Tuesday, April 7, 2020

this is YOUR fault

After I posted my (thus far) one hundred percent accurate prophecy of what the next few years will hold for the people of this planet (with some variance for personal taste), someone asked me on The Facebooks what we're supposed to do about our impending doom.

Like any good modern-day prophet, I evaded the question. 

But as I can't in good conscience leave the dozens of readers of this blog hanging (hi, mom!), I will now tell you how our current predicament is your fault, and what you would need to do if you wanted to correct it.

Granted, you're not some corrupt, faux-swamp-draining "politician."

But you're still part of this failing tire fire of an empire, and you've been using your wallet and lifestyle to vote for just exactly this current reality for your whole life. You've averted your eyes again and again from the ecological and economic injustice you've enabled, all in support of your lust for the cheap, plastic garbage they call consumer "goods." You've done this because it was easy and convenient, and because you wanted to. You've done it because you are selfish, lazy, half-hearted hedonists.

You've made "Have fun!" a national slogan and a standard blessing at any departure. 

You've been intentionally blind to the impossibility of infinitely increasing consumption on a planet with finite resources.

You've participated, knowingly or not, in The Sixth Extinction, earth-history's first example of one species being responsible for the rapid kaputting of a ton of others. And while you could probably list a few of the victims (passenger pigeon pie, anyone?), you've doubtless never looked the villain right in the eye (in a mirror) and accepted responsibility for what you (yes, you) have done.

Don't get me wrong: you're perfectly nice people. 

Many of you buy the organic foodstuffs and put the organic cotton sheets on your beds—at least in part out of a vague sense that chemically-fertilized agribusiness is poisoning the earth (although, let's be honest, you mostly do it because you're anxious about cancer).

Many of you recycle, a mostly-placebotic activity that, yes, you should still be doing, and that no, will not save the planet—not by a long shot.

Some of you even buy fair trade coffee.

Yay, you guys!

These are all perfectly nice things to do, and better than the alternative. But mostly they're about you, because (as I've already mentioned), you are a self-absorbed, lazy, half-assed hedonist who prefers for the most part to avoid thinking about uncomfortable things.

Some of you have formed whole political coalitions around this denial and yeah, it's possible there's a special circle in hell for people just like you. Especially those of you who've brought your religion into it and claimed "Jesus made us do it" was justification for endlessly inventive cruelty.

But the rest of you godless liberals aren't off the hook, either. 

You're often just as self-righteous, pointing your fingers at "those idiots" and twiddling your thumbs over your phones in glorious armchair-slacktivism, Cancelling anyone who looks at you wrong while at the same time doing pretty much the exact same things as the people you try to shame.

I know this because I'm just like you.

I know this because in my lifetime I have been both the self-righteous religious denialist, and the self-righteous post-religious denialist.

I've done it all and it's ultimately led me to the following conclusion...



Sorry.

I just realized your name might actually be Kevin. I'm not trying to single you out, Kevin. I'm just overly fond of movie references.

How about this...?


Harsh, I know.

And not entirely accurate.

Humans beings are capable of being gardeners and nurturers of the natural world. We are creative wonders, capable of fashioning almost anything we can imagine into reality. The complexity of our beautiful creations is mind-boggling. We are capable of immense kindness, goodness, and love.

Get too many of us together, though (anything over 150 will usually do the trick), and it's carnage and mayhem everywhere.

It doesn't have to be like this.

Although it might feel like it sometimes, we are not a locomotive on an inescapable Track-of-Doom. We have choices. We can change. We can leave this path.

Just because this planet reached its carrying capacity for humans (at their then-average waste-levels) in the 1980s, that doesn't mean the planet couldn't play happy host to our present more than doubled population... if we're willing to make some tough choices.

This is where I tell you exactly what you don't want to hear: that if you're going to do your part heal the damage we've done to each other and to God's Good Earth, you're going to have to change things that you think of as not only normal, but practically your right.

You likely won't be willing to make these changes, and will resent me for suggesting that you should. I'm as desperate for acceptance as the next schmuck, so as much as I want you to stop destroying the planet for my progeny, if you think that reading on will make you like me any less... just go ahead and stop right now.

Still reading?

You sure?

Okay, fine. But don't say I didn't warn you.

