Thursday, January 05, 2006

Worst Story of 2005

Like most of you, I read the news a lot. But there's one topic I sometimes avoid for fear of what it means. I don't really understand how little attention is devoted to it. Corruption, earthquakes, wars, tsunamis, and hurricanes in real time do not rise to this level of importance. I say this without callously discounting the enormity of the suffering and damage caused by last year's natural disasters. But the melting of the arctic glaciers is the most damning news our little rock and all of its tiny inhabitants can face. We somehow believe that climatic changes are slow beasts whose impact is something way off in the nebulous "future." But that's not the way it works.

True, the earth is patient and has endured amazing abuse, and has stunning redundancy with safeguards that withstand and shift the burdens of human irresponsibility. But over the centuries a borrowing systemic disregard for the world and our stewardship therein may be nearing break point, when all the laws of glacial crawl will mean very little. Somehow we have been duped into the notion that there is a metabolic relationship between progress and the destruction of the environment; meanwhile, there’s a gathering of forces that will change the rules. Sorry to sound apocalyptic, but the tree-huggers may have had it right. This story isn’t new, but now it may be beyond repair.

I invite you to read this story written by the most respectable author on environmental issues (the kind of person the neo-cons love to hate), Bill McKibben. His review-essay is ominously and, I'm afraid, properly titled "The Coming Meltdown." If you don’t feel different after reading it, then you may want to check things out internally.


Anonymous Anonymous said...

I'm a closet tree-hugger. Been so since the fifth grade. But as i got older and real life took over, it became increasingly more difficult to do my part to save the planet and still maintain the faith that what i'm doing (basically, recycling and avoiding over use of plastic or water) is really making a difference. At this point, it seems like the planet is going to hell and we're just along for the ride.

Sorry, i dont mean to be gloomy either. But i sometimes think that the future isn't necessarily going to be bright. Maybe that's our real problem with news about the earth (besides knowing that we're failing in our stewardship of the earth) is that we believe in a better future as a matter of right, as the natural way of things.

That's almost as bad as thinking going to heaven is your right.

1/05/2006 8:54 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Of course this treatise will come as a bit of new information to those who are isolated with an invisible curtain, wall and ill educated about their responsibility as inhabitants of this beautiful orb. Lifeless excess is the word of the day.

1/20/2006 7:50 PM  

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