EARTH MEANDERS: Only Cure for a Dying Earth May Be a Stewardship Revolution

By Dr. Glen Barry, EcoInternet
Earth Meanders come from Earth's Newsdesk
Earth can die, may need stewardship revolutionIf Gaia, the Earth System, is alive, then it stands to reason she can die. And the fact Gaia has not yet succumbed in past mass extinctions is no indication, and certainly no guarantee, that when hit simultaneously, in a geological flash of time — with climate change, deforestation, toxics, soil loss, scarce freshwater, dead oceans and more; caused primarily by over-population and inequitable consumption — that Gaia will not pass from being.
The degree to which humanity has changed Gaia's balance ecologically is clearly known by global change and ecological science, yet it is not well appreciated by most of the masses and ruling elite. Until it is, humanity and our sister species are careening towards global ecosystem collapse, where one day soon we will wake up on a toxic, largely lifeless planet and it will be too late.
If all entreaties to power to pursue necessary policies to avoid global ecosystem collapse continue to be rebuffed, there is a long tradition of protest culminating in revolution to draw upon as inspiration for a Stewardship Revolution. We need to steel ourselves to the possibility that environmentalism in the face of continued neglect by the ruling elite has become a battle for shared survival of our and all being.


Can the Earth System Collapse into a Lifeless and Uninhabitable Biosphere?
It is now generally accepted that the Earth System — the sum total of natural life-giving ecosystems into the one biosphere, sometimes referred to as Gaia — can in some important aspects be viewed as alive. This includes the ability as a super-organism to self-regulate its internal environment. Thus nutrients and energy flow between seas and forests, from water to air, and back again, in the (until now) seemingly endless rhythms of natural life. This habitat is our and all life's home.
When you study, research and observe these issues for decades, as I have, it becomes apparent that like any biological system, the Earth can die, and is already needlessly and prematurely dying now. I will not review the voluminous ecological science that indicates that uniformly global ecosystems are in decline and have already started to collapse. Google searches on “ocean dead zones”, “water scarcity”, “ecosystem collapse” to say nothing of “deforestation extinction” and “abrupt climate change”, make this abundantly clear. I have spent a lifetime building environmental search and news tracking portals including http://www.ecoearth.info/ that catalog and make accessible what is known about Gaia's looming demise.
Or you can walk outside and note how many native plants you see, what percentage of your landscape is intact ecosystem, what is required to make your water drinkable, and note changing seasonality. And if you are truly interested in your and your children's survival you may even read! Start with “Limits to Growth”, move towards the “Millennium Ecosystem Assessment”, and continue by getting a degree in ecology and/or global change. Most of what is necessary to diagnose Gaia's condition and propose sufficient, transformative ecological policies is already known.
I am frequently derided for saying the Earth is dying, as doing so will only cause despair. My response is that ecological truth exists, and it will be impossible to solve merging global eco-crises without an accurate assessment of the severity of the matter. Those that resist this ecological knowledge do so out of dogmatic ideologies, of which they may not even be aware. They are cut off from the web of life and unaware of the essentially ecological nature of being.
It is particularly troubling that so many people find comfort in the far from certain notion that “Earth will survive” no matter what after humanity's own demise. Given evolution is not guided by purpose, there is no such guarantee. Any one of the past five mass extinctions could have ended with a loss of complex or even all life. Because life has survived mass extinction to evolve again into ever greater diversity and complexity does not mean it necessarily will do so.
This is particularly so when, as now, not only are species becoming extinct, but the biogeochemical nature of Earth's environment is fundamentally shifting and may move outside the bounds of what is habitable. Gaia is now being bombarded by major biological and ecological change, in a never before seen barrage in all manners of ecological decline, and at an unheard of rate of change.
Both lands and seas have been, and continue to be, scoured of their unique life. The current atmospheric composition is historically unprecedented, threatening long-established climatic patterns. Gaia's lifeblood, water, is treated as a bottomless sewer. Ancient soils are eroding, countless species passing, remaining ecosystems are accumulating dangerous nitrogen; and all this is occurring within a toxic soup of untested chemicals that may have unknown deadly synergies.
Most of these profound biogeochemical changes have occurred in a mere 300 years. Today's Earth system is struggling under the pressure of 7 billion super-predators and their billions of livestock, which have and continue to grow at a super exponential rate. Under the dominant growth paradigm, each of these unique individuals want and expect ever more consumption, procreation and money/power; which can only come at the expense of more ecosystem loss. At some point, like a shirt having pieces cut from it, this will prove to be too much, and the fabric of being will fall apart.
Something has to break under such a scenario, and unfortunately it is global ecosystems which are required to make Earth habitable. Systems theory shows definitively that exponentially growing systems in positive feedback eventually tear themselves apart and collapse. Technology extends but does not eliminate limits to growth. Given widespread dismantling of the ecosystems that have made Earth livable for eons, who is to say that Earth dying is not a distinct possibility?
As a Conservation Biologist, I could spend my life writing scientific papers to illustrate these points, typing as Earth burns, knowledge that already exists, and will not be much read. Alternatively, I could join with other scientists in a controlled experiment on our one shared biosphere — essentially what is proposed by geo-engineering solutions to climate change — and see if dismantling ecosystems one by one and haphazardly eventually leads to destruction of the biosphere.
