6th Mass Extinction, Abrupt Climate Change, Anthropogenic Climate Disruption (ACD), California Drought, Capitalism, Cold Fusion, Dr. Erik Pianka, Extinction of Man, Fracking Chemicals Contaminating Groundwater, Global Famine, Greenhouse Gases, Materialism, Oscar Wilde, Techno-Utopians
The following video message is from Dr. Erik Pianka, an esteemed American biologist, one of the world’s most accomplished field ecologists, and author of the classic 1983 book Evolutionary Ecology. This video was made roughly four years ago. Not much has changed in the interim other than everything getting progressively worse —more people, more cars, more garbage landfills, more greenhouse gas emissions, more ocean acidification, more extinctions, etc…
To save the habitability of the Earth, many enlightened environmentalists and thinkers have proposed a radical but simple solution which calls for a reconfiguration of modern society into a much lower energy-intensive way of life with food production localized and resources socialized —just the opposite of what is now happening in our no-holds-barred global capitalist system. However, the time for a transition was decades ago before we had gone so far into overshoot that world powers are now scrambling to lay claim to the melting Arctic, carving up Africa for its land and water while unleashing a pandemic, and contaminating the dwindling aquifers with fracking waste. Our so-called leaders are too busy constructing an omnipresent spying Panopticon to bother noticing the gathering storm of climatic hellfire and brimstone. When harsh reality finally assert itself, such human folly will have created unfathomable catastrophes.
Not many have given much thought to how America will feed itself after the collapse of California’s agriculture industry is complete:
Farming is never going to go back, regardless of how much rain we get next year, to the way it was in the ’70s and ’80s. It’s a long-term era of scarcity.
California is much bigger than it was when these reservoirs were built, 40 or 50 years ago. There’s more water going to cities and the environment now. That boom era of California farming, I think everyone recognizes, is just a thing of the past.
They used to flood-irrigate everything here. When I was a kid, growing up, you’d walk outside in the middle of summer, six or seven months since the last rain, and it would be humid outside because there’d be so much irrigation going on. You hardly ever see anything flood-irrigated anymore. That time, that’s just not coming back.
The solution is not the techno-utopian fantasy of cold fusion. Even if cold fusion was a realistic possibility, the creation of unlimited amounts of ultra-cheap energy wielded in the hands of techno-capitalist man would surely spell disaster for any last vestiges of life that might have survived the omnicide of capitalist industrial civilization and the age of fossil fuels. A good steward of the Earth’s resources and web of life would never have perpetuated the 6th mass extinction and defiled the planet that gave birth to his kind while arrogantly naming himself Homo sapiens (Latin: “Wise man”).
Capitalist carbon man acted like a bull in a china shop, throwing his weight around and blindly destroying everything in his path. Now he wants to invent even more disruptive tools with which to save himself from the very techno-nightmare that he has already created? He treated the biosphere like a buyosphere, and money was his God. His epitaph was inscribed long ago by Oscar Wilde who perceptively said, “They know the price of everything and the value of nothing.”
Tragically, humans had their chance in a magnificent paradise and they blew it in spades.