Sunday, September 24, 2017

Grotesque Global Inequity Threatens Ecological Collapse and Horrific Death for All

Live more simply so others may simply live
Hundreds of millions of global elites feast upon the finest delicacies a diminished Earth has to offer, as billions struggle to meet basic needs, and oligarchs amass unheard of wealth and entire governments. Each in their own way destroys our one shared biosphere that makes Earth habitable.
“May you live your life as if the maxim of your actions were to become universal law.” – Immanuel Kant, the “Categorical Imperative” from Groundwork of the Metaphysics of Morals (1785)
“Consume only your fair share of nature or being ends.” – Dr. Glen Barry
By Dr. Glen Barry, EcoInternet

The disparity of wealth and well-being which currently exists globally is grotesque and threatens us all with a horrific death as demands upon nature for consumption overwhelm the biosphere.

The stupid among us will wrongly call such concerns communism, while the intent is simply to ask how much is enough? And how much can we each have if we value fairness, the well-being of all humans and species, and seek global ecological sustainability forever?

It is evil incarnate that some have so much as many have so little. Systematic racism and other injustices provide a gilded legacy of plenty to entire families over generations, as some human beings through no fault of their own have few if any opportunities for advancement. Basic human-needs of food, water, shelter, clothing – to say nothing of higher level needs for community, love, and security – are systematically unmet for billions. Some of the disparity is certainly due to intelligence and hard-work, yet the majority of inequity is due to the random location of your birth and the circumstances therein. And much inequity is due to the rich impeding advancement by the poor if it even minutely diminishes the growth of their own wealth.

It is not a coincidence that record global economic inequity comes as abrupt climate change and ecosystem loss threatens to end being. Inequitable over-population and disparities in consumption are the primary forces destroying our ecological heritage and ushering in an era of resource-scarcity.

Earth is dying
Natural ecosystems are collapsing as our very climate fails. Racism, chauvinism, and even slavery are resurgent. The human family is poised upon the precipice of biosphere collapse and the end of being. Solutions are impeded by the rise once again of authoritarian fascism based upon anti-science and anti-intellectualism.

Science informs all equipped to listen that soils, wetlands, oceans, forests, water, and the air– the foundations of biological life – are all being liquidated for human consumption and as a result nature, wildlife, and humans are dying. Our immediate future is one of ghastly extreme weather events, a state of escalating perma-war scrambling to access reduced natural resources, and large-scale famine as ecosystems collapse and water and food sources fail.

As I have earlier asked in How Much Is Enough, how have we allowed a band of a couple hundred selfish oligarchs to amass half of Earth’s wealth as over a billion human beings struggle to exist in abject poverty? How do we justify owners of capital making 600 times the wage of their average worker? Wouldn’t their job creation prowess and hard work be sufficiently, even opulently, rewarded with 25 times pay disparity, as was once the case?

It is difficult for the  bourgeoisie to imagine the horrors of abject poverty. Putting your children to bed hungry, in a cardboard box, as they cry out in pain before death. Selling your body and soul for your next meal, as your whole being aches with yearning for basic human comforts you see others possess and to which all aspire and deserve. The horrors include untreated disease, open defecation, human trafficking, continual violence, and a joyless miserable existence.

Dogs and cats for the well-off are treated much better than billions of poor people, many of whose labor supports the rich.

The Earth is a finite place (however much the siren call of techno-optimists wails). Humanity has gone from a population of one to over seven billion in only 135 years. Demands for consumption of all sorts of items including meat, iPhones, cars, air travel, large homes, and appliances have surged.
Quite simply not enough ecosystems remain to be liquidated for resources to provide all poverty stricken peoples the level of consumption enjoyed by a typical middle-class American. The nearly global embrace of democratic consumption as the meaning of life means that the rich scour the Earth for luxuries, as the poor do what is necessary to survive (including mass migration), each diminishing Earth’s natural capital and productive capacities.

It is not suggested here that everyone should live equally; just fairly, with all basic needs met, as the sum of global consumption remains within Earth’s limits for regeneration.

Kant’s categorical imperative emphasized that ethics are founded upon universality. Now more so than ever, the measure of a person’s character is whether they are living in a way that does not diminish the ability of others to achieve a similar standard of well-being.

