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You Call this Stewardship of Earth?


#1

You Call this Stewardship of Earth?

Allen Armstrong, Iris SanGiovanni

This column is a collaboration between a retired engineer and a university student regarding our perceptions of climate change.

Allen Armstrong: As a 75-year-old grandfather, I represent the latest generation responsible for the Earth as it is, to be passed down to Iris, a 20-year-old student, and, later, to the generation of my grandchildren. What sort of stewards have we been? What sort of Earth will we be leaving?


#2

A distinct cultural change is needed--our society has for centuries been focused on "getting mine" and glorifying the individual's material success. To now tell the society at large to give up that deeply entrenched paradigm and abandon the endless quest for material wealth and profit at the earth's and everyone else's expense, will be difficult at best.


#3

The older generation is finally beginning to understand that we have reached the limits of what was given to us and that now to keep on with our selfish greed we begin taking the very last drops of nourishment... the very last crumbs of what is left out of the mouths of babes... our own grandchildren. We have used up and wasted more than ever was one generation's share and still we are insatiable even to the detriment of our own offspring.

We are the last generation to know the world as God made it. We leave the world as mammon will have made it to our children and even less than that for our grandchildren. I don't believe in a devil but if there was one then >>> the devil laughs to see the misery our greed and selfishness will cause in the world. We take a potential paradise of bountiful sustenance and turn it into a hell of unbearable heat, thirst, deprivation and suffering - we turn our good green Earth into hell.

The devil laughs with pleasure to see global warming.

From bountiful beauty and surplus to misery and want in a single generation. For as long as humans have existed... we will be remembered as those who destroyed our own sustenance and poisoned our own wells.

The Ice cap is melting away and the oceans are dying and still that is not enough of a warning sign for the greedy to change their rapacious plunder of the common good.

Their children and grandchildren will not escape either.

The saddest and strangest thing is that with such little time left before the worst becomes inescapable, we yet pretend that there is no proof that it is happening.

The disappearing ice cap doesn't matter some try to say and will continue to say that long after it is gone. By then they'll insist oceans empty of fish won't matter and will claim jellyfish harvesting a boom industry.

We have eaten the larder and now we eat the seed corn... only famine and misery will follow.

Our children will live in a world of misery and those who are in denial about it and seek to delay and forestall efforts to mitigate the worst effects are sociopathic. They are mired in greed and self gratification and will never care ... until it is their turn to feel the hurt. Then they will demand that something be done to be sure. They are their own revenge.

Homo Sappy Sapiens


#4

You mention that you're trained in one of the social sciences. Which one (if you don't mind saying)?

I ask because my own training (clinical psych with social & cognitive flavoring) suggests that relatively few people feel pathological hungers for More. We can't see that very easily because of the way the psychopaths have things set up: we're all required to maintain them in luxury, and most of us can't stop because the complex web of obligations forced on us (in the magician's sense of "forcing a card") by the system will unravel and drop us in the shite if we slow down.

That in turn suggests that getting people to give up the rat race will be trivially easy -- once we've done the hard work of taking over government.


#5

The interesting thing about the focus on the individual--typically for the purposes of assigning blame or direct responsibility--is that the "Sheeple" characterization leads to the unmistakable conclusion that sheep are easily led.

That takes us to WHO is doing the leading, and what intents and purposes leadership serves.

A good example is California's water woes. The governor, afraid to stand up to the Frackers or Big Agriculture has put a mandate in place for everyday citizens to cut back on their water consumption. This is not a bad thing, however, as has been chronicled, citizens' collective water usage spans about 20% of the state's total. What then of the other 80%?

In another thread, Webwalk reliably fixated on this INDIVIDUAL CONSUMPTION meme. However, the greatest abusers of water and fossil fuels happen to be the military and specific corporations, most of them linked to agriculture or energy.

One can either focus on each needle (individual) inside the haystack, or use Organized Power (i.e. govt.) to MOVE the haystack or shift its composition.

The Pope reaches at least 1.2 billion practicing Catholics and HAS encouraged a new ethos of Conservation.

Austerity--impacting several nations currently, and more to come (given the felonious house of cards put into place by today's Wall St. bankster-hustlers) is another way that Conservation is being ENFORCED. As credit dries up and reduced pensions and salaries only go so far, people learn to do with less.

I have no bone to pick regarding teaching Conservation. However, what I find suspect is how this particular approach is ALWAYS stressed by this forum's regulars. And by stressing the "Individual Person side" of an equation which places far more burden/power/culpability on the side of industry/military... the old powers are kept in place. That's because their disproportionate impact on circumstances is kept OUT of the discussion. Better to just push guilt at the individual who drives once a year to see his family.

