Addiction to Fossil Fuels, Arizona, Capitalism, Climate Change, Collapse of Industrial Civilization, Corporate State, Devil's Bridge, Eco-Apocalypse, Egyptian Social Upheaval, Environmental Collapse, Extinction of Man, Martha Gellhorn, Mega-Fires, Megadrought, Nine Inch Nails, Overpopulation, Peak Oil, Security and Surveillance State, Sedona, Social Unrest, The Elite 1%, unwashed public, War on Terror, Yarnell Hill Fire
This past weekend I trekked through the Sedona desert to Devil’s Bridge for some scenic vistas and to find the ideal place to meditate and clear my mind. Looking at these beautiful pictures, you wouldn’t know that industrial civilization is beginning to come apart at the seams. With the doomsday trifecta of peak oil, climate change, and the final blow-off stage of overpopulation, Egypt is a microcosm of what lies ahead for all of us in a world of austerity and class war, expensive food, and loss of faith in institutions/breakdown of government.
Thoughts flicker through my mind about how precarious and transient my position is in this hostile terrain. Without oil, I would not even be hiking in the hot desert. I had to drive to get here. The life-sustaining water in my mass-produced thermos was delivered into my house through an elaborate system of pipes and treatment plants. My shoes and clothing are made overseas, perhaps in a sweatshop, and shipped to the local department store where I bought them. And if I break a leg and need emergency services, a gas-guzzling helicopter may even be dispatched to pick me out of the wilderness. Suffice it to say, industrial civilization has made the world much smaller, but at a horrible price. Humans have become fixated on fossil fuels to their own detriment, like a moth fatally attracted to a burning street lamp. The average person lives and travels far beyond the capacity of the Earth to sustain such an energy-intensive mode of living. Pampered by fossil fuel slaves, the citizens of industrial civilization cannot imagine a world without such luxuries and don’t even entertain such thoughts. As a matter of fact, I’m thought of as crazy for even suggesting our energy-laden lifestyles are an aberration in the great scheme of history. I push such absurd thoughts out of my mind and take in the breathtaking scenery.
But then I wonder how this place will look in a few decades, seeing how Arizona is the fastest warming state in the union. Two days after this state’s tragic loss of 19 firefighters in the Yarnell Hill Fire, my neighborhood situated roughly two hours away was pelted with a torrential downpour and hail up to one inch in diameter. Extremes of weather, fire and ice, are a hallmark of climate change and promise to take many more victims in the future:
No amount of hints dropped by Mother Nature will sink into the collective skull of humanity. Industrial civilization with its countless techno-gadgetry solutions is the hammer, and everything else is the nail. Rising sea levels require massive sea gates; crop failure requires genetically modified plants; CO2 pollution requires carbon sequestration, terrorism requires 24/7 surveillance of all citizens, etc. Vested interests and human nature always find a way to rationalize the irrational and push reason out the window. The superorganism of capitalist industrial civilization has constricted our imagination and choices, strapping us into a speeding car headed for the abyss of extinction.
I find solace and tranquility in nature far from the maddening buzz of modern civilization.
See the animal in his cage that you built
Are you sure what side you’re on?
Better not look him too closely in the eye
Are you sure what side of the glass you are on?
See the safety of the life you have built
Everything where it belongs
Feel the hollowness inside of your heart
And it’s all
Right where it belongs