The ecological and ethical conundrum is this: the comforts associated with consumption are being realized at a greater rate than nature can provide, even as many suffer from want. Either the rich will accept less in order that all can attain some basic measure of human well-being, even as sum consumption shrinks; or we face the final liquidation of nature and an appalling era of ecological collapse before the end of being.

We need to learn once again to share as we renounce usury, avarice, and greed. We must seek a higher degree of enlightenment that values equity, justice, and ecology more than gorging ourselves upon ill-gotten fruits. It is time to evolve together to a higher consciousness that values universal truths and well-being.

We Are One Human Family
We are one human family, and are all in this together. Believe that the world can be a better place and come together with others to make it so. Think big and out of the box for solutions. A basic human income for all, just by virtue of your birth and existence, could largely eliminate abject poverty while shrinking big government.

At one time humanity sought increased awareness of the nature of being, and to maximize our well-being through continual self-improvement. Thus liberal democracy, personal freedom, and greater political participation for non-white men became established.

Yet these advancements have been shown in recent years to be vacuous and weak as even a slight decline in household consumption leads many to embrace all sorts of charlatan demagoguery.

As Earth and her humanity fall into nothingness, I implore you to resist such a fate.
Consume only your fair share of nature or being ends.

The ethical measure of a person is the degree to which they are regenerating nature, and that their sum impact upon ecology is positive. Only widespread embrace of such an ecology ethic can now save Earth and humanity.

What does this mean in practice? Sell your car. Return to the land to produce food and restore ecosystems. Have 1 or if you must at most 2 children. Eat less or no meat, and local organic foods. Travel via air infrequently if at all. And reject over-consumption as the meaning of life, instead valuing fairness and truth.

Favor deep experience, community, nature, and learning over more stuff. Consume only as much as is available universally for all. Know how much is enough and how to share. Such an ecology ethic is the new categorical imperative if together we are to avoid abrupt climate change and global ecological collapse.

Monday, September 4, 2017

Abrupt Climate Change: In Hurricane Harvey, Texans Reap What They Sow


A century and a half of Texas oil
fueled Hurricane Harvey
Science informs us that Texas oil fueled Hurricane Harvey.
“Hurricane Harvey is abrupt climate change. And it shows collapse of the atmosphere and ecosystems that threatens to destroy the biosphere and end being… Texas’ war against science and the natural world must draw to an end. Like waking up after a long drinking binge, it is time for Texans to sober up and accept their living large – as if the land, water, and air have no value – has brought them to the edge of utter ruin.” — Dr. Glen Barry
By Dr. Glen Barry, EcoInternet

After 25 years of writing regarding looming abrupt climate change and biosphere collapse, nonetheless I find no succor that my predictions have come true with Hurricane Harvey. Firstly, my heart-felt sympathy goes out to the hardy Texans who continue to weather nature’s wrath on the Gulf Coast. I have had the fortune to spend some time in Port Aransas and Rockport areas visiting family and it is a beautiful spot full of warm, generous people.

However, let there be no mistake (now comes the “tough love” part). Hurricane Harvey is a man-made disaster that has directly resulted from Texans’ oil addiction, anti-science denial, disdain for common sense regulations, and super-sized lifestyles.

So where did all that rain come from anyway? It’s global warming stupid.

The basics of climate science have been known for 100 years. Simply, what has occurred in the Gulf of Mexico with Hurricane Harvey is all about heat, which is growing because of fossil fuel emissions (the greenhouse gases that are released trap heat), including by Texans. Since 1970 the average temperature in the South has risen 3.3° F. Galveston Texas set a shocking 33 record temperatures since Nov. 1st of last year. Across Texas temperatures have been averaging 10° F warmer than usual.

At its most basic level, this warmed air holds more water, making possible Hurricane Harvey’s 52 inches of rain in areas around Houston. Warming oceans expand in volume and melting ice combine to raise sea levels. In just the past 50 years, Galveston Texas’ local sea level has risen by 12.5 inches, resulting in coastal erosion and more powerful storm surges. On average storm surges are 7 inches taller due to global warming.

It’s global warming stupid

Gulf of Mexico waters are much warmer than usual and rarely cool down, feeding hurricanes. The average sea surface temperature of the Texan Gulf Coast has risen from 86° F to 87° F over a few decades. As Harvey approached the Texas coast, Gulf ocean temperatures were between 2.7° F to 7.2° F above average. This past winter for the first time the Gulf of Mexico never fell below 73° F. Each degree of heat results in 3-5% more moisture in the air.

