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The End of Being

Abrupt climate change and ecosystem collapse are leading to plagues, famine, perma-war and tyranny and will ultimately result in biosphere collapse and the end of being

The Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse — Death, Famine, War, and Conquest — result from our everyday choices and are not preordained

“I’m just sitting here watching the wheels go round and round…”

John Lennon

“Regain a sense of wonderous awe at the miracle of creation and work tirelessly to protect and restore nature’s splendor.”

Dr. Glen Barry

Deep Ecology Essays by Dr. Glen Barry

Look out the window, any window, and behold portends of the end of being. The very ecological fabric of being is unraveling. Disease, famine, false prophecy, and authoritarianism are rife.

The biosphere – the thin mantle of life upon the Earth that holds ecosystems that are the habitats for all life – is dying. And all Earth’s life is threatened with prolonged collapse followed by extermination. There can be no escape. Unless as individuals, societies, and humanity we dramatically change. And fast.

These are hard topics to talk about. Where to start? Religion and overpopulation, given the level of ignorance that exists regarding these topics, are as good as any.

Living our lives based upon millennia old myths, for which there is no evidence and the messaging is ecocidal, shackles the human family to a most ominous fate. Invisible ghosts living in the sky in constant judgment, and if we do not do as religious authorities say, we will burn forever; is a false, tawdry and dated manner to organize society. Particularly as we are told without proof that the ghosts want us to go forth and multiply and subjugate the Earth. And murder for our tribe’s rich old men.

Please, enough already.

We break free of god pollution or in a self-fulfilling prophecy all that we love will assuredly be unnecessarily destroyed.

The multiply part – from one to eight billion human beings in about 130 years – has led to exponential growth in human numbers, fueling the stripping of Earth’s life support systems. Some say the ghosts don’t want us to control our fertility, relegating humanity to the status of a disease upon the biosphere.

Grotesque inequity, a handful of super-predators possessing half of Earth’s wealth, while billions live on a few dollars a day, exacerbates the physical conundrum that Earth can not produce as much as we desire in total to consume. Vast forests, waters, oceans, and even the atmosphere have been fouled and destroyed to meet humanity’s insatiable hunger.

And then there is looming demise of nature. For millennia since humans settled, ancient naturally evolved ecosystems have been destroyed for “development”. Nature is destroyed for consumer goods, allowing human nerve endings for some to be positively stimulated for a while, as the habitats that constitute our life support systems are weakened. And eventually natural systems collapse and die. First the woodlot out back, then your city’s surroundings, next your bioregion’s ecosystems collapse, even whole countries’ and continent’s natural assets are lost, and eventually and finally Earth as a whole will follow in-kind and become a tawdry, denuded mess. And die.

The spilling forth of European ecocidal genocide into indigenous nations and their natural habitats represented an infection upon Gaia that has festered and grown. And may well prove fatal. Innumerable worldviews that understood the harmony between humans, nature, animals, and the stars have been wiped from being.

The industrial revolution, building wealth by murdering plants, wildlife, and non-white people, became a universally accepted twisted concept upon which to build society and individual aspiration. Wave upon wave of disease spilt forth from the destruction of wildlife and natural ecosystems and continues to do so. Most recently coronavirus, and any number of pathogens are yet to emerge during the collapse as nature ends.

Priceless ecological systems – that evolved novel and miraculous structures and patterns across scales from genes, to organisms, to communities, upward to ecosystems and landscapes; and together constitute our one shared biosphere – continue to be cut to wipe your ass. Nature is being liquidated for consumer throw-away crap, as basic human needs of so many go unmet.

Major ecological crises (sadly for which there are solutions) fester and grow, any one of them capable of toppling civilizations, and together capable of ending the conditions for life on Earth. Topsoil erodes. Rainforests fall. Diseases emerge. Water gone. Oceans die. Harvests fail. Toxics accumulate. Climate heats. War murders. And tyrants reign.

Granted, the momentary abundance provided for by market economies has led to the rights of man, slowly expanding (though not yet universally) to include all human beings. Democracy and liberty have made for greater well-being, remarkable liberties, unprecedented comfort, with less violence. Yet universal human rights have not been achieved and piece-meal advances have recently been shown to be weak and flaccid.

Resource scarcity and declining prospects have led to a surge in authoritarian tyranny, with petty dictators of all types in power over much of Earth’s inhabitants. One great people recently narrowly averted collapse into full-throated authoritarian fascism (for a while anyway). Other great peoples live under constant surveillance and threats of violence for thinking and acting freely.

Universal human rights are a precondition for just and equitable global ecological sustainability.

And then there is war. Huge amounts of Earth’s productive capacity continue to be siphoned off by the Congressional-Military-Industrial complex. Murdering other usually less fortunate people in the name of your god and country for the economic benefit of elite, usually white old men is good business if you can get it. Mass hysteria accepts war as patriotic. Yet free-thinkers and many vets know war is murder.

Humanity’s state of perma-war and resurgent tyranny is a direct result of environmental decline.