Or as a Political Ecologist, I can trust a lifetime of ecological learning and intuition, and the findings of thousands of eminently more qualified scientists, and work together with others that have been similarly ecologically enlightened to promote the sufficient social change and personal transformation necessary to reverse ecological decline. I have chosen the latter. Please join us.
Can We Discuss Escalating Earth Protest and If Necessary a Stewardship Revolution?
I strongly believe we need to steel ourselves to the possibility that Earth has been so buffeted by humans that it is dying. And if this is the case, then we are in a fight for our lives and need to act with the requisite courage and resolve to ensure Earth and all creatures' existence continue. Once having realized a state of ecological awareness, together we can will a just, equitable and sustainable Earth and society into being.
My scientific prediction that Earth is dying could be wrong. Regardless, clearly there is going to be mass starvation, chronic water shortages and major flooded cities as a result of climate change and attendant ecological crises. This is established fact that is indeed already happening. The death of hundreds of millions if not billions in the coming century is bad enough and should warrant some serious policy changes. Whether Gaia and humanity actually die, or just wish they had; clearly profound changes in birth rates, equitable consumption and use of natural resources — a Stewardship Revolution — is required if Gaia is to be stabilized and restored, and descent into an apocalyptic dystopia avoided.
Americans, the French and much of the world have a long and illustrious history of revolutionary thought and action that is celebrated to this day. Revolutionary wars were fought to establish liberty and freedom, that however incomplete, nonetheless largely banished monarchial tyranny (excepting the last U.S. President). There are periods in history where questions of liberty and justice required conflict for what was just and true, and sometimes just what was necessary to survive.
Both Gandhi and King brought a powerful new tactic of non-violent struggle to social movements. And indeed we should use these tactics, but not necessarily exclusively as these are different times with different imperatives and constraints. The extent of the necessary social change, intransigence of ruling elite, and severe time constraints whereby past certain tipping points it is too late, are unprecedented.
What I am proposing is a serious dialogue to consider whether escalating protest actions may be required to transform and, if necessary, overthrow the global political and economic systems that are liquidating life-giving ecosystems for a throw-away consumer society for some. It is possible to envision a radicalized ecological sustainability movement that would move through an escalating series of protest actions — from civil disobedience, through sabotage, and if need be violent acts of revolution — until necessary changes for our shared survival like ending coal, tar sands and old forest logging occur.
The seeds for such a movement are already there as increasingly creative, and at times militant, protest is occurring globally, for example against coal and whaling. This would need to be grown as a movement as rapidly as possible, helping distraught and soulless consumers to reconnect with Earth. This is where the non-violent mass sit-ins, occupation of buildings, obstruction of loggers, whalers and miners would occur. We all hope mass mobilization of global citizens solves the problems.
Yet, global ecological crises are so acute, and so immediate, that it could be made known that if initial peaceful protest fails to immediately achieve ecologically sufficient action, that some in the protest movement would escalate to sabotaging equipment and property used to dismantle ecosystems. It would seem evident that surgical strikes against property of known people and organizations profiting from and causing a dying Earth would be far preferable to any sort of indiscriminate terrorism, which should be avoided.
Clearly global ecological sustainability rises to the level of inalienable rights and duties that must be defended at all costs. No ecology, and there is no economy, love, art, sport or anything else. An Earth insurgency with the globe as its battlefield may become necessary, and should be planned for along with other tactics. Industrial society is far more fragile than it appears. The history of past and ongoing insurgencies shows that a couple tens of thousands of dedicated Earth insurgents — after due warning that continued governmental failure would be met with resistance — could certainly find a plethora of soft targets in the industrial growth machine.
A leaderless movement of autonomous cells committed to defending their bioregion would be virtually impossible to stop, could significantly raise the price of ecocide, and just may pull the Earth eating growth machine down. What a life to be had: by day agrarian, relocalized democracy; and at night ruthlessly destroying the destroyers. This could not be merely tokenism; it would be about ending the disease of tar sands, coal, old forest logging and elite rule and inequity based upon plundering of natural ecosystems.
As a last ditch effort to save Gaia and ourselves, a Stewardship Revolution would need to be swift, lethal, relentless and uncompromising to succeed. As with any insurgency, people could choose to partake to the level with which they feel comfortable. If conditions continue to worsen ecologically and the Earth slaying elite remain intransigent, some may choose to carry out targeted, well-conceived violent actions. Others may limit themselves to providing support and comfort for those carrying out the fight, as well as helping those displaced from industrial society to reconnect to the land.
I do not condone nor do I mean to imminently incite such actions, but the point is the Earth is dying, and there is no sufficient plan to stop the ecocide. The idea of a Stewardship Revolution deserves at least to be considered. The time may be now to issue a warning to governments that failure to aggressively and ambitiously act on climate change at Copenhagen at the end of 2009 will mean radicalization of resistance to the status quo Earth destroying economic and political systems.
Earth and humanity, both of which I love very much, are dying; and all free thinking men and women of good faith should be willing to consider all alternatives necessary to save our and posterity's being. And thank Gaia for previous revolutions, which in my country give me the freedom to academically think and write these thoughts. Discussing requirements for actions to achieve global ecological sustainability is not a thought crime. It may be the only way home to Gaia.
Gaia willing, Dr. Barry will be further elaborating on these ideas in the forthcoming book “New Earth Rising” coming soon.

