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News ::
Burning Up the Past to Ruin the Future - a commentary (english)
30 Nov 2002
In fact, within the now dominant Bush regime, there appears to be a recessive cowboy mentality that actually relishes the destruction of the planet. This naturally brings into question their right to live upon it


The recent tragedy off the coast of Spain involving a decrepit oil tanker and the death of untold numbers of ocean dwelling species brings us yet another reminder of humanityís loathsome priorities and its ultimately irrational and suicidal penchant for fowling the nest. Of course, such reminders come into our awareness on an everyday basis at this point in time, from major ecological catastrophes on the high seas to minor skirmishes in some neighborhood habitat. Yet, in the age of globalization and what may be described as the zenith of the American Empire, with all the corrective resources and funds at hand, little is being done to prevent these disasters. In fact, within the now dominant Bush regime, there appears to be a recessive cowboy mentality that actually relishes the destruction of the planet. This naturally brings into question their right to live upon it.
I have no doubt in my mind that future generations will curse us for what we have done, or allowed to have been done, to the Earth. Assuming that our species will survive in some measure, (perhaps an optimistic assumption), let us imagine which of our sins history will condemn the most and who, exactly, will carry the burden of such sins.
Iím of the opinion that by far the worst of our sins is the selfish lack of consideration for our own descendents and other future inhabitants of the planet. The incident near Spain, like the Exxon Valdez off the coast of Alaska in 1989, was entirely preventable. The technologies to overcome such disasters have been available for decades. Be it double-hulled ships (supposedly mandated in the wake of the Exxon debacle), or alternatives to fossil fuels (resisted and undermined at every turn by Big Oil, Big Auto and the like), the cures for the ills we daily impose upon the Earth have either been on the shelf or on the drawing board. However, as most of us well know, the mentality of self-interest, greed, and instant gratification among the captains of industry and their lackeys in government have prevented such technologies from being fully utilized. A society with the resources and capacity to cross a tomato with a fish and build a trophy house in Earthís orbit surely has the ability to increase fuel efficiency, build better ships, or change priorities in energy generation. Looking at just the combustion engine: itís a 19th century technology; are we to believe that they havenít figured it out yet?
So, who really is the culprit here? Is it the thoughtless lone driver in the SUV yapping on the cell phone, headed off to some corporate chain store to buy more stuff they donít need, or is it the faceless corporados who manufacture the hardware and the advertising that lures the driver behind the wheel and into the store? Iíd say: all of the above. We, and future generations, certainly canít blame those of us who donít have the money or the knowledge to overcome the sorry choices being foisted upon so-called consumers by corporations built on the dying ecosystems of the planet. Itís the people who know better, or should know better, that have struck a deal with the devil. Sadly, we all, human and non-human alike, now and in the future, are paying the price for their sins.
My question, as we approach yet another turn of the calendar in the 21st century, is: just what are we going to do about it? The destruction of planet Earthís habitats, itsí very biosphere, is criminal. Leaving a legacy of ruin for future generations is worse than criminal. If the criminals are not being prosecuted, much less charged and arrested, do we take the law into our own hands? You tell me.
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