Add to this a diminished Jet Stream and other high level winds that are no longer blowing (likely due to Arctic melting), and you have storms that linger in one location like Harvey did.

The science is rock solid that we are transforming the Earth in ways that increase the likelihood of extreme storms and may even make the environment uninhabitable.  Climate change is but one (albeit deadly in its own right) of several human caused environmental crises that threaten to destroy our one shared biosphere. You can either believe in science or in ghosts in the sky. If you choose solely the latter you open yourselves up to avoidable cataclysmic devastation.

Any further climate change denial of the sort prevalent in Texas, and refusal to change behaviors to pollute far less, is a willful death wish. Not only for Texans, but also for South Asia and other areas being hammered by the same oil fueled forces of abrupt climate change.

Frankly, often Texans are egotistical to the point of being naively cocksure (i.e. what sort of motto is “Don’t Mess with Texas”). Many are uneducated and don’t understand the world around them, and are proudly boastful of the fact.

For generations Texans have over-built wherever their hearts desired. Floodplains, wetlands, riverbanks, coast lines, amidst chemical plants – there was no regulation to their sprawl – because they are god’s chosen people. And regulations are for commie pinkos.

Since 1866 Texans have pumped the remains of dead creatures to the surface to be burned for transport and heat. Nearly 3.5 million barrels of crude oil are produced a day in Texas. Further, Texas is a leader in industrial animal agriculture – particularly cattle –  which occupies much land and emits huge amounts of greenhouse gases. This polluting resource gluttony is the engine behind a warming world and makes Texans directly responsible for their own suffering from Hurricane Harvey.

Texans – in the destruction wrought by Hurricane Harvey, have reaped what they have sown – disruption of the natural world. From oil to cattle, urban sprawl to anti-intellectualism, very few if any regions globally have as much historical responsibility for abrupt climate change as Texas. It is fitting that the Houston/Beaumont area, where oil was first produced commercially some 150 years ago, has been devastated by abrupt climate change.

Texas oil fueled Hurricane Harvey.

As SCIENCE (a method of logical examination that seeks truth) identified that burning fossil fuels was warming the atmosphere, Texans doubled down, not only denying but also willfully obstructing the truth. For decades Texas politicians and oil companies have lied and obfuscated the truth in order to eke out a few more years of profits from deadly fossil fuels.

Disregarding established science has consequences, as those along the Texas Gulf Coast have come to realize.

And as for that Texas economic miracle? It is not too hard to create an artificial boom economy based upon ecocidal destruction of nature and the atmosphere. But when the bubble bursts and the boom ends, and you are left in desolate flooded or parched ecosystems, death comes swiftly from the storm.

Hurricane Harvey is either the end or the beginning
Hurricane Harvey is abrupt climate change. And it shows collapse of the atmosphere and ecosystems that threatens to destroy the biosphere and end being.

It doesn’t have to end this way. Texans can strive for a dose of humility as they go cap in hand to ask the rest of the nation to bail them out (as they have refused so often to do for others). Texans are always for small government until they need help. Yet there should be no funds unless the Texas mess – lack of regulation, oil dependency, urban sprawl, and anti-science denial – is addressed.
This includes commitments to dramatically cut and soon end emissions from Texas oil.

Meaningful recovery in Texas will require pulling back from the coasts, restoring natural river ways, wetlands, and floodplains;  and otherwise REGULATING development. Once again ecosystems must surround human endeavors in order to provide services such as absorbing rainwater. In a world whose climate is abruptly changing, Texans are called upon to rapidly transition away from fossil fuels and exclusively towards renewable energy – both wind and sun are plentiful.

We must come together and declare climate peace by ushering in an age of ecological restoration.
And let’s start teaching science again in Texas before their prevalent anti-science hate kills us all.
Texas’ war against science and the natural world must draw to an end. Like waking up after a long drinking binge, it is time for Texans to sober up and accept their living large – as if the land, water, and air have no value – has brought them to the edge of utter ruin.

Hurricane Harvey was fueled by Texas oil. Until this truth is acknowledged and responded to, there will be no recovery along the Texan Gulf Coast, and the situation there portends the fate of all of humanity.