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36 Responses

  1. A O says:

    Yup I got my PhD in ecology. I feel exactly what you say, but its all dead ends when you try to do this stewardship. I've worked for government–you're just shackled. There's no room for you to move to create positive change. I've worked for universities. You're driven to publish papers and get grants; you don't get to make any decisions and you produce this esoteric stuff, of which we have plenty, that no one acts on. I've worked for non-profits. They work you to death for no money and spend all their time declaring victory to get more donations, when you're wondering if you're doing any more good than harm, probably not. Activism–all us volunteers holding signs against corporate lawyers and police assaults. I agree, get your degree if you're serious about this. But where do we go from here?

  2. Colin Atkins says:

    Wow! An environmental revolution. My thoughts are that by the time the effects of global warming & our abuse of the planet are obvious enough to push people to this extreme that the masses will be pushing the politicians hard enough for them to take real action. But will it all be too late?

  3. Judy Cross says:

    I think the article is unnecessarily pessimistic.
    The rate of increase of human population has slowed and will continue to slow further as women are educated and populations become more urban. The observation has also been made that the more wealthy a population is, the less they trash things. Cheap energy is what is needed and that is more a question of getting the “dogs-in-the-manger” attitudes changed.Climate change is out of our hands and Dr. Willie Soon said it best—google, “It's The Sun, Stupid”.

  4. Anonymous says:

    Bull

  5. mynalee johnstone says:

    Its our lifestyle. Our created wants and needs.
    If half the population just quit driving for one year we would have a trillion and more dollars for projects.
    If we ALL quit driving,exept for service vehicles we would have a peaceful planet with a new lifestyle.

  6. A O says:

    >the more wealthy a population is, the less they trash things>
    Where did you get that? Its the wealthy people that consume the vast majority of the world's resources, this has been documented countless times.
    Also, climate change is very much in our hands–we are causing it, we know how we are causing it, and we know how to stop causing it. A 7th grade level understanding science is all that's needed, but reading any of the endless research articles will prove it to you as well. To think otherwise implies scientific understanding stemming directly from fox news or oil company lobbyists.

  7. Yep, I'm with A.O. – done all that. Not quite up for violent revolution but think we need more ecological internet, greenpeace, etc. Most people are “good” but they just don't know the specifics of what is going on, and how important it is, and what to do about it. But if they know the first two then the last one should come more easily.
    So keep getting the info out there and making people and companies more accountable…

  8. Miss Annette Barsby says:

    I do NOT think this is a pessimistic view, but more likely the truth. The more wealthy the nation the MORE they trash. I have observed this myself, and wonder if I am in the minority, when trying to help the environment with my green ways. In my opinion, we are tackling recycling completely the wrong way. We should STOP manufacturing masses of waste from wrappings of consumer products, and accept that we can't have everything as it is any more. It's a combination of many things – The Sun, natural changes in the earth, and unnatural changes, such as man's greed. Why should the Governments of countries that are lucky enough to have Ancient Rain Forest, chop them down, kill or capture, all the wildlife mercilessly, and tell the story that they are doing good? MAN'S GREED, BETRAYAL and IGNORANCE, is part of the problem, and too many people by way too far. It may be too late to save our precious planet as we know it, but we need NOT give up trying, because of that fact.

