[thoughts from ~burning woman~ by Sha’Tara]
We understand “inevitability” don’t we? We understand “limitations” don’t we? A parking area designed for a compact car will not accommodate a motor home. We know this. So, what else could we know, if we wanted to?
Let’s look at our “global parking space.”
As populations increase, so must, and will, poverty. As poverty becomes endemic, so will famine follow suit. With famine will come diseases. With disease will come the draining of drug supplies and medical expertise. There are many “planners” and would-be scientists who deny this, of course. Science, this great god full of magical powers can always fix whatever doesn’t work, can’t it? Evidence? Who needs that when we can substitute faith.
Yes, faith. Science can grow more crops, hence more food. Science can make potable water from salty seas and oceans. Scientific engineering can make more accommodations within expanding cities by building higher. So what if science and technology caused anthropomorphic climate change? We can now apply them to fixing it, better than new. So, goes the thinking, science is what we need more of to solve our problems of overpopulation, famine and disease. More highrises; more GMO crops; more vaccines, and consequently more “security” and militarism to control dissidents.
Let’s ignore the giant question marks raised by the previous claims and look at what our science cannot do.
Science cannot make the earth bigger than it is; cannot create more space on it; cannot produce more arable lands: agreed? Since we’re still adding to the exponential population growth, and exponentially taking out of the earth more natural, or raw resources, and since earth is a planet, not a cornucopia, with a limited amount of such resources available without resorting to catastrophic scientific methods to extract these resources (heard of fracking anyone?) then obviously two things are in the process of happening despite all hopes, wishes and promises to the contrary: the damage being done to earth’s inner surface infrastructure and it’s surrounding ecosphere, or biosphere if you prefer, is irreversible, and anything on it dependent upon potable water for growth and survival has already reached crisis point.
Yes, there are places where they are growing forests at the edge of the desert. I’m not asking where the water to keep those trees alive comes from. I’m wondering out loud if such efforts should be considered to be realistic in solving man’s food and famine problems and after wondering out loud, the answer is, pretty silly when superimposed upon the overall picture. Basically, though a feel-good effort that can be touted as a great improvement, isn’t it a lot of fiddling while Rome is burning?
Should we, as an “intelligent” (say what?) species be looking at the massive deforestation currently taking place in temperate and equatorial zones rather than counting successfully planted shrubs on the north edge of the Sahara? Have we all become “Marie Antoinnette’s” vis-a-vis earth, patting it on the head and sincerely saying, “Just eat cake.” Hasn’t earth heard of Ronald Reagan’s trickle down theory? While we gouge moon craters to extract crude from tar sands; while we burn thousands of acres of trees to grow cash crops in the Amazon basin and other places, surely those potato peels and lettuce leaves from our composting will easily take up the slack.
While I seem to have broached the problem of potable water and considered the processes of desalinization of sea water, is it politically correct to wonder, again out loud, just exactly what is being done with the salt being extracted? If it’s dumped back in the ocean, will that not increase the salt content, endangering sea life in the area of the dumping before currents spread the salt more or less evenly again? With enough extraction, will that not cause a global rise in salinization? We could rationalize that it will be a “long time” before a deadly level of salinity accumulates, but are we going there? The Dead Sea, also known in Arabic as the Salt Sea, has a level of salinity 9 times the norm. Great for swimming on, but it’s essentially dead, devoid of plants and fish. While it is rapidly drying up, is it trying to tell us something?
If the salt is being spread upon the ground, there is an old belief about salting the earth, and quote from Wikipedia: “Salting the earth, or sowing with salt, is the ritual of spreading salt on conquered cities to symbolize a curse on their re-inhabitation. It originated as a symbolic practice in the ancient Near East and became a well-established folkloric motif in the Middle Ages. Although concentrated salt is toxic to most crops, there is no evidence that sufficient salt has been applied to render large tracts of land unusable.”
An interesting closing observation, to which it is more than tempting to add… “yet.” Food for thought? We exist, live, survive perhaps, on a finite planet, within a finite environment. We can throw as much “science” at this ball of polluted and disappearing potable water, thinning sub-soil, sand, rock and molten iron and whatever else it may contain as we desire, or can muster, but “science” and “technology” aren’t bottomless sources of magic. Every scientific/technological discovery or improvement has a material cost paid for by the world we live on, a cost that “greed-capitalism” has never allowed to be factored in its cost analyses.
More than interestingly, as a global civilization made up of a bunch of nation states, we are all indebted to some kind of black hole we can only sink deeper into. For the USA, the stats are, $20 trillions for its governing apparatus, combined with $62 trillions of corporate and personal debt. Grand total: $82 trillions. That’s a loud “ouch” for anyone who can partially comprehend such numbers. The “richest and most powerful” country in the world has by far the most per-capita debt. What interests me in this is, how much “in debt” to the supporting environment is man’s earth in its current state of pillaging, raping and despoiling of its natural resources?
Make no mistake about this: there is a massive natural debt accumulated since the European-based empires set out a-conquering and pillaging the earth. The momentum has only increased exponentially over the years and has reached an untenable, unsustainable, rate of “borrowing.” Much of that borrowing became environmental pollution (smoke and smog, spills, garbage dumps, paving, cementing, and holding it all together, wars, wars, and more wars.) This in turn has become man-made climate change.
Have we reached the point of no return? Oh yes, as a civilization, we definitely have. That is why the general thinking has become one of dumb acceptance. If we can’t turn it around, why worry? Be happy!
Instead of closing on this “happy” note, let’s introduce a question: logically speaking, what kind of “tour de force” would it take to stop the pillaging and repay the debt we owe the earth, a collective debt that is about to all but destroy us? Could we envisage such a global sacrifice in order to set in motion a livable future for those who come after us? How would we go about this assuming we cannot use any previous method known to have NOT worked?