This Libertarian pro-business "sensitivity" so dear to so many regular C.D. "contributors" remains well hidden by retaining a focus on the Individual voter/consumer/citizen/sheeple. In this way, the SYSTEMS that are in place to maintain the current status quo/paradigm never come under the spotlight of discussion.

Like The Deep State, itself, the key issues remain under the radar.


#6

Right wing think tanks work on the basis of established prejudices.

Liberals are known as "bleeding hearts," and few things make a heart bleed more than the castigation of guilt.

Everyone in the modern world uses some form of transportation.

Yunzer-PDJ-Sabocat (and any other names this "engineer" uses to sit here repeating daily talking points that all support the existing status quo) always belittles those who don't live inside cities. He pushes the idea that those who live in suburbia are selfish and use more fossil fuels than they should. Missing from his "analysis" is how much energy it takes for giant trucks to move cross-country supplying urban dwellers with all the food, toys, clothing, and electronics they "need" or have been taught--through a Bernays'-inspired media--to "want."

Your entire post is saturated in the use of ONE generic WE pronoun.

This one-size-fits-all, "We're all guilty sinners" frame works to do 2 things:

  1. Reinforce one of the oldest theological memes that flesh--since the onset of patriarchy--has been heir to: Original sin (= guilt! in ample measure)
  2. Dilutes the proportional use of substances so that:

a. Rich persons become inseparable from frugal types who use little
b. Rich nations become indistinguishable from poor ones where people get by (by miracle!) by frugal use of resources... pennies a day's worth!

This meme also deceptively asserts that individuals are the sole custodians of the systems in which they find themselves.

With vast stores of wealth in the hands of very few families--today's royalty--pushing the generic WE meme could not BE more disingenuous. As is made clear by Greece's financial position, it's obvious that everyday people do not write the rules of trade, engagement, law, order, or anything else!

In my view, this type of messaging comes out of a Koch Brother's style think tank. It's well understood that both private industries and defense contractors are paying kids to post messages across the Internet. These messages are going to favor industry's goals--profit, and the status quo--State Power.

By pushing the idea that each individual is individually responsible for the ecological horrors that are the PRODUCT of centuries of indoctrination, almost 200 years of industrialization, and a tight paternalistic grip of governments who set policies that are deferential to Old Capitalistic entities (a/k/a corporate elite)... a narrative emerges (and is repeated often) that makes no allowances for The Truth.

Derivatives of this narrative include:

  1. Blaming the prior generation for being lousy stewards
  2. Angry white guys reacting to THEIR guilt... as held up to them through Police violence and The Black Lives Matter movement
  3. Insisting that "the Middle Class hates the poor" as if the Middle Class is behind the setting of policies that is GUTTING the income, home equity, and well-being of ALL workers: poor, lower, and middle class!

#7

I am a PhD candidate in Political Science with a Masters in International Relations and Conflict Resolution. Your background is probably better than mine in this area--I certainly hope you are correct!!


#8

SR: In your discussion of California's water situation, you are omitting something important--that the corporations, agricultural operations, and fracking operations are run by American citizens, employing thousands of willing participants. Average people who are entrenched in the paradigms of American culture and see nothing wrong with perpetuating the "me first" SOP they were raised with. I am always surprised by your apparent lack of awareness of the history of the US, where its citizens came from, how they operated during the expansionary period of the late 18th and 19th centuries, and their background in Europe. This isn't JUST a group of evil tyrannical puppeteers, it's a societal problem. I will agree that the most ruthless will always manage to seize power and use their monetary influence to control the situation to their advantage--and that in the 21st century, the amounts of money and political power are unprecedented--but I hardly think of these jerks as aliens, separate from the society from whence they sprang. Not as dramatic as your view, I'll admit.


#9

By endlessly droningly repetitiously pushing the meme that "WE can do nothing" you work to promote despair and disempowerment. It's how you roll.


#10

I keep hoping that we can start a renaissance, but so far, not much luck, but we've got to keep trying.
* People seem to be becoming more aware of what is going on, more willing to push the limits a bit. Perhaps that will help a bit.
* I'd like to see the People of the World wake up and BDS all of the greedy, power mad nations. Nothing hurts a corporate vampire more than a lighter wallet. BDS them all until they are willing to set aside the weaponry, the tactics of poverty and hunger for all that they now operate under, and sit down at a table with the People of the World to discuss the problems and solutions available, other than weapons and starvation, then implement them.
;-})


#12

SR - You really don't read or take the time to comprehend other people's posts. You write and write and if we are lucky to stick to the theme of an article and comment on it rather than go off somewhere on a personal tangent of interest to you but little to do with the article.