  9. Katherine says:

    Hi, Glen said:
    'like any biological system, the Earth can die, and is already needlessly and prematurely dying now'
    But every living body that we know of does, at some point, die. And if Gaia is a living biological body, then in accordance with the laws of nature she must at some point die.
    How can you be sure that Gaia is 'needlessly and prematurely dying'? Perhaps it is Gaia's right time to die. And we, like the mechanisms in our body that will cause its death by multiple systems failure, are merely the naturally evolved agents of her demise.
    She is, after all, quite an old lady who has already survived a few severe illnesses!

  10. Yagama says:

    Revolutions always go wrong, inevtitably turning into a case of “all animals are equal but some are more equal than others” Certainly someone wants to take advantage of potential revolutions and rise to the top in the name of the proposed Biblical “stewardship”. Humans have been harboring the illusion of
    “stewarding” the place for
    quite some time now, and all we leave is pollution and destrucion. I don't know the solution, but am against violence – but all for a permanent dismantilng of earth-destroying industial and political operations via non-standard means.

  11. Juola (Joe) A. Haga says:

    Dr. James Hansen has turned to non-violent protest. It takes a great deal of training. The Society of Friends (Quakers) offer classes, I've heard.
    At well into the fourth quarter of MY century, lack of condition precludes my taking it.
    Those despairing should reflect upon our experience with the Weather Underground, the Baader-Meinhoffs, and the Symbionese Liberation Army.
    It's understandable that with our species' extinction looming, some may say, “Ah, wotthehell !” I can't say that a vanguard might not, at this time, bring down the toxic regimes.
    Youngsters, well-read in the sciences, now graduate into a jobless furture. There are bubblings at the margins of our planet. Feeling my knees' stiffness, I simply can not join the swelling currents.
    Good luck, all!

  12. I get where you are coming from we have petitioned the government for years with regards to saving the rainforests if this area is replanted and protected we can stop the very worst disasters from happening. As we are all experiencing upheaval now sop will the Earth as we are all connected. A purge of the old is coming and this involves institutions such as monetary Bank of England which is corrupt and privately owned as is the federal reserve, institutions like police, and governments who in the uk have committed treason by selling this country to another such as the EU and also handing over the bank of England. When all the truths are seen by all there will be a breakdown. We ourselves have amazing power and we have the ability to help the planet if only we stopped being so fearful and wake up to reality instead of burying our head in innate rubbish. If we do not act NOW to help each other and the Earth we only deserve what we get.
    We need to stop putting each other down and hating cos you are only hating yourselves underneath it all. Lets pull together and die trying if necessary.

  13. Monica says:

    Hi Glen,
    That sure is an interesting message! I also worry that citizens and governments will not change things enough, fast enough, to save most of the species on this Earth from destruction.
    I've been doing the quizzes on the http://www.everywun.com site, and as far as I can currently recall, on the “Global warming” quiz, it says that the WWF has stated that all animal and plant species might be extinct by 2050 if humanity does not reduce its use of natural resources enough. (Or some such wording with a similar meaning – would have to check to confirm.)
    It's dire!
    Regards,
    Monica

  14. Nya says:

    Hi Glen
    I really do appreciate your comment, and share your sentiments of
    concern for Gaia and Earth.
    I would like to give you some heart however. I do think we are close to
    critical mass when it comes to people understanding the problems of
    climate change.
    And at critical mass, amazing shifts happen. This includes political
    shifts. Governments do reflect the will of the people.
    There are a lot of people with you, providing information. Soon, you
    will see, that governments will begin to undertake education programs
    about climate science. People want to be informed.
    Personal carbon emissions monitoring is the next big breakthrough. It
    will begin slowly, and like all cultural shifts, then as it catches on,
    will start to snowball.
    That is our best chance….. Any attempts to radicalise climate change
    will only slow the process.
    So I thank you for your efforts. They are marvellous. Have patience that
    they will bear fruit, and that there are many silent supporters of Gaia.
    cheers
    Nya

  15. Greer says:

    Dear Dr Barry – thank you once again for expressing common sense to a problem that must be addressed. I have a large collection of books of native peoples (American Indians in particular) and endangered wildlife, however, they are only part read because of the sorrow in them all. I cannot endure what is happening like many others. What you have written has dawned on others of my circle. I send your emails to some of my pals – they love them! It is like a religion that has been waiting in the sidelines for Man to find. I will be buying your new book.
    Greer

  16. Anonymous says:

    A part of the revolution should probably be the banning of the word 'Stewardship', which has now been thoroughly debased and co-opted. See below, protest about the latest grotesque effort on the part of WWF to greenwash its planet-wrecking clients in the name of 'stewardship'.
    NEWS RELEASE Embargoed until: 14th May 2009
    Worldwide Protest Against WWF's Plans to Launch Aquaculture Stewardship Council
    Over 70 human rights and environmental groups from around the world have today expressed outrage at the planned launch of the World Wildlife Fund's Aquaculture Stewardship Council.

