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News ::
Treating the Symptoms - commentary on climate (english)
04 Nov 2002
Driven by amoral advertising and the mainstream media, the juggernaut of over-consumption and out of balance lifestyles created by the corporados utterly disregards the obvious: humans cannot continue the present course of endless growth, devouring the Earth and fowling the nest.

As if the old news from the failed Earth Summit in South Africa wasn’t bad enough for planet Earth and its inhabitants, the recent news from the New Delhi international climate talks adds salt to our collective wounds. In classic Western fashion, representatives of government and industry have managed to place the band-aide approach to climate disruption onto center stage in the ongoing negotiations. Rather than treat the human causes of global warming, as strongly recommended by the vast majority of the world’s most renowned scientists, the corporate captains and their henchmen in government continue to opt for treating the symptoms. Build seawalls on some Pacific islands; institute better early warning systems for the ever-increasing mega-storms; maybe convince more farmers to plant genetically engineered crops that supposedly withstand the worsening droughts. All those stopgap measures are far cheaper than actually doing anything to prevent the causes. The status quo of waste and avarice reigns supreme in the fossil fuel addicted West and becomes increasingly attractive to wannabe societies elsewhere. Driven by amoral advertising and the mainstream media, the juggernaut of over-consumption and out of balance lifestyles created by the corporados utterly disregards the obvious: humans cannot continue the present course of endless growth, devouring the Earth and fowling the nest.
At about the same time we found the delegates in New Delhi engaged in the feast of denial and illusion, 18 senior scientists published a paper in the prestigious journal Science, noting that the ecosphere is so trashed that it will take a massive “Apollo-sized research program” on alternative fuels to truly effect the needed changes that might bring us back from ecological collapse. The report points out however, that the present occupants of the Whitehouse are unlikely to institute such a program. This is news?? The men from Big Oil wrote the national energy policy! They give new meaning to the term, self-serving. We won’t be seeing any such effort in Washington until the enemies of the Earth are sent packing or the bottom of the ecosphere drops out, at which point it will be too late. No, instead we get another sort of program: something like a theater program from a really bad production, filled with glitzy ads for junk you don’t need and presenting a piece of fiction that will waste your time and poison your existence.
Worse, some of the few enviros participating in the climate talks are signing on to “building capacities” and adapting to climate change. That sort of cave-in to the corporate party line smells a lot like political posturing. Given the high stakes, one would hope for a lot more backbone. All the seawalls and sirens in the world won’t help a species that has pushed its environment beyond the limits of its carrying capacity. That’s Ecology 101. There’s no cavalry riding in, no deus ex machina. The enviros should know that, even if the suits around them seem oblivious to the real world. It’s their job to wake those fools up.
What troubles this observer is the fact that, for the most part, the alarm that already went off a decade ago in the form of the World Scientists’ Warning to Humanity, continues to go unheeded even by progressives and global justice activists! Granted, the news is bad and scary, but NOT doing enough about it seems scarier still. Most scientists seem to feel we can pull out of mass ecocide if we act now; make radical changes in our energy consumption and stewardship of the planet. It would be sheer madness to focus on adapting to climate disruption to the detriment of programs bringing actual solutions to the cause, and, come to think of it, it’s sheer madness to allow Big Oil and its cronies in DC and elsewhere to drag us all over the edge of the precipice. In “The Voice of the Earth”, Theodore Roszak speaks of that madness:

"Both the therapists and the ecologists offer us a common political agenda for the good of the planet, for the good of the person. It is simply stated:
Scale down.
Slow down.
Democratize.
Decentralize.
Ecological goals that can heal the psyche; psychological values that can heal the planet.
This convergence of inner and outer needs cannot be purely coincidental. It is the Hermetic philosopher's old dictum--"As above, so below"
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