Thursday, March 22, 2007

"Fighting for Peace is like Fucking for Virginity."




Ian Herron


"Only after the last tree has been cut down,only after the last river has been poisoned,only after the last fish has been caught.only then will you find that money cannot be eaten"

- Attributed to, though possibly not spoken by, Chief Seattle, circa 19th century.


Whether or not you believe that Chief Seattle actually spoke these words (some believe them to have been coined/written by Ted Perry, screenwriter of 'Home', a 1972 film about ecology), one cannot afford to miss the overwhelming truth of the statement. All too often, the American people specifically - and almost all humans in general - choose to indulge their comforts at the expense of the ecological balancing act, known simply to us as 'Nature'. In the year 1992, 2.3 TRILLION GALLONS of untreated waste water was deposited into the coastal waters of the Untied States alone. In that same year, the US accounted for approximately 23 percent of all carbon dioxide emissions in the world!
Let us not forget that while we are busy poisoning EVERYONE'S air, we are even busier destroying some of the best known technology for dealing with the huge amounts of extra carbon dioxide released into the air. I wonder how many acres of tropical rain forest were destroyed to make room for the coffee that I’m drinking right now? What about for marijuana, or cocaine? How many acres are burned or slashed to make grazing room for fast-food beef every year? How many were cut down to be sold as commodities for hard currency, to pay the interest on loans from RICH NATIONS and BANKS, meant to help third world countries 'develop'?
Everywhere you look, you can find waste. Whether it is wasted heat in assembly or fabrication, by-products from the burning of carbon based fossil fuels, or the two, three, or even more layers of packaging that we open and discard to get to our favorite munchies (I prefer scooby-doo-fruit-snacks), we have allowed, and in some cases even encouraged, the destruction, consumption, and poisoning of any and everything that we can, as long as it makes us more comfortable and/or more money.
A standard incandescent light bulb produces approximately 10 times more heat than light. Consider that. To get the power into our homes in the first place, what went into it? For starters we can assume that a small portion of ecosystem was completely destroyed in the process of making room for and building a power station of some sort. Maybe a river was damned (spelling intentional). Maybe a few acres of forest were destroyed to make room for a coal burning power plant. But then you have to assume that the coal itself was strip mined, or in some other way extracted from the earth in a less-than-forgiving way.
It took carbon dioxide (CO2) producing machinery and 'technology' to extract it. It took CO2 producing machinery to process it. To move it. Then it is burned, which produces MASSIVE amounts of wasted heat and by-products (including, but not limited to CO2), all before it gets to this little light bulb, where ultimately more than 90 percent of the energy used to give us light is wasted. WASTED.
From solid waste, to power production, to untreated sewage being released into rivers, lakes, and oceans (because our systems combine waste water and rain water runoff, making water treatment plants overwhelmed when it rains too much), to the over salinization and erosion of top soil (due to unethical agricultural practices bent toward maximizing short term production and profits at the expense of long term sustainability), we are WASTING our home. Our planet. We are wasting our potential, and we are gambling the long term sustainability of our entire existence against quarterly profit projections and maximum short term returns on investments.
The next time you tell yourself, or someone else, that you "cherish your children's future" (or some other hollow rhetoric), take a look outside and tell me what you see. Do you see a peaceful coexistence between human beings and the rest of Nature? Do you see the 'stewardship of all things', as described in almost all major religions on Earth? Do you see a long term, sustainable pattern of life? Perhaps we should educate ourselves on the definition of 'finite'. There is only so much air. Only so much water (especially fresh water, which makes up less than 5 percent of all water on Earth). Only so many trees. As long as we CHOOSE to consume and waste more than we can restore or put back, it is a loosing equation. Given a long enough time line it becomes not a matter of 'if', but of 'when?'.We are the only species on this planet whose decisions and way of life can impact every other living thing on this planet. With great power, comes great responsibility. Unfortunately, for now, it seems our species is better defined by this: "Absolute Power Corrupts Absolutely".

4 comments:

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this is such a well written piece, it seemed a shame not to have ANY comments...now it has one.

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