  17. Sahm Sahm says:

    Staying true to our principles, I caution to conceive of action from a systems view – we exist in a (natural?) social ecology as well as a biological one, and how we interact with the social ecology will determine its response. If our actions engender fear, divisiveness and repression, we will have failed. We must act, but we must act from a holistic perspective that disarms opposition and inspires a better way.
    While there can be no compromise in the survival of Gaia, a sustainable revolution requires addressing how we change as well as why we must.

  18. seventhwave 101 says:

    When we people stop saying that the Earth may have had its time and it might be natural to die..? It is with great shame that I am part of the generation that killed the Earth and its creatures after 100s of thousand of years. We created this disaster , we must fix, population control however extreme it seems must be one of the only ways to stop our raping of the planet in the name of 'its my right to have a family' etc etc etc. Pathetic excuse. when will 'man' realise that just because we 'can' do something it doesnt mean we 'should'. How sad it is to be part of the most intelligent race ever to grace the planet but yet the most stupid.

  19. Certainly, those of us who have the knowledge of how we are damaging our Mother Earth have a responsibility to educate others. It is a time of forced change throughout the globe, and the gauntlet will be carried by our children and grandchildren. 'Greening' is more than a buzz word. The planet contains enough 'stuff' to outfit everyone. How we go about sharing it is the question. When it comes to population, I believe in 'survival of the fittest.' The idea that we go to extremes to save the lives of children who will never be able to take care of themselves makes no sense to me. That said, I believe the emphasis on making money for money's sake is an idea whose time has come and gone. I would like to see a 'movement' to save Gaia [and ourselves], but I believe we will see it first in ourselves and those we are raising. Water for survival is primary, and that would be a good place for all of us to start. Everything else comes next.

  20. snakeappletree says:

    where to go from here?
    grow your own food, in a polytunnel so it is safe from airborne contamination & toxins in rain. get off the grid & become self sufficient. if you arent doing this by 2012 then you are not going to survive much longer after that. plant fruit & veg & medicinal herbal crops everywhere that will possibly sustain them. research while you can about 'food for free' (edible 'weeds' & wild plants) & begin varying your diet away from supermarket products to high nutrition wild plants. build your own ecology that will provide all the resources your kids & grandkids ill need. its vital. if you dont do this, you dont deserve to survive by leeching from other people. nobody else is going to help you unless you help yourself.
    NO EXCUSES

  21. Barbara H. Vinson says:

    Mankind is what's wrong with the planet. He demands the right to over- populate as well as make a cesspool out of the environment for the sake of profit and/or power, and then say it isn't happening. He allows wildlife/environmental-hating idiots to run his government. Furthermore, he does not get involved against those who are killing the planet, its animals, its forests, and its oceans. That's just for starters. God help us all unless there is a turnaround in time. We must heed these early warnings and do something before tragedy strikes with both barrels. Believe me, there is nowhere else to go, and even if there were, we'd only take our plague-ridden attitudes with us.

  22. Trevor Goodger-Hill says:

    Don't any of you articulate and intelligent people realise that it is the economic system mankind has created that is killing the planet. Capitalism requires growth in order to survive and therefore each person must work and PRODUCE, each company must produce more profit or go bankrupt and each country wages confrontation, control and war on behalf of its owning class. The purpose of capital is to increase capital. Are you afraid to think the “unthinkable”? that we must replace capitalism itself as a means of providing ourselves with Marx's food, clothing and shelter.
    Capitalism or Common Sense?
    Common ownership means that the resources of the world and the means to produce useful goods from them would be owned by everyone and therefore by no one. All humanity would be producers meeting as equals to decide what, how and where to produce, based solely on mankind's needs. Distribution of goods and services would deny no one access to what they needed. This system would end the present class system and render money, trade, employment, exploitation, want and war obsolete. We can change the world as fast as an idea travels.
    We are a cooperative social mammal. It is the economic system we have created that produces greed and thirst for power — and produced the private ownership of land, by people and governments.
    May I suggest you read the credo of Citizens of the World and start the revolution of ideas that is necessary to transform out world society.
    Yours to incite World insight,
    Trevor Goodger-Hill
    On 1 May l990 Citizens of the World spontaneously materialized as a non-profit non-membership entity with the sole purpose of creating in the immediate future a new co

