How do we live within a system and mindset that devalues and diminishes most of life, regarding it as, at best, a resource, and at worst, trash, to be landfilled, dumped into the ocean, tossed on the sidewalk.
Thank you Robert!
Mr. Koehler’s writings never fail to move me beyond the trivialities of our mindless, soulless culture. He reminds me that we must always try to be more cognizant, and more appreciative, of the truly important things which we tend to ignore in this culture of hubris, greed and domination. Wealth by itself will be cold comfort in a ruined environment!
insects are valuable!!!
ironic, in a way, that those among us who grasp that all life is connected and interdependent at the same time feel a disconnect with so many fellow humans who feel that life is all about humans and nobody else. i guess we as a species need the learn the lesson of “the ancient mariner” carl sagan traced us new arrivals all the way back to the big bang explaining we are every one of us made of star stuff. that includes ever molecule of every atom in our earth. yes! insects are star stuff, too. i snagged a wonderful expression from this week’s phil rockstrah’s musings, “anima mundi”: the world soul or intrinsic connection of all living beings.
In our ten-millennia (and remarkably successful) quest for dominion, we have, I deeply fear, lost a sense of the whole, “that great, amorphous void,” as Laura Bridgeman writes, “which we draw individuals out of, pour refuse in to, and in which lives the nameless, faceless ‘biomass’ that we refuse any real legal or political consideration on a categorical basis. . . .perhaps, we should also consider that a bug’s life is important not only for pollinating our food, but life is meaningful to the bug, herself, as my life to me. in fact insects have been a successful species long before humans arrived. i read a great sentence once and don’t know the source. the writer compared the biosphere to an intricately woven tapestry that “when you pull at one thread the whole thing begins to unravel”
“Within capitalist models, individuals of other species are not only neglected — their very existence is denied,” she goes on. “They are instead relegated to the realm of property, only to be considered or ‘conserved’ when their bodies are seen as necessary for the health of an ecosystem of value; and then, they are lumped into ‘populations’ or ‘stocks’ rather than recognizing them as individuals with interests, deserving of their fair share of resources like any human being.”
We have created an overpopulated planet on which it is virtually impossible as a human to truly live in harmony with the natural world yet that is exactly what is required for us to survive as a species.
Nature doesn’t seem to care if a species overpopulates the world and causes mass extinctions. It has all the time in the universe to replace species in our planet and evolve other forms of life in any of a zillion planets.
In the natural scheme of things, humans are not the be all or end all of evolution. It is up to us to understand and survive or to ignore and perish at the hands of a god of money.
This (the EPA) and the Education Department (Satan’s agent DeVos) are where Americans seem to be unable to comprehend the immediate damage Trump is doing to our young. That is all we really “have” The other departments are being ripped to shreds but can be mended. Not so with environment and kids. Once the damage is done, quite often it’s permanent. What is wrong with everybody? Donald Trump and the GOP are attempting to murder our kids!
I think we have pretty much known where things were headed since Barry Commoner wrote the “Closing Circle” several decades ago. We understand many of the principles of ecology but they are ignored in the Beltway and Boardroom. There has been evidence for some time that the sixth great extinction may be underway. But it isn’t that easy to get people to care about insects. After all, insects like mosquitoes and roaches have a bad reputation.The ash borer beetle is destroying ash trees like crazy. So too many of certain types of insects are a problem. But insects are part of the web of life. If too much of the web is lost the whole thing can collapse.
To Robert Koehler:
Where to start - ‘a million places at once’ !
I think what you and I and others are seeing and experiencing is best described as “cacophony” - a dissonant and unpleasant sound - all around us, all of the time.
There is another word - “euphony” - perhaps instead of the million places - an impossibility - this is where we might start.?
I am reading Thich Nhat Hanh’s “Love Letter to the Earth”, and finding euphony there - also in Carlo Rovelli’s “Seven Brief Lessons on Physics”.
As a mountaineer in some past time - my mantras:
Pace is everything;
one step at a time;
every footfall a small work of art.
To be more concrete - look inward, find what is good - breathe - share with others - recognize the absolute interconnectedness of all - living - non-living - unseen and as yet unknown - marvel at the Great Mystery.
Doing this - all may yet be well - even amidst the collapse.
Perhaps a naval expression, for emphasis:
A beautiful article and one which I plan to keep. Somewhere in my life, I realized that I espouse the philosophy of Dr. Albert Schweitzer, one of my heroes. I only wish that more people who call themselves progressives could see the big picture. We humans - every one of us - are complicit in the harm we have done to Earth. The other animals - the nonhuman ones are not. I hate to see them suffer and go extinct.
We spend Billion$ searching for the God particle while there is no $ to be spent to protect us from the humans that produce ungodly particles?
Do the majority of people’s want to know the date (s) they are going to die and the cause of that death?
Why do people keep thinking science will save us; Is it because scientist say they will, and where and whom discovered the products and mind warps that got us to this time and place we need saving?
How many years, centuries has science been studying animals, how has that worked out for the animals?
Why is it science in US is so highly held up as world leading and US ranks about low 20 in rankings of deaths from still births, birth defects and deaths of under 5 years of age?
When science gets paid to monitor by study grants the decline of a species, when the program finds no more of that specie to study, do they say problem solved
Why is it today that we non scientist are being told we are the cause of our demise and all will be well if we just turn our being over to them as they study?
Why does it seem that it is the non professional scientist that are taking the study data and finding ways to correct
Let’s all begin using our “Extended Imaginations”; that is where we go beyond those who collect and observe data in a scientific way, but have no more idea of what to do with point beyond data than does a piss ant.
To take data and search first by imagining where we want to go,be, and then acting upon it, you will do so, now that is Extended Imagination.
It is more reality than the fantasy world of many elf appointed titled scientist live in.
Where to start? In terms of material impact, two main areas of action:
STOP DRIVING; and STOP EATING INDUSTRIAL “FOOD”.
Stop feeding the automobile / pavement / energy / war / industrial agriculture complex.
When the report on loss of animal life was published a couple years ago – with the assessment the Earth has LOST HALF OF ALL ANIMAL WILDLIFE in just five decades – the primary driver of this ecological devastation was identified NOT as climate change, but as LAND USE – primarily from agriculture, development, and transportation. Koehler also references industrial agriculture and pesticide use as the main cause of the sudden decline in insects.
Electric cars, batteries, and wind and solar power WILL NOT SOLVE this mass extinction. Only turning land back to nature, and to ecological agriculture, will do the trick.
"New research conducted in Germany supports the contention that we are heading for an “ecological Armageddon” – similar to the situation described by Mason. The study shows the abundance of flying insects has plunged by three-quarters over the past 25 years. The research data was gathered in nature reserves across Germany and has implications for all landscapes dominated by agriculture as it seems likely that the widespread use of pesticides is an important factor. Cited in The Guardian (see previous link), Prof Dave Goulson of Sussex University, UK, and part of the team behind the new study, says, “We appear to be making vast tracts of land inhospitable to most forms of life… If we lose the insects then everything is going to collapse.” "