Here's what you (yes, you) are gonna have to do if you don't want your grandkids to be trampled someday by the Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse:

  • No more plastic straws. In fact, no more plastic anything. Just. never. buy. anything. made. of. plastic. that. you. do. not. absolutely. need. to. survive. This includes the cheaper brands of peanut butter, K-cups, plastic wrap for your leftovers... all of it. If you don't actually need it—and I'm not talking entitled teenage whiner "need," but real, actual need—then you don't get to walk out of the store with it. Not if you want the human species to survive.
  • Stop buying clothes from the opposite side of the planet. Which is to say: shorten the supply chain of the things you still do need to buy, like clothes. Yeah, this will suck for a while for the slave-labor people working in those antipodal factories... but they're actually in this horrible work situation because of you. Make that right by learning to sew, then sewing your own clothes. You do NOT need a closet full of fashionable clothes. They are NOT making you happier.
  • Stop teaching your children to be consumers. Don't let them watch television. Don't buy them plastic garbage. Seriously—it's garbage. The only reason you can't see that it's all destined for a landfill (or the ocean) is because you're taking such a reedonkulously short-sighted view. Stop that. You're not an aardvark, you're a human bean. Act like it. Imagine a better world than the one in which you currently live, then work to make that vision a reality. 
  • Don't pay other people to do the bad work that you don't want to do. Clean your own dang toilet. Cook your own dang food. And if there's a job that no one in their right mind would want to do (example: putting widgets together on an assembly line all day), then that job should probably be eliminated... and the only way that is going to happen is if you stop buying those widgets at the store.
  • No more vacations. Sorry. You don't need to fly anywhere or even drive long distances, so don't. It's ecologically irresponsible. I realize that our history of too-easy migration has separated a lot of you from your family and friends, so... 
  • Live local. You're gonna have to start living near all the people you want to spend time with before you die. This means family, this mean friends. For the rest... well, I can't make you stop texting all the time, but you might consider picking up a pen and paper now and then. Which leads me to my next point...
  • Slow down. Just do everything slower. Stop rushing around everywhere, as if by rushing you'll somehow outrun your anxiety, your death, or your death-anxiety. Nobody makes good decisions when they're going too fast to think.
  • Rethink your whole pet situation. Americans spend 70 Billion dollars a year on pets. That is a lot of money to be spending on animals with very little edible meat, while around 9 million people die every year of starvation and starvation-related diseases (that'll go up by about a bajillion when the Global Depression kicks in, but even at current rates it's a travesty). Instead of spending three grand on some ridiculous surgery for your dog's torn ACL... how about you just don't. I know, I know. Americans spend a crap-ton of money on SO MUCH other stupid stuff (one trillion dollars on a holiday to celebrate the birth, two thousand years ago, of a Jewish carpenter-socialist who said it was easier to stuff a camel through the eye of a needle than for a rich person to get into heaven? anyone?). The pets thing is just an example of one way in which the astonishing wealth of the most astonishingly wealthy nation in the history of the planet is being squandered. Stop being a part of that.
  • Start gardening. Till some dirt, plant some things, watch them grow, eat them. You'll probably be desperately trying to make this work next Fall if/when the global depression starts to get real, but you might as well start now. Do it. 
  • Think about farming. Most of you (about eighty percent?) live in cities, or in suburbs under the dominion of those totalitarian-nazi organizations they call the H.O.A. If you survive the coming Great Depression without starving to death, you'll likely be part of the mass-migration from urban areas to rural. But for now... do what you can. Raise guinea pigs. They breed fast and they're tasty in butter.  
  • Probably become a farmer. You think that's beneath you? You think you're too smart/talented/whatever for that? Don't be an idiot. You're probably barely smart enough to be a bad farmer. Not only are you not smart or strong enough to make a go of it as a farmer, you also don't have the knowledge base to avoid accidentally killing off all your animals and turning your land into a fetid swamp in the first few years. Still, consolidating all the farms into massive land-poisoning, corn-obsessed agribusinesses that are fueling our high-fructose demise was an idiot move pushed by nasty corporate (and political) interests. Unless we change course, our food supply chains will always be vulnerable and unstable. Evidence: the coming global starvation. But good news! If you work hard and smart enough to make it as a farmer, you'll most likely be happier and have better relationships than ever before. Stick your hands in the dirt and feel your anxiety just drift away. Yay!
That's it. That's all it will take. 

I have a strong suspicion that the masses will not make these necessary changes. Probably the tens of people who read this blog won't, either. Heck, I'm pretty sure that I won't change a dang thing about my life on account of my own prognostications. 

I guess I'm just recording my protest so that one day, when members of an alien civilization examine the artifacts of our by-then-long-vanished civilization, they'll conclude that while we were (on the whole) an idiotic species, some of us were at least aware that we were idiots, and were not pleased with the situation.

I guess that's it. 

So long... and thanks for all the fish.




4 comments:

  1. Stunning. I just may have to telephone you and give you my personal idolatrous adulations. Well written. And horribly convicting. Wait. . .I must go out and turn the compost pile first.

    ReplyDelete
  2. As Froggie says to Charlie in "The Foreigner, "he could turn a phrase." Froggie was talking about Shakespeare; I'm talking about Josh Barkey. Not only are you in command of your native tongue, but also in command of your mind and sensibilities. I'll be sharing this post (presume that's ok by you.) Tell your mother hello.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Share away, of course! Thanks, Rebecca. And I will - she'll be delighted and I'm sure would return the greeting. :-)

      Delete

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