  23. Patrick says:

    It goes much further beyond climate change.
    There is a water crisis that is exploding around the World, soil crisis, food crisis, habitat destruction, species extinction on terrestrial and aqua areas, peak oil, a breakdown in community trust, wars, poverty and much more.
    Look at the big picture folks and it easily leads us to see that very large scale change is needed in a very short period of time. And it leads us to see how important out individual actions are, how important localization and community resilience are, and how important it is for us to come together as a people and spark a great movement to create World peace, prosperity and abundance for us as humans and us as an earth.
    Patrick

  24. Francis says:

    Simply, “progress”, so-called, is destroying the earth(land, air, water, vegetation, creatures) and perverting that which is Spirit(Light, Life, Truth, Love, Peace, Hope, Grace, Miracles, Faith, etc.) ;-(
    Postings have been made at TheDestructionOfTheEarth.Wordpress.com concerning such destruction and perversion and also concerning The Creator's(GOD, Father) promise that HE will “destroy those who destroy the earth(HIS Creation)!” (Rev11:18c)
    Yet there is a Living, Lively Hope!
    However, such Hope is not for that which is of the earth, earthly and fleshly, but there is a Living, Lively Hope for that which is Spirit, Heavenly and Spiritual.
    Hope for that which is Spirit is Alive because “progress”, which is the product of mankind's “imag”ination, can pervert, yet not destroy that which is Spirit! For that which is Spirit is Real, and that which is Real is Forever!
    So no matter how perverse this world's systems of religion become, that which is Spirit can only be abused and perverted, not destroyed!
    That which is Spirit is Eternal…….
    As for that which is called “religion”.
    “Pure religion and undefiled before GOD The Father(Creator) is this, to visit the fatherless and widows in their affliction and to keep oneself uncontaminated by the world.” (James 1:27)
    Simply, every other religion is impure and defiled!
    As stated previously, “that which is called “”progress” is of mankind's “imag”ination and can pervert, yet not destroy, that which is Spirit”, and so it is that this world, and it's systems of religion, have their version of “Light”, which can be turned on and off;
    Their version of “Truth”, which is of the “imag”ination;
    Their version of “Love”, which should be called lust;
    Their version of “Peace”, which needs be enforced;
    Their version of “Hope”, which is but a desire for temporal “things”;
    Their version of “Faith”, which is powerless;
    Their version of “Grace”, which is the liberty to “do your own thing”;
    And sadly, the favorite color of this world's religion is gray ;-(
    So come out of the shadows! And as is said by many, “Get Real”!
    Once again, “only that which is Spirit is Real, and only that which is Real is Forever”!
    Hope is there would be those who “see” that The Life is in and of The Spirit. Those who “see” will no longer have their portion with the multitudes who are destroying the earth(and, air, water, creatures, vegetation) and perverting that which is Spirit(Light, Life, Truth, Love, Peace, Hope, Faith, Grace, etc.) ;-(
    Simply, each breath(Spirit) you take is a revelation of The Source of Life.
    And “A Simple and Spiritual Life is the only Life that will survive!”
    Forever…….
    So “set your affections on Heavenly things” and be not of those “whose god is their bellies because they mind earthly things”. Be not of those who “love this world and it's things” and who are “progress”ively destroying the earth(land, air, water, vegetation, creatures) and perverting that which is Spirit(Light, Life, Truth, Love, Peace, Hope, Faith, Grace, etc.)…….
    Peace, in spite of the dis-ease(no-peace) that is of this world and it's systems of religion, for “The WHOLE world is under the control of the evil one” (1John5:19) indeed and Truth…….
    Truth is never ending…….

  25. Adrian Kelso says:

    This is a great video about the subject:


    It plays on the science fiction preamble to show the drastic future that we may face.

  26. stingrayy says:

    Climate change is already happening. Poor people are being hit first and worst despite doing least to cause it. We need to put pressure on our leaders to sign an ambitious deal that cuts emissions and helps poor countries adapt.