Look at what I wrote (you'll have to stop typing and read what other people say before you comment as the whim takes you).

That we that you object to is what exactly? It is the species as a whole. It means our system and yes some people use more (keeping the air conditioner on when they aren't home for example) and some use less (people who put up solar and do what they can when they can like recycling) ... it includes everybody.

Do you use electricity, or gasoline or heating oil or gas? Do you shop at stores that sell big agra produce and wear clothes and sneakers made where and by whom? Et cetera!!!

All of us in this last century ...all of us who benefited or were hurt by the rise of our technology and overpopulation ...ALL of us belong to that generation that will see the end of the world as it was handed down to us through countless generations. The bountiful seas and fertile lands with the rich diversity of species and flora... Our generation is the last to see what the world once was but will never be again.

You babble on and on quibbling over the use of 'we'because you didn't take the time to actually read the comment nor see where it led. You rush to post comments touting your pseudo mystical stuff and wax eloquent about how YOU feel this way or that way and how YOU believe this or that and how YOU think ... you... get the picture.

But you don't read other people's writing.

The 'we' in my comment is a century's worth of 'us'... everybody... the only distinguishing characteristic is when you walked the Earth. All those who have existed in modern times... the technological or rather the Electronic Age are included. (Yes those without electricity too...it is a matter of when you were born ... and only that.)

WE ... are the last generation to see the world as it has always been ... because it will be that way no longer.

Now do you understand the use of the word... we?


#13

I love hearing from people who know about pathological hungers for more. It affirms my optimism.

To hope revolution is optimism - I've always believed it is coming - can happen very quickly, and non-violently.


#14

The current science says you are mistaken. Evolutionary science is increasingly convinced that human success, as with many other life forms, is dependent on cooperation above competition. Yes their is a cult of power and competition that attracts many but it does not define human behavior as a whole. What Siouxrose is pointing out is that the devastation of the planet is not a universal inability to cooperate for change, and not a failure that can be adequately addressed by individual choices, but that this problem is insoluble without a change in power structures that are violent , predatory, and expert at manipulating others for their own benefit. If the people want change they have to insist on radically different power arrangements or they will fail. The speed of ecological devastation and the consolidation of corporate globalization will not allow individuals or local communities to resist the toxification of the planet by shopping at the coop while electing those who are owned by frackers, wall streeters and military contractors.
If you oppose wha is being described in the article and I oppose it and millions march and put up solar panels and bike to work and if whole countries end nuclear power dependence and move to renewables then surely humans are not universally committed to greed and self interest.


#15

LOl, true that. Last time I checked, though, homo sapiens was considered a sentient being capable of rational thought and self control.


#16

Not "universally" but definitely in the US individualism is the underlying construct. We are considered by other nations as the most linear and goal oriented, especially when it comes to acquisition of material goods.


#17

I think the change will come when decentralized computers govern instead of politicians.


#18

"And all watched over by machines of loving grace..."


#19

Ask the same question of the Chinese and the Indians. That is a group of 2.5 billion people in which there are three USA-equivalents in their consumption and environmental destruction.


#20

Regretably, as we've just seen with Greece, their first recourse is always to force, not talking. Smedley pointed that out when he noted that the greedy ship their money overseas and, when it doesn't bring the usurious returns they want, they send the Marines to "straighten things out".

My sense is that Romneycare/Obamacare was the first major trial balloon to see whether we will submit to being compelled by law to keep the rich in perpetual comfort, i.e. modern serfdom.

Since we seem to have submitted to being told we must buy for-profit products that are worth less than what we are forced to give for them, it's not really a big step to being told that we must buy a certain number of Zionist products, must spend rather than save money (now being "encouraged" by interest rates on our savings, even at credit unions, of less than 1% - far below what the rich get), and being told that we cannot change jobs until our current mast employer no longer wants us (currently being trial-ballooned by JIT staffing, in which people cannot plan their lives because the employer isn't required to, and therefore doesn't, give advance notice of whether the person will have to work on any given day.)


#22

Sorry, but bullshit. Aside from a few loner species, social cooperation is the norm in the world of complex life. And social cooperation was particularly the norm in pre-capitalist Homo sapiens. I recommend reading Peter Kropotkin's "Mutual Aid: A factor of Evolution".