Wednesday, August 30, 2017

Resisting Nazi Fascism and KKK Racism Responsibility of All True Americans

Anti-fascist liberal arts college professor
brutalizes Nazi, who has a permit
The tragic events at Charlottesville and UnPresident Trump’s embrace of Nazis and KKK members provide for a teachable moment on fascism and race. The rise of the American fascist and racist far right-wing, of the sort that festered and spread from the state of Wisconsin, threatens national and global well-being and security. Historically lynching and gassing of individuals based upon their race or religion have been strongly resisted in America (albeit sometimes disturbingly late) at the cost of nearly a million U.S. anti-fascist lives. Yet GOP political figures such as Government Walker of Wisconsin refuse to repudiate the hate of his voters. Listen closely: under no circumstances will threats of murder and enslavement of non-whites and non-christians be tolerated. Nazis and KKK are UnAmerican, and will be resisted using all means necessary. Start by refusing to vote for candidates whose supporters include Nazi and KKK members. There is no backing down when faced with fascist hate; and we must seek love-based, yet forceful, unity in resisting such monstrous evil. There will be no further American genocide.
“Jewish Americans and immigrants should not have to worry about being incarcerated in concentration camps and whether their children will be gassed. Nor should black Americans fear lynching and enslavement. This is evil incarnate… It is duty of all true Americans to resist fascist, racist and anti-science hate as if our shared survival depends upon it, it does.” — Dr. Glen Barry
By Dr. Glen Barry, EcoInternet

THERE IS NO GOING BACK

Centuries of human progress are at risk as fascism and racism are again resurgent in America. Enormous strides have been made in recent decades towards racial, sexual, and religious equality. The world is a more just and fair place as slavery has been largely eliminated, religious guarantees solidified (including the right to not believe), overt racism and sexism are in decline (though issues with systematic discrimination remain), and non-white ethnicities’ political rights established.

Sadly the societal diseases of state-based racism and fascism are flaring up again, and in the United States of America no less. Granted, America was conceived in genocide of Native Americans and slavery of Africans, yet the nation had until recently become a beacon of perpetual self-improvement. Appallingly fascism’s rise is occurring as humanity is faced with a plethora of social and ecology crises – such as climate change, ecosystem collapse, inequity, injustice, and perma-war – any one of which could kill us all. At this critical juncture, humanity cannot afford the distraction of again having to fight monstrous evils which it was thought had been long banished.

Right-wing terror is UnAmerican
Let’s be clear. Nazis murdered 6 million Jews in WWII and in total over 80 million deaths resulted from the rise and defeat of the fascist disease. In the American South over one-third of a million Africans were kidnapped, tortured, and brutally enslaved; as the lunatic, treasonous confederacy fought to continue this savagery. And over 4,000 black Americans have been lynched by the KKK in the past 150 years as the promise of racial equality went unmet.

We are one human family. And such filthy and vile ideologies have no place in civilized society.

The rise of the American fascist right is one of the gravest threats to global peace, stability, and well-being the world has ever known. Their grotesque ideology threatens the terror of mass murder and enslavement. In recent years in the United States there have been twice as many terrorist incidents by right-wing extremists as by Islamist extremists. In recent decades 74% of US domestic terror attacks are by far right wing violent extremists, who have murdered 106 people in 62 attacks.

Jewish Americans and immigrants should not have to worry about being incarcerated in concentration camps and whether their children will be gassed. Nor should black Americans fear lynching and enslavement. This is evil incarnate.

The lesson from German Nazism and America’s post-Civil War is that you speak out against, actively resist, and utterly destroy state-based fascism and racism immediately as it arises or face much worse problems later on. Such horrendous evil flies in the face of all that America stands for and aspires to be. Villainous Nazis and KKK have no place in American politics and efforts to again murder and enslave blacks and Jews will be met by The Resistance and vigorous Anti-fascist counter-measures.

America’s and the world’s hard fought gains in human rights will not be so easily erased. Under no circumstances will psychotic homicidal hate of the terrorist far-right be allowed to trump the peace and love found in vibrant and tolerant multi-cultural communities based upon universal principles of equality, racial harmony, social justice, and basic human decency. There is no going back to Nazism and the KKK, and there will be no further American genocide.