  27. Only eight long, dark years. How could the leaders of one generation go so wrong in so short a period of time?
    Perhaps the fearless, self-absorbed, proud and greedy Masters of the Universe in my elder generation wish to live without having to accept limits to the growth of economic globalization, increasing per capita consumption, and skyrocketing human population numbers. Our appetites are evidently insatiable. We choose to believe anything that is politically convenient, economically expedient, socially agreeable and religiously tolerated. Our way of life is not negotiable. We dare anyone to question our values or behaviors. We sanctimoniously promote our widely shared, consensually-validated and firmly held fantasies of endless economic growth and soon to become unsustainable overconsumption, overproduction and overpopulation activities, and in so doing willfully deny that Earth has limited resources and frangible ecosystems upon which life as we know it depends for its very existence.
    My not-so-great generation appears to be doing a disservice to everything and everyone but ourselves. We are the “what's in it for me?” generation. We demonstrate little regard for the maintenance of the integrity of Earth, an unwillingness to protect the environment from degradation, a lack of positive regard for biodiversity, and a remarkable blindness to the duty to provide a good enough future for the children. We are well-known for our failure to accept one vital, distinctly human understanding: humankind is an integral part of the natural order of livings things and, therefore, no more or less than magnificent beings with “feet of clay”.
    Perhaps Masters of the Universe do live in unsustainable ways in our planetary home; but we are full of pride and confidence nonetheless. Certainly, we will “have our cake and eat it, too”. That is not negotiable. We will own fleets of cars, fly around in thousands of private jets, live in McMansions, exchange secret handshakes, frequent exclusive clubs and distant hideouts, and risk nothing of value to us. We will live long, large and free. Please do not bother us with the problems of the world. We choose not to hear, see or speak of them. We are the economic powerbrokers, their bought-and-paid-for politicians and the many minions in the mass media. We hold the much of the world's wealth and the extraordinary power great wealth purchases. If left to our own devices, we will continue in the exercise of our 'inalienable rights' to outrageously and conspicuously consume Earth's limited resources; to recklessly expand economic globalization unto every corner of the natural world and, guess what, beyond; and to carelessly consent to the unbridled global growth of human numbers so that where there are now 6.8+ billion people, by 2050 we will have 9.1+ billion members of the human community and, guess what, even more people, perhaps billions more in the distant future, if that is what we desire. We are reigning, self-proclaimed Masters of the Universe. We enjoy freedom and living without limits. Of course, we adamantly eschew any talk of the personal responsibilities that come with the exercise of personal freedoms or any discussion of the nature of biophysical reality.
    Masters of the Universe deny the existence of human limits and Earth's limitations. Please understand that we do not want anyone presenting us with scientific evidence that we could be living unsustainably in an artificially designed, temporary world of our own making….a manmade world filling up with gigantic enterprises, virtual mountains of unnecessary material possessions, and boundless amounts of filthy lucre.
    Top rank experts with good scientific knowledge to share appear not to have found adequate ways of communicating to the family of humanity what people somehow need to hear, see and understand: the rapacious dissipation of Earth's limited resources, the relentless degradation of the planet's environment, and the approaching destruction of the Earth as a fit place for human habitation by the children, when taken together, appear to be proceeding at breakneck speed toward the precipitation of a catastrophic ecological wreckage of some sort unless, of course, the 'Engineers' of the world's global political economy continue to speed headlong toward the monolithic 'wall' called “unsustainability” at which point the runaway economy crashes before Earth's ecology is collapsed.
    Who knows, perhaps new leadership and a new direction such as President Barack Obama is providing will make it possible for us to realistically and hopefully hold onto the expectation that behavioral changes in the direction of sustainable production, healthful per-capita consumption, and self-regulated propagation of human numbers are in the offing…..changes that save both the economy and the Earth for the children.

  28. Gilles Fecteau says:

    Patrick wrote:
    “….Look at the big picture folks and it easily leads us to see that very large scale change is needed in a very short period of time. And it leads us to see how important out individual actions are…”
    The fastest and easiest way to reduce our demand on the ecological system is to go vegetarian. I know it is un-political to say so” but the reality is that it is quite easy to eliminate meat consumption (I am 59 years old and have been vegetarian for 9 years). You don't have to give up taste, it does take some adjusting but in the end you can have a more diversified menu and save the planet.

  29. Edward Craig says:

    An ecologist was once asked what a sustainable world population was.
    He was roundly condemned because the population he gave approximately equaled that of the United States at the time (about 200 million).
    No ecologist has since been unwise enough to publicly answer that question again.
    We are currently demonstrating that what ever the limit is, we have already far exceeded it.

  30. John Frois says:

    All the way with Dr. Barry.
    Humans are like mindless top predators on the loose destroying everything in their path to satisfy their own greed.
    For all their intelligence, humans have so far failed to develop some collective intelligence to ensure the survival of all life on earth including their own.
    Look at history. Humans' track record is a shocking disaster.

