The world’s and especially America’s environment has gone mad during the summer of 2012. Abrupt climate change is clearly upon us, and life-giving ecosystems are visibly failing, portending doom for our shared biosphere, all life, and humanity. Given overshoot of ecological boundaries, and failure to pursue concerted national and global sustainable development and ecological sustainability policy, 2012 may well be the year Earth’s death through collapse of its one shared biosphere becomes inevitable.
By Dr. Glen Barry, EcoInternet
Abrupt Climate Change Is Now
Fundamentally the meaning of life is ecosystems [search]. Without a healthy, intact, diverse and operational environment – humanity and all life simply cannot exist. As a result of the human ecocidal system of industrial growth, local ecosystems are being destroyed globally for insatiable human consumption. Life of every sort – including Gaia, the Earth system herself – is dying.
Earth’s biosphere – the thin mantle of life from underground to the top of the atmosphere, which self-regulates the Earth System to keep it habitable – is collapsing. Ecological science knows this with certainty – in disciplines including planetary boundaries, limits to growth, global change and ecology. If nothing is done, massive social and ecological collapse is imminent, and the end of biological being is possible. Earth is burning and the human family is essentially doing nothing.
During 2012, the United States of America – with an extreme lack of winter, spring tornadoes, summer wildfires, droughts, massive storms, heatwaves, and other weather “weirding” – is witnessing an unprecedented break down in North American climate and ecosystems. Lack of reliable atmospheric patterns threatens water, food, livelihoods, security and general well-being as never before.All industry’s well-financed climate and ecological denial in the world can’t undermine the truthful scientific fact that global ecosystems’ biogeochemical processes are failing.
Global, regional, and local ecosystems are literally falling apart – witness climate, drought, and wildfire impacted Southwestern United States – land normally so arid few should live there, and which is on the verge of becoming uninhabitable. Everywhere you look, we see it again and again: No ecology, no economy, nothing forever.
U.S. Western wildfires and epic drought, the record smashing heatwave – and concurrent extreme weather mayhem from the United Kingdom to Russia – show the consequences of abrupt climate change, water and land mismanagement, and over-population and inequitable consumption; and foreshadow all our futures as ecosystems collapse. Soon, barring major actions to sustain ecosystems, America and the world’s food, water, ecosystems, and security will be further threatened as such global ecological collapse intensifies.
These ecocidal trends are so massive and pernicious, that by the time widely evident abrupt climate and ecological change are recognized – acknowledged as the biosphere, and thus civilization threatening, ecosystem collapse they clearly are – it will be too late to take the necessary dramatic measures to identify and enact solutions to minimize, survive, and recover from the damage done to ecosystems.
It is not enough to act with urgency and resolve once ecosystems have been razed to a wasteland, and hardships are pervasive, self-evident, and widely agreed upon by lay persons. Then it is way too late.
It is the nature of ecological systems that damage done today is not fully realized for decades. This dangerous lag time in the global ecological system means humanity has already overshot key planetary boundaries – such as water, extinction, and abrupt climate change – and the impacts are just beginning to be more fully revealed to us in heat, drought, and life’s death. Such massive and pernicious ecocidal trends can only get worse as they are fully realized.
U.S. is being pummeled by abrupt climate change – yet indoctrination in free market absolutism, our sense of always inherent exceptionalism, and denial of ecological truth is too strong to overcome and even acknowledge the problem, much less begin to act urgently. Acknowledging climate change and other ecosystem collapse evident all across America would call into question an over-consumptive way of life for some, and necessitate profound social change in equity, sharing, fairness and society’s central meaning of life.
Perhaps we are meant to live fairly and well together as part of nature, and not shop for only a while upon the gleaned fruits of fallen ecosystems?
False belief in America’s infallible exceptionalism makes America afraid to admit something is wrong with climate and ecology. If America was truly exceptional it would be able to look at recent and dangerously worsening weather and other ecological extremes over the past several years, and acknowledge and do something about abrupt climate and ecological change. The nation’s climate inaction and ecological ignorance is more befitting of a backward, uneducated, authoritarian nation – something America increasingly resembles.
The human family – of which Americans are one small yet important part – faces an unprecedented global emergency of collapsing ecosystems and our one shared biosphere. Earth is dying – taking all life along with it – because we are indoctrinated to deny limits and can’t acknowledge ecological collapse clearly evident before us.
Together all peoples act now to sustain global ecology – working on the front end of an emerging global emergency, one ecosystem at a time, using all judicious means necessary – or it is clearly too late to maintain our natural habitat, and human and natural being ends.
Green Libertarianism: Being Green While Remaining Free
Global ecological collapse is occurring against the backdrop of continued rollbacks of civil liberties – particularly in America – and a failure to universalize basic human rights including economic justice. As abrupt climate change hits, it will be easy for post 911 America to fall back upon yet more authoritarian responses, in this case in vain attempts to stem ecosystem collapse.
It is absolutely critical that during the ecological struggles to come, that governance remains humane and limited, and civil liberties and global human rights are respected.
