The Lie That Would Kill the Earth

In the end, if we allow it to go on, our brief history of species accomplishments will be a strutting and fretting signifying nothing. Or we can stand up and call a lie and lie. We can recover our true dependent relationships with the Earth and each other.

A future framed on the growth-and-profit models have brought us dangerously close to the very edge of survivability. Our options are growing rapidly fewer. Some say we have none with regard to stopping climate chaos. I think that’s likely the case. And perhaps our most important option is to rethink our economy and who exactly watches that particular hen house.

If you think what we’re calling “climate change” is not the direct consequence of an incredibly well-orchestrated set of agreed-upon lies–a false story as I have called it–then we’re not singing off the same page.

And the pages I’ll be covering over the next week or so come from “This Changes Everything” by Naomi Klein. You can read some excerpts at this link from the Ecologist  (highlighted with my underlining if you’re interested in the parts I found especially salient.} She nails it.

I’m not sure I’ll read anything between these covers that is beyond what I’ve read or thought or known before, but she does have a direct and laser-sharp intelligence that cuts to the heart of the complex matter and teases out the parts that help us see how to reassemble our society while there may still be time. The jury is out on that assumption.

As a writer and grandparent and biology watcher now for almost fifty years, I’ve come to this: in whatever ways we can according to our skills and circumstances, we have to unmask the true causes of civilization’s failure with regard to the ways we live off of the stuff of the planet, and re-design our economic assumptions, literally from the ground, up.

Some would say that the moral, ethical and spiritual conversion must arise first before we turn back from our foolish ways. We’ve seen clearly that we get what we want. We need to want the right things.

I have long spoken about a hope for a future time when we’d come up as children understanding a “personal ecology” that would instill “eco-empathy.”

Personal indulgence and eco-apathy are symptoms of a dying race. But we’re not dead yet.

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Fred First holds masters degrees in Vertebrate Zoology and physical therapy, and has been a biology teacher and physical therapist by profession. He moved to southwest Virginia in 1975 and to Floyd County in 1997. He maintains a daily photo-blog, broadcasts essays on the Roanoke NPR station, and contributes regular columns for the Floyd Press and Roanoke's Star Sentinel. His two non-fiction books, Slow Road Home and his recent What We Hold in Our Hands, celebrate the riches that we possess in our families and communities, our natural bounty, social capital and Appalachian cultures old and new. He has served on the Jacksonville Center Board of Directors and is newly active in the Sustain Floyd organization. He lives in northeastern Floyd County on the headwaters of the Roanoke River.

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  1. Sigh. My life is too full of dyng friends and declining loved ones to want to read Klein’s excellent work. Gotta keep my mental strength up for near at home challenges.