  31. Hi Dr. Barry
    I appreciate your effort very much. But I only classify you as a shallow green.
    You and most other environmentalists seldom explore how the prevailing economic/political/cultural mechanisms are effecting our eco-system, this in fact is the root cause why most people's environmental efforts are futile.
    Parlimentary democracy is better than autocratic capitalism now practicing in China, but parlimentary democracy is a kind of political system that is still far from desirable. Your recent most comment on Obama has supported my above comment. We placed hope on Obama for CHANGE, but it turns out now that the change is only superficial. To me this political system has failed the test of self correcting, to save this earth from destruction, we need to hand over the power to Nature, i.e. Rule By Nature, or Rule By Gaia.
    Capitalism put people all over the world into round the clock production/consumption war, how can we not destroy the earth with full force? You tell me.
    To save the earth we need to cut down the global material utilization by more than half, to achieve this we must practice a new kind of economy: Global Sharing Economy.
    Capitalism nurtures liberalism(in fact only superficial), so that nobody should stop you if you can buy your own jumbo jet private planes, jumbo yachts, SUVs . etc. In fact people/other people/other life/earth/ecosystem are closely intertwined into an organic whole. But liberalism implicitly put this fact into denial. So We need to acknowledge these values to be universal and ultimate: Nature(physically as well as easthetically), love of all life, Trying to understand the natural world and social world as much as possible. Only when a sizable percentage of people can convert to this kind of value orientation, humans can be saved.

  32. Emily says:

    I'm glad to see some comments on the need for political revolution… which, guess what, we've been saying for quite some time now. Of course we need a revolution but I think that the above posts are right in saying the destruction of capitalism and institution of small, self-sustainable communes is the only way to prevent what is happening now from happening again. So I recommend that we start living by example and showing people that this way of life is possible now. Also the v-word is probably necessary.

  33. GA1A1One says:

    A StewardShip revolution needs masses of people mobilised to succeed. It also needs a tear down of current global energy and economic systems on which billions of people depend on for comfortable lives. A big ask for the planetary Ark. Tell your friends.

  34. Stephen says:

    Miss Annette Barsby had written, “How can you be sure that Gaia is 'needlessly and prematurely dying'? Perhaps it is Gaia's right time to die.” If I am not mistaken the Gaia Theory as well as other theories that support Earth as a super organism state all living beings within this system evolve to ensure the continuity of the biosphere. The time of Earth's death should be when the Sun starts its last phases and vaporizes our planet in its own fiery death.
    As a Junior in highschool who looks to persue a career in Marine ecology and conservation I find it sad that we are destroying what gives us life. Many always think that the environment is unimportant or useless, that “the environmental stuff is for the birds” as my aunt would say… But then I respond, without the environment the air we breathe would be poison, the water we drink would be soured, the food we eat without nutrience, and the animals we love so much nonexistant. Others still deny climate change, that humans cannot change the composition of the atmosphere… well they are incorrect. We know living organisms can and have revolutionized the Earth's atmosphere before. 3.5 billion years ago the Earth's atmosphere would have been poisonous to breathe however due to the actions of tiny photosynthetic proto-bacteria Earth's atmosphere became oxygenated. Therefore everything that evolved afterword has lead to now… We have known about the greenhouse effect for at least 100 years now. We have degraded the crucial systems that support life and in doing so have put all life on this planet at risk. In 2007 the legendary Northwest passage had been opened, and quite recently the Northeast passage by the Russian portion of the Pacific had opened. Recent studies show that recent arctic sea ice is comprised of mainly first year ice which will melt next summer. We are seeing the begining of positive feedback cycles. But more disturbingly is that due to climate change we may have a few summers of cold weather and then afterwords an intensifyed period of warming. We should all be concerned that an El Nino period has started further warming oceans. Oceans this year were the highest temperature ever recorded since records began. The Sun is also going into its next 11 year phase in which we will see increased solar activity. This will serve to amplify warming. A tipping point will probably be reached by 2012 to 2020. In order to insure only a 2 degree warming, global output of CO2 would have to reach its peak by 2012 and by 2050 the world would have to cut at least 80% of its emmissions. This is not happening and with every study the warming seems to be accelerating ever faster. Houston we have a problem… Sadly, we are going to have to see a disaster like Katrina except on a global scale to shock us out of this denial…

  35. Green Energy says:

    Our planet is already dying. The escallating effects of global warming are clearly visible and it is very allarming. We should do some initiative before it is to late. By simple embracing a greener lifestyle, it could lead to a better earth for all of us.

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