Now HERE's a refreshing item to find!
--it's SO rare to see someone actually addressing the core of the problem!)
Date: Sun, 30 Jan 2005 08:19:21 -0600 Reprinted by permission.
Viva la Earth Revolution! A Sustainable Future by All Means Necessary
By Dr. Glen Barry, http://www.environmentalsustainability.info/
January 30, 2005
We know what is required for global environmental sustainability, what islacking is political will. In the face of continued stonewalling andgreen washing by the Earth liquidating industrial growth machine, loversand protectors of the Earth and her humanity should not so quickly dismissthe possibility of an Earth Revolution - peaceful or otherwise -sufficient to ensure global ecological sustainability. Gasping EarthI am constantly amazed at people that afford the natural world - plants,animals and the Earth itself - little or no worth. Modern humans havelost sight of the web of life and our place within, and because of suchwillful ignorance the Earth and her humanity's survival is threatened. Weshould all be aware of the environmental problems that face the Earth andthus our and our children's survival. Threats to the Earth are morecomplex than if we pollute we will get global warming - what we arewitnessing is the demise of the global ecological system.The world's environmental crises include forest and other habitatdestruction which causes loss of biological diversity and ecosystems;water and oceanic overuse and degradation; climate and other globalchanges; and a deadly cocktail of persistent toxics. Each globalenvironmental malady is but a different aspect of the Earth's ecosystemdecline and collapse in total, brought on by humanity's fecundity, avarice and stupidity.The Earth's perilous condition is exacerbated by the tragic state ofhumanity. Global inequities in wealth, terrorism and militarism, and anabsence of social justice, both cause, and are caused, by environmentaldecline. Western civilization such as it is - including its economic,religious and social systems - has not and will not prove adequate tosustainably provide for most of the Earth's inhabitants for much longer.The Earth is dying because of the way you and I live. This essay shalltry to identify key ecological requirements for global ecologicalsustainability, turning later to the political ecology of the matter.
I close with a perfunctory examination of conditions under which a violent "Earth Revolution" may be justified.
Global Ecological Sustainability
Here I wish to investigate in broad strokes elements of an environmentalpolicy adequate to achieve global ecological sustainability. The humanfamily must embark upon the most ambitious project in history - an "Earth Revolution" - in order to again achieve a combination of naturalecosystems and human endeavors adequate to sustain themselves and eachother. As humanity has already overshot the carrying capacity of theEarth, global ecological sustainability will only be achieved by Entering an age of ecological restoration which stops further destruction and Helps natural habitats to expand and become healthier.
Environmentalist and pro-...'growth'.... people have a fundamentally different View of the world. Anyone with half an ecological wit can see imminent Limits to growth do exist, however delayed due to technology.
Desertification, water-borne disease and climate change clearly indicate there are too many people that in sum total are consuming too much. Lifestyles of affluent countries are going to need to be simplified and made more efficient to reduce their impact. But this does not obviate the fact that the Earth now has many more humans than can be supported well.
My best estimate is that there will need to be a reduction in Population to around one billion - the exact amount to be calibrated as Requirements for global ecological sustainability continue to emerge. This can best be achieved through immediate global incentives to have fewer children -including tax relief, and preferential access to education and otherbenefits. With an average of one child per couple (though in practicesome may have none and others as many as two), this could be achieved in several generations.
We must learn to love and respect the land. Most people will need to Be living symbiotically with the land. Science suggests 50% of land areawill need to be maintained as "global ecological reserves" - zoned asareas of strict protection, natural conservation management, tribal lands and other community-based conservation development schemes (eco-forestry, eco-tourism, gardening and plant raising, restoration). This will require massive continental level rebuilding efforts; as whole roads, towns and other human artifacts are removed from large and connected areas deemed necessary to maintain ecosystems and non-human species.
Cities will need to be re-thought and transformed. On the simplest level, this means pedestrian and ecological needs will surpass those of cars and their roads. New urbanism and bioregionalism inform us that humans can live, work, play and socialize in ways appropriate and sustainable fortheir local environments. The next technological revolution will focusupon what is necessary for human continuity. Business will be required to not only end pollution and environmental damage, but to pursue economicactivities that are ecologically restorative.
Access to water must be enshrined as a basic human right. Those that Have gained access to large amounts of water through historical accident Will lose their "rights". In particular irrigated agriculture from fossilwater stores to support inflated populations will become a thing of thepast. It will no longer be deemed socially acceptable to use lakes andrivers as dumping grounds for waste. Riparian zones and key watershedswill need to be removed from human use.