There can be no just, equitable, sustainable future until guns are beaten into plowshares one last time. Standing armies in times of peace are wasteful and evil. Imagine what could be done with these resources to educate, feed, clothe, house, employ, and limit the fecundity; while otherwise maximizing the shared well-being and sustainability of humanity. The obscene amount of armaments that presently exists greatly increases the potential for violence as ecosystems continue to collapse, and social strife explodes, making regeneration and reconciliation much more difficult.

The time for global demilitarization is long past due.

What philosophy remains unthought, technology un-invented, words unwritten, songs unsung, stories untold, and sport feats undone because we toil all day to destroy ecosystems and wage war? Humanity and you are capable and worthy of better.

And finally we have arrived at that painful matter of the entire biosphere collapsing and dying. Abrupt climate change and natural ecosystem loss are diseases of the Earth System that threaten an end to being for the human family and all kindred species. We immediately power down our fossil fuel use and destruction of nature or it is the end.

Failure to embrace a great transition means decades of war, pestilence, famine, and disease. Your family either starving or being raped and then murdered in front of your eyes. For the lucky, nuclear explosions to mercifully wipe the human taint. Before widespread collapse and mass die-offs, perhaps of all life.

Gaia, the Earth System, is a living organism. There are no guarantees that the tremendous destructive impacts of so many types, so quickly, upon already diminished biological systems, will not end the billions of years of conditions conducive to live, or that a re-radiation of evolutionary diversity is assured.

The biosphere too can die. Being can end. It’s happening now, creation is in its death-throes. Unless the will is found from watching and deeply understanding the multitudes of looming warnings, and necessary changes are made in how we relate and depend upon each other, kindred species, and nature.

There are things that can be done. Survival for awhile will be local, we need to grow our own food and find livelihoods that are local. Much can be done to limit consumption, but that will not be enough. Many of these problems are societal and can only be defeated through rationale thought, improved education, and global people power.

We know what must be done, all that is lacking is the will, even in the face of self-evident disease, fascism, hunger, and war caused by nature’s decline. Regenerative agriculture, population control, restoration ecology, bans on natural ecosystem clearing, universal human rights, global demilitarization, ending fossil fuels, energy conservation, and major expansion in renewable energy are all key (there are others).

The great transition will require far more than teenage girls striking. However well intentioned, if most others are self-righteously vilified, social change cannot succeed. We need allies of every type including farmers, business people, veterans, people of color, labor unions, financiers, indigenous peoples, and particularly the rich and powerful. History has shown that when the elite are made to understand it is in their interest to change, only then does social change come. Engage with efforts to reform finance in service for Earth.

Even as you grow coalitions, set your sights high, based upon what is ecologically sufficient. The business of war murders must end. Nothing short of societal transformation that eliminates the destroyers while fostering regenerative systems will suffice. Only a broad-based movement can avert being’s end.

Watch and understand the wheels going round and round. And then become a cog in the wheels of ecocide. Re-localize, grow food, make more with less, organize, convince others, take actions for Earth you deem necessary.

Understand that ecology is the meaning of life.

Regain a sense of wonderous awe at the miracle of creation and work tirelessly to protect and restore nature’s splendor. The human family must embrace the great transition – powering down, making love not war, and returning to nature – coming together to avert biosphere collapse

Starting now. Make it so. For Earth and all species. Or it is good-bye forever.

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5 Responses

  1. Marcel says:

    Thinking logical is the solution Glenn.
    But how many of us are capable? And live accordingly to that?
    Action causes reaction.
    So when we and our domestic animals represent 96% of the weight of all mammals on earth at these moments ?
    So this time we HAVE to put all our eggs in one basket and grossly follow your recipe.
    The human being should learn to see the intrinsic and absloute value of Nature and the relative value of money.
    BUT WHO , WHAT will be the real trigger of a massive response that is on time?????

  2. Kim-Nora says:

    Dear Dr. Barry,

    I haven’t heard from you in a long while. I hope you and yours are staying well and safe. From across the Atlantic the United States as a society is barely recognizable. I don’t know when I’ll go back to visit my former home.

    But two noticeable changes those of us who’ve lived long enough are aware of… the woods are stone silent, and the windshields are clean. Even as a child I became painfully aware of “The End of Being.”

    Thank you for your writings.

    Kim-Nora

  3. Farooque says:

    Dear Sir,

    Thanks for forwarding the article. I’ve gone through it. It’s good. Have you mailed it to Countercurrents? If not, please, consider sending the article to Countercurrents.
    You’re correct as you write “all that we love will assuredly be unnecessarily destroyed.” I just like to add: It’s not only all that we love that will be destroyed; it’s everything, all that we love and hate will be destroyed. Even, capitalism, the hated system, the source of this on-going devastation, will not survive.

    Regards.

    Farooque

  4. Rob Pines says:

    All Nonsense
    Trump 2020

  5. Freya says:

    I don’t think that the synergy of climate change’s affects will result in an “end of being,” as many animals – including humans – are tough and resourceful, and will find a way to survive.

    You might be interested in a project I have been touting for a few years. A Knowledge Ark is a way to preserve humanity’s accumulated learning and culture in case of a calamity so devastating that it destroys the fabric of civilization. We need to create several of these Arks in various parts of the world so, if our society does collapse, the survivors and their descendants won’t have to start from scratch.

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