Long history of anti-fascist resistance
Long history of anti-fascist resistance
HOW DID WE GET HERE

Like many I have been appalled by the resurgence of Nazism and KKK white supremacy (collectively referred to accurately here as “the fascists”), and their recent murderous rampage in Charlottesville, Virginia. And I have been shocked by the failure of the GOP – including such leaders as UnPresident Trump, House Speaker Paul Ryan, and my own state’s second-tier Wisconsin Governor Scott Walker – to condemn in uncertain terms rising right-wing hate.

While it is true that historically the Democratic Party was the home of Southern racism including tolerance of the KKK, there has been a political re-alignment. For decades now racists and fascists have become a vital GOP voting bloc in the rise of their extremist right-wing hate politics. There is a long established tradition in the GOP’s electoral strategy of a wink-and-nod promotion of racial intolerance for votes and funds. America’s current political malaise whereby we even have to consider the re-emergence of the KKK and Nazism is the logical consequence of decades of GOP bigotry for political advantage. What sort of people vote for candidates whose supporters include Nazis and the KKK?

The American government has been seized in a fascist coup by treasonous UnPresident Trump. America’s government is in the hands of the fascist wing of the GOP party. UnPresident Trump is emotionally unstable, politically inept, morally bankrupt, and these traits along with his fascist demeanor make him unfit for office. It is truly shocking that UnPresident Trump can’t bring himself to condemn Nazis and the KKK, for fear of alienating his political base. This and a whole slew of other actions have shown #CreepyDonald to be a filthy, vile, charlatan, authoritarian demagogue, madman bent upon waging war on non-christians and non-white men, American and international security, and even truth and science.

Again, all peace and truth loving Americans are called upon to find meaning in nature and #TheResistance to Trump Fascism.

I have been an anti-fascist campaigner since first witnessing fascism’s rise in my home state of Wisconsin nearly a decade ago. There Governor Walker – a former college classmate of mine for which I have only derision – has a long record of racist campaigning. I remember well when Scott Walker was in college running for office and compared himself to Martin Luther King, showing his total detachment from reality.
Governor Scott Walker is a balding fascist

For decades Walker has used suburban hate of Milwaukee blacks for political gain.

Authoritarian fascism began to re-emerge with Walker’s war on workers, the environment, and education. Under his reign it is not unusual to hear racial epitaphs in rural Wisconsin, something I never encountered as a child or young man.  Walker’s political rise in Wisconsin has been built upon consistent race-baiting and support from racists, and the Wisconsin GOP has created the current environment where Nazis and the KKK are ascendant.

Given Walker’s history of race-baiting, it is not surprising that he supports UnPresident Trump’s warm embrace of Nazi and KKK ideologies. Both Walker and Trump are fascists.  Governor Walker is complicit in UnPresident Trump’s treasonous, anti-science, racist, war-mongering hate. Walker’s electoral success shows that Trump’s political ascent is far from an aberration, and reflects the heart and soul of the Republican Party. As the Gubernatorial election nears in Wisconsin, we must never forget the current intensity of GOP hate started with Walker’s attacks upon workers.

It is hardly surprising Scott Walker refuses to condemn Trump’s white supremacist bigotry, as he is a racist too.

My warnings of fascist Wisconsin were widely ridiculed and ignored. It doesn’t seem that my decade long predictions of American fascism were so wrong after all. Nor should my avocations on what is required to address fascism be dismissed. There is no backing down when faced with fascism.

NEVER AGAIN

There is a lot of nonsense spouted by the right regarding political ideologies. Nazis were not socialist, they were right wing extremists. Fascism is a political ideology based upon nationalism, militarism, racism, corporatism, scapegoating and more. Similarly anti-fascism is a philosophy, not a physical group, that opposes fascism, with many divergent tactics to strategically destroy right-wing hate.
Anti-fascists are committed to disrupting the activities of those committed, by their own words, to carrying out mass genocide against entire races. History shows us that by the time the fascists have attained state power and genocide has commenced, it is too late to stop mass murder and large-scale wars of fascist resistance.

At all costs, the horrors of the Nazi
holocaust must never happen again
 Over one million Americans died defeating the twin monstrous evils of Nazism and the confederacy. And under no circumstances must such vicious and intolerable ideologies be allowed to resurface and spread. There will be no American concentration camps where fellow human being are imprisoned, overworked, gassed, and burned. Nor will any Americans of any ethnicity ever again fear being enslaved. The work to abolish systematic racism still inflicted upon non-white persons must continue apace.

