Even with all the environmental reports I read about the numerous species man is pushing off the face off the Earth, the biospheric havoc he is wreaking, and the violence he inflicts upon his fellow man, I still find the idea of human extinction surreal when I flip on the TV and see commercials for Viagra, breast augmentation, and ‘Hoveround’ power wheelchairs. I mean, we’ve managed to walk on the moon and send out exploratory space crafts and robots to other planets, yet we cannot even manage ourselves adequately enough here at home to keep from irrevocably fouling things up?!? How can that be? That we can achieve such feats of genius, but end up shooting ourselves in the proverbial foot with greenhouse gases just seems like one enormous and macabre cosmic joke to me. Doesn’t it strike you as tragically humorous? Oh, but the word is that we humans would be crazy if we didn’t reach deep down into our bag of technological tricks, if only for one last desperate time, to try to fix this doozy of a problem we’ve gotten ourselves into. Why not? We’ve already FUBARED the planet as it is, what with the chain of climate feedback loops irretrievably out of the genie’s bottle, making any mitigation and adaptation plans a day late and a dollar short. Faith in technological progress is certainly a myth that will not go down easily. We’ll keep trying to right this plane even as it does barrel rolls into the side of a mountain. What a horrible accounting error humans made by ignoring depletion and pollution in their calculations. Governments pretended that peak oil and global warming were simply figments of our imagination. If only their jobs didn’t depend on maintaining such an epic falsehood. Who knew 9 billion humans would become the next deposit of fossil fuels.
We had other things on our mind though, didn’t we. Money and the ability to generate it became the raison d’être for humans. Saving the environment simply was not profitable, unless you could convert it into some sort of tourist attraction. Wealthy people could hop on a CO2-belching airline and traipse around in those “protected areas” with their safari hat on and an assortment of modern electronic paraphernalia to record the momentous occasion, not too dissimilar to those annual climate change conferences the industrial world would put on. Humans always were great at maintaining appearances, even if it did cost them an entire civilization that spanned the planet. They were so good at detaching themselves from their surroundings that they could literally monitor a species into extinctionwhile calling the whole process conservation. How’s that for self-delusion! As long as someone was getting paid, no one really cared about the end results.Biostitutes indeed!
So one could say that the human path to extinction was paved in greenbacks, if not gold. Nobody dared whisper that all the wealth humans had built up and accumulated over the last several hundred years since the industrial revolution was simply a grand illusion, a phantasmagoria of the fossil fuel age. It is said that there are two things certain in this world, but actually there are three: death, taxes, and ecological balance. Man may exploit, pollute, exterminate, and plunder all he wants, but in the end Mother Nature will always claw back what was taken without forethought or reflection. The first mistake made by man was to proclaim dominion over nature. From that point onward many other bonehead maneuvers were orchestrated by humans, but perhaps the biggest one was when they gave personhood to an economic entity devoid of feelings, morals, or conscience. How could anyone seriously think corporations were people??? Homo sapiens must suffer from an inferiority complex to have labeled its kind “wise”.
So this is my second eulogy to man, my first being ’The Short Story of Carbon Man and Industrial Civilization‘. There are no Hollywood happy endings or cliff-hanger climaxes. Mother Earth will slowly take back what was stolen while billions of tiny humans scurry around to higher ground and find ways to temporarily hold off the gathering forces, but no mercy will be given to those who brushed off decades of warnings and prescient predictions. There will be no miracles here for a species that believes itself separate from and above the natural world.
In Memory of Man
“The planet is fine. The people are fucked.”