Large and intrusive fascist governments will dramatically limit personal and community responses to sustain global ecology. The conflict and social unrest which will occur as ecosystems collapse will not be solved or meaningfully addressed in any way by limiting liberty, other than the need to further strictly protect ecosystems from individual acts of destruction.
Both flavors of American corporatist government support large government, which arbitrarily takes away liberty, without focusing well upon the real emergencies where government leadership is necessary, indeed irreplaceable – such as abrupt climate change and a collapsing biosphere. Political freedom and personal liberties are threatened as never before. Elements of the tea party are openly fascist in their appeals. President Obama orders extra-judicial assassinations of American citizens.
America and the world need new political institutions and actors committed both to global environmental sustainability and universal rights, freedoms, and duties. It is up to green, free Americans to develop another political route – perhaps called green libertarianism – based upon some long-cherished basic ideals updated for the age of ecocide.
Real American patriots reduce their consumption when they see it is causing our shared environment to fail and others to suffer; and refuse to accept torture, assassination or perma-war for any reason on any authority, because both are the decent and right things to do.
It is Un-American to slovenly consume yourself and your environment to death, to ignore massive and abrupt climate change occurring before your very eyes, to give up on peace and wage perma-war against innocents, to tolerate summary assassination of American citizens, or to sit placidly by as your formerly great nation wages ecocide and loses it principles.
Yet, it is clearly established that our right to freedom ends where it undermines, even destroys, the common good – as is occurring with industrial capitalism’s ravaging of our shared ecological base necessary for our very survival. Reasonable limits upon industrial growth and personal “rights” to destroy ecosystems are absolutely necessary to maintain our shared habitat. There is simply no other way to avoid destroying our one shared biosphere.
However, this vital need to stop abusive and self-destructive ecosystem destruction does not legitimize intrusive, authoritarian government regulating every aspect of our lives, or ruling our bodies and minds.
There is nothing exceptional about willful ecocide. The United States of America’s ecosystems are collapsing due to preventable abrupt climate change and environmental destruction. Essentially, we have to stop burning fossil fuels and cutting native vegetation. There is nothing sacrosanct about any particular ecocidal industrial, agricultural, consumption and other living patterns – many which are relatively new, cause massive ecological crises, and threaten our very survival
If your way of living is killing ecosystems, you have to stop now, or you will be compelled involuntarily to do so. Consider it a tax on your right to exi st and share in the free use of the natural environment.
If America was truly exceptional it would be able to look at recent weather extremes over the past several years, and acknowledge and do something about abrupt climate and ecological change. Sadly America has become so removed from nature, ecosystems and wildlife that we don’t recognize ecocide and ecosystem collapse as it bites us in the ass, destroying our ecology, habitat, and cherished – yet highly threatened – sense of individual freedom.
Now Is the Time to Act with Urgency to Sustain Ecology
Warnings of ecological collapse went unheeded for decades, now ecosystems are crashing and livelihoods are being lost as predicted, as we are at risk of losing our one biosphere. Tragically global ecosystems and their vibrant life are passing away into nothingness, unnoticed and unprotected, as ecology science provides clear warnings and solutions to sustain the biosphere. But few listen.
Yet, a tiny window may exist for dramatic social change to sustain global ecology. Abrupt climate change is here and only urgent policy – i.e. protecting and restoring old forests and other intact ecosystems, beginning the end of fossil fuels, powering down industrial growth to a steady state, and reducing both human population and inequity – can save us now. Much can be done to build a society where the personal ability to live sustainably is more available, easy and affordable.
Only if we choose to pursue global ecological sustainability as society’s central organizing principle, can Earth, humanity, and all kindred life be saved from environmental, social, and economic collapse.
It is absolutely unconscionable – an abject failure of the political process – that the issues of abrupt climate change, sustainable development, and global ecological sustainability are not on the political agenda with the Obama and Romney Presidential race, or anywhere else for that matter. Never has such a planetary emergency – collapsing global ecosystems – been so evident, yet been so willfully ignored.
We will all pay dearly in blood, sweat and tears for our failure to know of our utter dependence upon ecosystems, our refusal to see clearly that we are killing them, and our inability to sacrifice and make social and personal changes sufficient to maintain naturally evolved ecosystems as the context for our and our ancestors’ well-being forever.
There will be no escaping the consequences of our failure to heed ecology. It is almost certainly too late to avoid significant abrupt climate change and global ecosystem collapse – the question now is whether it is survivable and whether we can recover. This is still being determined by the urgency and sufficiency of our global ecological policy responses, which are virtually non-existent at a scale commensurate with the degree of threat posed by global ecosystem collapse.
Let’s be clear, Earth is in fact dying at human hands, and at an indeterminate but approaching point it will be a certainty and too late to stop. For all life to survive, the human family needs a global land and ecology ethic now, starting with an immediate end to murdering ecosystems. We must acknowledge and embrace the profound sacrifices and positive social change required to maintain an operable atmosphere and biosphere – in a just and equitable world – after so many years of neglecting these green and free ideals.