As Nazi fascism and KKK racism again rise in GOP America, there is no neutrality. You are either anti-fascist, or a Nazi and KKK collaborator. At first it is up to all stable and confident Americans to ask nicely for rhetoric promoting the murderous hate based upon race to stop. But at some point, more direct actions to utterly destroy the metastasizing disease of racist fascism are entirely justified. It is up to each of us to decide to what extent and how we will resist fascism and take responsibility for doing so.

One thing I know for sure – fascists must be confronted and revealed as the monsters they are, or their political extremism becomes established and regularized. Under no circumstances must fascists be allowed to rule the streets unchallenged, or their hate-mongering will win, and we will all live in fear of arbitrary detention, work camps, and murder.

Grieving fascist resurgence and establishment within American government, I have been vacillating between which is the best response; ridiculing, counter-protesting, or punching Nazis and KKK members. For now it is best to show up in massive displays of pubic counter-protests, and ridicule such repugnant ignoramuses given any opportunity. But let’s not fool ourselves, these are violent terrible ideologies, whose adherents are indeed deplorable, evil filth. We must never surrender the streets to these foul fascists. And we may need to fight fascism again to remain free and just, and we must be ready.

Of course non-violent peaceful protests are always the best means to achieve lasting and just social change. There are numerous creative means to protest, that stand up to fascism with community displays of solidarity and love; including displays of righteous ridicule, such as recently Tubas playing cartoon themes to troll fascist protests. Yet sadly, realistically stopping the rise of fascism in America may once again require meeting force with force.  Anti-fascist punching of Nazis may be required. Anti-fascists must never stand down, particularly when Neo-Nazis hold the reins of governmental power. 

Nazis are not nice people, and generally
you cannot reason with jack booted thugs
THE ANTI-FASCIST WAY FORWARD

Being a Nazi or in the KKK is never OK. Hate towards non-whites and non-christians is never OK. Maybe if Hitler’s jack booted thugs had been asked nicely to stop hating, war and mass murder of innocents could have been avoided. Probably not though.

Standing up to medieval anti-Semitic, white-supremacy, fascist hate is the duty of all civilized people. All Nazi and KKK supporters should expect to be resisted, and if their hateful threatening of others does not stop, to be destroyed.

It is duty of all true Americans to resist fascist, racist and anti-science hate as if our shared survival depends upon it, it does. There are some simple steps that can be taken now to minimize the risk of fascism.

Join me in calling upon Twitter to shutdown UnPresident Trump’s account for his support of fascist and racist violence. Please take the time to report his tweets, which clearly violate the Twitter terms of service. Many other accounts including my own have been shut down for far lesser reasons.

We must ensure that Trump’s reign is short, and even as we work for impeachment, seek to minimize the damage. The fascist-in-chief must not be allowed to use nuclear terror to advance his far right-wing GOP fascist and racist agenda. To avoid global nuclear war at the hands of a madman, the US Military must under no circumstances obey emotionally unstable UnPresident Trump’s orders to launch nuclear weapons. There must be no nukes for Trump. The military is called upon to join the resistance.

Even as we confront fascism, and work to urgently address other global emergencies such as climate change, we must all lower the tone of our political rhetoric. It is time for a political force to arise in Wisconsin and the nation that shuns political extremes, and seeks to compromise and find truthful solutions from all sides. And we must vote out of office all fascist and racist sympathizers.

In highly polarized Wisconsin, both the Madison Congressional and Wisconsin Governor’s race would benefit from candidates from the political center. Imagine Wisconsin and American politics free of Republican fascism and Democratic self-entitled elitism; finding truth, justice and well-being in the political center. Let’s start by voting twin authoritarian fascists Scott Walker and Donald Trump out of office.

It is the SACRED DUTY of every true American to resist rising fascism and racism with every ounce of their being. Never forget what happens when Nazi fascists and Confederate racists seek to gain full state power. The result is inevitably reigns of terror, mass genocidal murder, and justified wars of resistance.

Let’s together end this Nazi and KKK bullshit and get back to saving the Planet.

Sunday, July 16, 2017

Never Forget “Western Civilization” Based upon Murderous Ecocidal Evil

Native peoples are strong and their movements
are getting stronger. Picture from Hawai’i.

Journalist: What do you think of Western civilization?
Gandhi: I think it would be a good idea.

