If everybody had my ecological footprint our planet would be fantastic. I don’t own a car – I walk or use public transport and conduct a hyper-local life. I never go shopping – I use things until they work no longer, patch and mend, get by on hand-me-downs or simply go without. I don’t do consumerism, being immune to the blandishments of advertising, the pressures to follow fashion, the lure of indebtedness and the appeal of accumulating possessions. I reject and boycott the leisure industry, the tourism industry, the food industry, the health industry, the beauty industry, the entertainment industry, the finance industry, the media industry…in fact every manifestation of big business whether generated in slave-labour sweatshops or bombastic corporate towers. I wouldn’t dream of dropping a scrap of litter, killing so much as a single ant or concreting over even an inch of soil. I live modestly, humbly and within my means; proportionately, congruently and with respect and care for the environment. I have trod lightly on this earth. I am not guilty of what has been done.
Virtue-signalling? You bet I’m fucking virtue-signalling! Because if lazy, pre-occupied, self-indulgent, hedonistic and undisciplined little me can live like this, then anyone can. And it’s not as if I’m suffering: the cupboard is full, there’s food in my belly, I am not deprived of anything I might need, I have never experienced a nanosecond of boredom, I have a rich cultural, interpersonal, social and intellectual hinterland and, in fact, I wallow in the lap of luxury compared to the lives of 99% of all previous generations since the beginning of recorded history and the lives of 75% of people today. So yes, I am virtuous – but it’s a virtuousness that required no effort, just recognition of the axiomatic truth that, since we only have this one small planet and since we are all dead without it, it’s probably wise to refrain from destroying it. I had this workaday fact sussed out by around age 9 or 10. Does this make me a genius too?
The problem I have is this: billions of my fellow humans are pulling in the opposite direction, they far outnumber people like me and their numbers are growing exponentially. I am required to sit back, powerless, and watch while these billions collude with, contribute to and help bring about the greatest crime imaginable, a crime so unimaginable that there are not yet words for it. Eco-cide…species-cide…terra-cide…bio-cide…past-cide…present-cide…future-cide…
The amount of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere is higher than at any time for 650,000 years and has nearly doubled in the last century alone. The Earth’s temperature reaches new record highs annually, melting 40% of the polar ice sheets in just 50 years and raising sea level by 11mm worldwide in a mere 20 years. Hurricanes, typhoons, droughts, wildfires, floods, avalanches, toxic smogs and famines get ever more frequent and ever more extreme, always hitting the poorest and weakest first and hardest. The biosphere is ravaged, the oceans are poisoned plastic-choked soups that have been stripped of marine life, habitats are disappearing from pole to pole, and a mass extinction event unprecedented since the ice age is underway as over 3,000 animal species and 2,500 plant species face imminent extinction in perpetuity. A world without the cheetah, the gorilla, the elephant, the rhino, the butterfly, the bee, the rainforest and the coral reef is impending. So profound and so far-reaching has been human impact on the planet, a whole new geological period has had to be categorised to reflect it: the Anthropocene. In a blink of a geological eyelid mankind has had more effect than immense, unstoppable natural forces accomplished across millions of years. A catastrophic, irreversible tipping point accelerates ever nearer.
And now Trump, a man so repellent that the slightest glimpse of him makes me want to projectile puke, is busy abolishing the USA’s few feeble environmental protections and regulations painstakingly won over years, dismantling the country’s vital climatology scientific and research infrastructure, bullying and censoring climate change out of the public domain and giving Big Oil carte blanche to extract every last drop everywhere and to hell with the consequences so long as a few neo-fascist billionaires get to buy another yacht. Where the US leads the UK, the 51st state, will always duly follow, tongue drooling in anticipation of some contemptible crumbs. Theresa May, a woman so repellent that the slightest glimpse of her makes me want to involuntarily vomit, has already humiliated herself at his feet, cosying up to the white supremacist hatemonger, pussy-grabber and reality TV Z-lister and thereby achieving the seemingly impossible feat of dragging Britain’s global reputation even lower than the sewers where it traditionally squats. Having seized power in what amounted to an unelected putsch last year, the vicar’s daughter has her kitten-heels full at the moment doing the bidding of the Daily Mail and Nigel Farage to fulfil Britain’s fitting destiny as the mother country of xenophobia, philistinism, bigotry, authoritarianism and nastiness. As soon as she’s railroaded ‘Hard Brexit’ through and terminally wounded the parasitic British economy she will surely follow Trump’s lead, smash the environmental protection laws that were only introduced thanks to EU membership and tear up the international treaties that keep some sort of brake on the UK’s disgraceful carbon emissions. Even with those safeguards in place there has been an Ecocaust here. In the last 100 years over 170 animal and plant species have become totally extinct in the UK while the following have all been eradicated:
~90% of marine fish
~25% of birds
~75% of insects
~30% of mammals
~80% of hedgerows
~50% of ancient woodlands
~75% of ponds
~75% of heathlands
~98% of boglands
~65% of wetlands and estuaries
~97% of wildflower meadows
~60% of topsoil
With May’s far-right cabal of brute Brit bastards only just warming up, and the world’s most proudly thick population offering not a whimper of resistance, it is clear the relentless assault on the natural wonders of these once-beautiful islands in the north Atlantic is entering its heartbreaking final phase. Not that you would know it from the ‘impartial’ BBC’s outpouring of gorgeously-shot natural history and wildlife programmes, where no hint of the eco-carnage going on all around is allowed to shatter the beguiling all’s-well-with-the-world lie.
How can anyone sentient not see what is going on? How can anyone with basic common sense and a modicum of good will accept this lunacy? How can anyone agree that it is right to deny all the generations yet to be a healthy, habitable world? Yet billions blithely comply with a staggeringly stupid and supremely evil anthropocentric project that endorses mass murder and, ultimately, mass suicide. And everywhere I look I see ignorant, greedy savages who, by both their actions and their inactions, are cruelly wrecking my world and my children’s world and their children’s world and all the potential worlds that might be. There is no excuse. There can be no rational debate with monstrous thugs who would knowingly destroy everything to perpetuate their pointless, infantile, narcissistic, shallow, ugly lives, stuffing their fat faces with crap while being spoon-fed their every dumb, crude thought by a vast propaganda machine. They have no rationality that might be appealed to, they lack the independent mind that could be educated – therefore they must be defeated. This is a war like no other and the stakes could not be higher: life itself. Whose side are you on?
You’re right. It’s terrible. What can we do? Apart from console ourselves with the latest stuff and ignore the uncomfortable truth?
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