishing the whole.
Now is the time for reclaiming the knowledge of our elders of how to live with Earth, and laying our lives on the line for her continued being. Revolutionary change is desperately needed that is committed steadfastly to fidelity to family, community and ecosystems; self-sufficiency and sharing of abundance; localism and bioregionalism; conservation and restoration and, above all, learning to get by decently within natural limits.
Everything we know about the state of the Earth indicates that revolutionary activity must commence immediately with an urgent program of mass mobilization of global citizens for peaceful protest, demanding the necessary actions sufficient to protect our and Gaia's being are implemented immediately. And should continued entreaties to power to do the right thing for the Earth and all life's future continue to be rebuffed, a credible Stewardship Revolution would pursue strategies to protect the Earth like destroying coal plants and old growth logging operations, and helping displaced persons reconnect to the Earth with provision of land, seeds and know-how.
It would need to be clear that failure to act on initial peaceful protests would result in escalating revolutionary action that first targets property and then full scale revolution and all of its attendant horrors. Speaking strictly from requirements for maintaining a habitable Earth, one could envision a 24 month revolutionary time frame. During this period revolutionary actions would slowly escalate from people power to all out revolutionary insurgency. To make this a credible threat, it would be imperative that organization of autonomous cells to carry out an Earth insurgency begin now.
The ability of governments to surveil their own citizens means an insurgency would have to be largely leaderless. To be successful it would require completely autonomous cells organically taking action bioregionally to destroy the capital and organizations that are destroying the Earth. This global, leaderless, covert resistance would operate clandestinely and independently of one another. The focus would best be upon large-scale destruction of Earth destroying equipment, to be followed with targeted attacks upon those responsible. No random acts of terrorism are merited, and again I emphasize, as part of the revolution much effort would need to be put into helping those formerly living unsustainable lives to reconnect with the land, and to provide basic needs for as many as possible.
As with most successful revolutions, there will be various levels of commitment and different tactics. The Stewardship Revolution will require loose affinity groups as well as actual fighters. Some will only feel comfortable with public protest. For those that choose to violate the laws through revolutionary violence, now could be the time to plan targets, lay in food, and otherwise begin clandestinely preparing for a revolution — building their small cell of long-known, like-minded confidantes, building caches of arms, and training in insurgency tactics. All could begin building relocalized communities and ensuring the water and food necessary to weather the hard times that are going to come one way or another.
Again, the intent of the broader revolution would be to end Earth destroying activities peacefully. Yet, should this not be possible, then the focus must be upon totally destroying the enemy. There is no half making revolution, and if you try, the powerful elite will smash you. Future hope for the Earth and continued human existence may lay with the agrarian warrior — committed to righteous living with the Earth by day, and at night an insurgency to save being. Our survival now depends upon Earth liberators aligning their lives and bodies around demanding the real solutions. Others have bravely done what had to be done in the past, and this facile generation can strengthen itself and achieve shared survival too.
How ironic and improbable that a habitable Earth is unlikely to be maintained without ecologists seizing power through mass people power protests and, if this fails, through the credible threat of an Earth insurgency. It is long past time to at least consider and seriously discuss an Earth Revolution, and without provoking any imminent violence. With the inevitable collapse of the global ecosystem and civilization looming — violence is here for most already, and coming soon for all the rest — if we do nothing. So it is really a choice between the hope attendant with fighting to maintain a livable Earth, or just sitting by and doing nothing, and letting climate and water and everything else necessary to live well go to hell.