“Take it from this old rich white man. Cross-cultural communication that seeks truthful expression of how to live within nature and with others who are different is vital. No one culture has all the answers, but together we almost certainly do, to such pressing matters that threaten our shared existence as perma-war, injustice, inequity, and ecological collapse. We need to listen to each other and seek a synthesis of the Western and non-Western, that reflects an ecology and humanity ethic truly worthy of the moniker “Universal Civilization”. — Dr. Glen Barry
By Dr. Glen Barry
Earth Meanders, Deep Ecology Essays by Dr. Glen Barry

WESTERN CIVILIZATION IS A MYTH

If ever a society was conceived in original sin, it is the Western democracies, Europe and North America in particular. Dominance of Western Civilization is based upon centuries of murder and enslavement of indigenous peoples and nature that continue to this day.

Some 500 years ago European tribes spilled forth into the world in a wave of ecological colonialism. Thus began an onslaught of murderous genocide, enslavement, rape, and ecocide in the name of christianity, capitalism, and country. Characterized by a pernicious greed and certainty in their own superiority; European cultures built a mysterious worldview that justified their callous mistreatment of others and destruction of the natural world.

Key among the sinister Eurocentric worldview was the mistaken notion that natural ecosystems, non-European people, and other sentient life existed solely to be exploited for their profit. Millions of plant and animal species, thousands of ancient cultures and their knowledge, and innumerable other human beings with different appearances and worldviews existed solely to serve Europeans and their colonies, and if they refused, their massacre was justified. Indeed, given their less than fully human nature, eradication through murder of other cultures was the civilized thing to do.

Not unlike a cancerous mutation, at a global scale a deeply flawed ecocidal and genocidal worldview radiated forth that pursued material comfort at the expense of other people, life forms, and the environment.

And the invading murderers had the gall to call themselves Western Civilization.

European and American exceptionalist rhetoric does not align with the history of settlers’ colonialist expansion. Or the continued ramifications upon the Earth, indigenous peoples, and plants and animals arrayed into ecosystems; of this miserable worldview being nearly universally accepted. Such a brutal and evil worldview has metastasized into our current over-populated, inequitable, unjust, and war-torn world; and threatens, after having destroyed nature and other more biocentric cultures, to topple the biosphere and end being.

But not before much more dramatic suffering and pain, first inflicted upon native peoples by Western civilization.

KNOW YOUR HISTORY

In the Americas alone around 100 million people – about 90% of the original population of  indigenous peoples – died from Western disease – including smallpox, measles, and cholera; or were murdered and/or violently displaced including through rape, warfare, and genocide by settlers.
Firsthand accounts of the slaughter are replete with tales of entire tribes being massacred, as children were pulled from their parents and impaled, women were raped and enslaved, as men fighting to protect their families and land were wantonly murdered.

Why? Because they were savages and would not surrender their land. And Europeans were the chosen ones.

An estimated 12.5 million Africans were kidnapped and shipped to the Americas with some 10.7 million surviving the journey, of which about 1/3 of a million were tortured and enslaved in North America. The brutal savagery of slavery is difficult to comprehend, yet was similarly justified by claims of superiority of white christian capitalist culture.

Granted, slavery, mass migration, and warfare existed for a long time and were practiced by many cultures. But none so ruthlessly and at such scale as the genocide wrought by Western civilization’s expansion. Such savagery has continued into world wars, carpet bombing of civilians, militarism in defense of resources such as oil, and the final clearance of natural ecosystems that make life possible.
Over 80% of Earth’s naturally evolved old-growth forests have been mowed, around half of the world’s land mass is under some form of cultivation, oceans are dying as they are scraped of life, water and fertile soil are increasingly scarce, and our very climate is spinning out of control. The biosphere is dying.

Such is the history of western civilization.

It is not my intention to downplay advances such as personal liberty, material comfort, and relative democracy associated with western civilization. But it has come at a heavy price, leaving traumatized societies and brutalized natural systems and animals, placing at risk the well-being of future generations and the very habitability of our Earthly habitat. And given the rise of fascism in Western democracies, such advances appear to be fragile and impermanent.

Western civilization has certainly not been civilized given any objective measure. The marvels found in entire cities such as Amsterdam and Venice have been built upon plunder and murder.