The world's oceans have long been thought to be too massive to ever bedamaged. Large marine dead zones and dramatic declines in fish and other marine wildlife have shown this to be false. If oceanic ecosystems are to persist and continue providing services upon which civilization depends, large marine protected areas - some one third or more of their total area are going to need to be placed off limits to industrial development. This will mean an immediate end to industrial fishing/mining of marinelife.
Maintenance of predictable and relatively stable climatic and othergeo-biochemical patterns will require a complete revamping of our energy infrastructure. Super-Kyoto targets must be established and implemented that reduce carbon dioxide and other emissions by over 60% by 2050. The best minds and materials must be put into such efforts, noting that current expenditures are a miniscule percentage of that spent on the military. Not only do we not know what toxic persistent chemicals do individually, we have no idea of what they do synergistically. The age of life destroying engineered chemical compounds will end.
Humanity will need to return to rituals that acknowledge our place withinthe cosmos and the Earth. Doctrinaire cults of personality will bereplaced by rituals that acknowledge and celebrate the natural rhythmswhereby life is possible and continues. Life's meaning will come fromknowledge, community and creativity - not from consumption. Ourchildren's future will be assured only when humanity acknowledges theEarth is alive, our mother, and the giver of life.
Ideally, a peaceful Earth Revolution based upon enlightened self-interest, a well developed ecological ethic, and good governance will provide conditions sufficient (above) to ensure global ecological sustainability, while equitably meeting all of humanity's basic needs. It is much desired that this occur non-violently. I implore each of us to pursue every non-violent means possible to get the human family into sustainability with the Earth, in order that neither is destroyed.
As an academic exercise I wish to briefly examine when and why a Violent revolution may be necessary on behalf of the Earth. I do not mean to suggest that death and mayhem - part of any revolution - is desirable or imminent; but the Earth's must be protected and healed at any price. Assuming that other political and social measures have failed, I Suggest that as a last resort a violent Earth Revolution may be necessary to save the Earth. Given the precarious state of the Earth and all herinhabitants, the possibility of a violent Earth Revolution to save theEarth should not be discarded out of hand.
One way or another, humanity's destruction of the Earth and our habitatwill be remedied. Gaia will either shrug our grubby existence off through famine, pestilence and war - or we shall enter an age of restoration and sustainability - through wise governance or through violent revolution. Perhaps it is only through murder and mayhem that we can save the Earth. Would you have fought to stop Hitler or Napoleon? Would you fight to protect your children's lives? Then why not fight to protect the Earth? Indeed, doing so IS fighting to protect your children.
If ignorant, self-righteous and superstitious fascists continue to reign - the true eco-terrorists in their plundering of the Earth's life givingsystems - it may well prove necessary to use violence in defense of theEarth. In discussing this as an academic exercise, I would suggest That the sort of mischief that has been carried out in the past by Earth First and ELF - spiking a tree, destroying a bulldozer - is inadequate. AnEarth Revolution is not about making a statement - it is about results.
I would suggest that to be effective, a violent revolution on behalf ofthe Earth must seek to seize power, smash Earth destroying entities, and transform society along the lines indicated above. Anything less wouldprove inadequate. The industrial triad of fossil fuels, mining andlogging would need to be immediately dismembered, to allow the Earth'snatural regenerative capabilities to recover and accelerate.
Sadly, the best way to avoid such a revolution is exactly as it has alwaysbeen throughout history - to make the privileged and powerful cognizant of the fact that their privilege and power depends upon major societalchange. Given looming ecological constraints imposed by the Earth, it is not clear that moderate environmental reforms can occur in a manner that addresses global inequities and is sufficient to reverse ecosystem decline and loss.
We must try to save the Earth without going to war. However, there isnothing more instinctual for any creature than maintaining their species - including fighting for their self-preservation. In the face of continued stonewalling and green washing by the industrial growth machine, loversand protectors of the Earth and her humanity should not so quickly dismiss the possibility of an Earth Revolution - peaceful or otherwise -sufficient to ensure global ecological sustainability.
The Earth must and shall be sustained by all means necessary. Viva laEarth Revolution!
Earth Meanders is a series of personal essays that places questions ofenvironmental sustainability within the context of other contemporaryissues. Comments can be made, and past writings can be found, at: a