Thursday, April 14, 2005

Condition Red

About a week and a half ago, I wrote up a little entry on the Millennium Assessment Report - about how us misguided humans were burning up our poor planet. Now, Mark Morford has tackled the subject in his own inimitiable way:

The Earth is going down. Way, way down. To the mat, hard and painful and with a sad moaning broken-boned crunch.

We are chewing her up, spitting her out, stomping and gobbling and burning and gouging and drilling and sucking her dry and we are carelessly replicating ourselves so goddamn fast we can't even stop much less even try to slow the hell down, and all we want is more and faster and with less consequence and pretty soon the Earth is gonna go, well, there you are, I'm finished, sorry, and boom zing groan, done.

Don't take my world for it. Just read the headlines, the latest major, soul-stabbing report.

It's one of those stories that sort of punches you in the karmic gut, about how they just completed this unprecedented, four-year, $24 million, U.N.-backed study involving 1,360 scientists from 95 nations who all pored over thousands of satellite images and countless scientific reports and reams of stats, and they all distilled their findings down to one deadly, heartbreaking summary.

And here it is: We, humankind, people, sentient carbon-based biped creatures, only us and no one else but us because it sure as hell ain't the goddamn lions or caribou or meerkats or rhododendrons, we humans have, in our shockingly short time on this wobbly sphere, used up a staggering 60 percent of the world's grasslands, forests, farmland, rivers and lakes.
That's right, 60 percent. Gone. Burned up. Used up. Much of it irreversibly. These are the basic ecosystem services that, simply put, sustain life on Earth. The glass ain't even half full, people. It's about three-fifths empty and draining fast and we are doing our damnedest to expedite the process because, well, this is just who we are.

We reproduce. We consume. We use it up and dry it all up and move on to find more and it reminds me of that line from Agent Smith in the first "Matrix" movie where he stares menacingly at Morpheus and speaks about how every mammal on Earth instinctively develops a natural equilibrium with the surrounding environment, "but you humans do not. You move to an area, and you multiply, and multiply, until every natural resource is consumed. The only way you can survive is to spread to another area. There is another organism on this planet that follows the same pattern. A virus. Human beings are a disease, a cancer of this planet. You are a plague," and then Morpheus gets all huffy and righteous and goes on to inspire Neo to prove how we are also full of beauty and fire and life and he makes it all better by saving humankind so we can go buy the mediocre soundtrack.

But it doesn't stop there. The study also reveals that our fair and gluttonous species has altered the planet more violently and rapidly in the past 50 years than in any comparable time in human history. Yay accelerated technology. Yay multinational conglomerates. Yay lack of corporate ethics and rabid unchecked capitalist consumer gluttony. Whee.

And you read this horrific story about how we are mauling the planet at an unprecedented rate and you ask yourself the obvious question: Our government is doing what about this again? Oh right: nothing. Not one thing. They are, in fact, making it all far, far worse. Worst environmental president in American history, you remind yourself. Whee.

1 Comments:

At 10:04 AM, Blogger cvc said...

Sadly, these kinds of reports aren't "enough" to get people to change their habits -- lifestyle and/or consumer...! Don't know what it would take to really wake folks up...

=(

 

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