Western abuses of indigenous peoples continue unabated to this day. Out of such an abominable worldview has come an over-populated world that has liquidated its natural ecosystems, is in a state of perma-war, as the biosphere nears final collapse. And now in a last wave of outrage, indigenous and other non-Western peoples are the most impacted upon by abrupt climate change and other impacts of collapsing natural ecosystems.

The author has been blessed to play a small
supporting role in many successful indigenous
campaigns including We Are Mauna Kea
(pictured), Standing Rock, and many others
EMBRACING NATIVE KNOWLEDGE
There are innumerable worldviews regarding humanity’s place in the cosmos and understanding of right-living. Important knowledge exists such as the use of plant materials, how to sustain yourself from an ecosystem without degrading or destroying it, and how to minimize conflict. Native knowledge encapsulated in ritual has kept water, oceans, land, and fields largely intact for millennia. Along with natural ecosystems, this indigenous knowledge has been nearly wiped from the surface of the Earth by Western settlers.

It is not my intent to over-romanticize non-Western cultures. Many were warlike and locally over-exploited environments. But never has a culture matched Western imperialism’s grim need to proselytize, force their worldview upon others, and murder all those that resisted; including global claims of European sovereignty to non-Western land and resources. Much knowledge has been lost regarding how to live at peace with Earth and each other. Sadly, many indigenous peoples have embraced the expansionist ecocidal behaviors of their colonizers.

Much native knowledge regarding justice and truth as known by indigenous peoples continues to exist, and is present in contemporary movements ranging from Black Lives Matter to Standing Rock, and many millions of active and empowered local native communities. Globally indigenous, non-Western peoples are leading in demonstrating ways of being that do not kill others or destroy our shared natural ecosystems.

Daily the progeny of colonizing settlers are being being shown (if we care enough to notice), that there are other ways of being that do not depend upon systematic murder and ecocide to fuel economic growth for some (and misery and death for the rest). In Western democracies there is much discussion of rights. But rarely does this include the rights of the native people  whose lands were stolen, or of natural ecosystems and their wildlife to continue to exist.

Native cultures and their peoples are strong, and their movements getting stronger. With the humility of a reformed settler seek to understand and support social movements based upon indigenous sentiments. Join together to end fossil fuels, protect and restore old-growth forests, grant opportunity for self-reliance to all peoples, and resist continued human rights abuses upon those first peoples who have suffered enough.

THE WAY TO OUR SHARED HOME

Globally 370 million indigenous peoples from about 5,000 groups continue to live in their natural locales, yet have their rights continue to be suppressed due to the legacy of colonialism. It is estimated these cultures continue to control lands (however precariously in the face of industrial expansion) that hold 80% of Earth’s remaining biological heritage, and some of the last large functioning ecosystems that make Earth habitable.

Around the world indigenous based and other non-Western social movements are flourishing. Yet sadly, intersectionality shows us that numerous systems of oppression and domination continue to lead to discrimination against all who are not rich white males. Systematic racism continues to exist and pernicious attacks upon natural systems and their rightful occupants continue to be the rule.

Nonetheless, take it from this old rich white man. Cross-cultural communication that seeks truthful expression of how to live within nature and with others who are different is vital. No one culture has all the answers, but together we almost certainly do, to such pressing matters that threaten our shared existence as perma-war, injustice, inequity, and ecological collapse.

We need to listen to each other and seek a synthesis of the Western and non-Western, that reflects an ecology and humanity ethic truly worthy of the moniker “Universal Civilization”. Imagine and build a world that protects and renatures water and soil, forests and wetlands, oceans and cultures; based upon the combined knowledge and experience of the thousands of cosmological worldviews which have evolved as Homo sapiens peered from the forests to the stars.

Technology, commerce, and governance will all have a role in the coming Universal Civilization; as the rights of those that are smart and work hard to have more are protected. But the personal accumulation of wealth – the bedrock of western thought – will no longer come at the expense of unmet basic needs or a living Earth that can essentially last forever. Small government and business will serve bioregional communities, as all have the opportunity to live well ensconced within natural life-giving ecosystems.

Salvation for the human and all species requires atoning for the wrongs wrought by Western lack of civilization. Reparations must be made both to indigenous peoples and the natural world. There is much de-colonizing and ecosystem regeneration yet to occur. As all knowledge possessed by Western thought AND indigenous cultures regarding justice, equity, peace, and ecology is truly embraced.