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Culture Change print magazine issues: 20  19  18  17  16  15  14  13  12  11  10  9  8  index

Pedal Power solutions to petroleum dependence and polluting vehicles: Arcata Library Bikes, Pedal Power Produce, and more!

CAOE - Committee Against Oil Exploration - stop offshore oil drilling to protect sensitive habitats and cut petroleum dependence.

Culture Change through music! The Depavers eco-rock!

Take our Pledge for Climate Protection and learn about the Global Warming Crisis Council.

SEI hometown action!
Arcata city council's proclamation against war on Iraq and Kyoto Protocol proclamation.

Overpopulation has become a reality.  Overpopulation Resources and News Tidbits

Sail Transport Network

Fact Sheets
Press Releases

Long Distance


Nature is in Failing Health

by Jan Lundberg

This society of the advanced corporate state is unraveling before our eyes. But most are in denial, as they try to retain faith in "progress." Simultaneously, we all experience a sense of loss over losing Nature.

Our undeclared war against Nature is the underlying reason for socio-economic sputtering and the upcoming collapse. The voices in control-the mainstream media-don't draw the connections.

Even tube-tranced consumers are aware of the big lie of the "American Dream," as they can't help but notice the stress while paying more of the cost.

Newsweek's Robert Samuelson's editorial column (July 14) misleads a windshield-enclosed, screen-watching American populace with his logic of non-action on global warming. He tries to solidify the mindset that there is no alternative to the status quo. He and a vocal minority cling to the fantasy of acceptable climate change, even though Nature's balance can never be tabled for later action. Nor can it be patented.

"Don't Hold Your Breath," Samuelson barks in the headline. "Democracies can't easily make present sacrifices to avoid future menaces. We require... a crisis to stir us to action."

Questioning whether a recordable phenomenon such as global warming is a "clear and present danger" can be murderously irresponsible. The so-called debate is a red herring. We should not be distracted by the new science of trying to quantify climate change, when the larger issues are 1) we are continuing to build the American Dream on the breaking back of Nature, and 2) oil is rapidly running out-but not before inflicting more damage as our nation's green-house-gas-generator of choice.

Nature has been relegated, in the modern mind, to books, the Discovery Channel, and token bits (parks, etc.). The ultimate catastrophe is the collapse of the planetary biosphere. However, whether one takes action individually or publicly, we live in times when those who defend Earth are criminalized and those who poison Earth are subsidized.

Overpopulation-a quarter of a million added worldwide per day- is whitewashed in the U.S. as some abstract problem somewhere else.

Prior to the coming historic, wrenching socio-economic readjustment, there may be hope only in a change-in-consciousness that millions participate in. It will have to be bigger than the youth movement of the 1960s. Music can play a role, but there should also be car-free leaders who captivate the hearts of people as they star in eventual films like Ecotopia and The Monkeywrench Gang (popular books by Ernest Callenbach and Ed Abbey, respectively).

The coming collapse of the artificial economic structure will burst the bubble of belief in the growth machine, while a critical mass is built underground to return to the natural order. Unfortunately, it will be too late for people to say, "Yes, now that the trucks aren't coming into the supermarkets. I, too, want to eat food out of the ground where a driveway should not be!" The mass media never give people a clue; no honest headlines such as "Nature's Death Will Include You" or "Oil Won't Last Long."

The recent Earth Summit +5 conference at the United Nations acknowledged failure, but folks, we hope you agree on this: ignoring the factor of roads and motor vehicles accounts for the dismal picture. If our call for a road building moratorium had been heeded whatsoever at the 1992 Rio Earth Summit, perhaps there might be some good trends emerging. Instead, to outdo George Bush, Clinton/Gore stands out as a renegade regime of environmental phonies.

Nature Does Not Negotiate
Instead of focusing on the uncertainties of the effects of global warming, we need to be designing for the inevitable transition to a post-petroleum age-now, so that lifestyle changes and really renewable energy have a chance to become implemented. Unsustainable or destructive industries, e.g., electric cars, deserve no support.

Looking at the evidence in news-papers, Nature is in a lot of trouble, but the consumer society is still way off track. Our dominant "leaders" keep short-term economic consideration-especially corporate profits-ahead of environmental protection. The problem with this approach is that nature does not negotiate. Solving environmentally related social-justice issues should not suffer from prioritizing "people first," because, as Richard Register says, a piece of the pie does the downtrodden no good if it is an arsenic pie!

The balance of Nature has held sway from the beginning of time, bringing us a garden of diversity. To end alleged or imagined fears of unpredictability, the first civilizers started taking over the rest of the world for expansion. The resultant maxed-out polluting system of today purports to be an alternative to traditional tribal ways. The latter is simply almost all of our past existence.

However, as depicted in Ishmael, the novel by Daniel Quinn, civilization-that relatively short-lived lifestyle-is speeding toward a crash, much as the first flying machines pedaled over cliffs. Laws of the universe are ignored while a relatively short termed experiment is still aloft. Meanwhile, the ground is rising up faster and faster and the pilots still say we are flying as never before.

The alternative to human-induced global disaster is almost as abhorrent to most people as nuclear war. The strategy of sharply reducing our population "voluntarily" down to the ecological carrying capacity would mean lots of suicide or executions, accompanied by a rigid dictatorship on births. The necessary population reduction will come anyway, somehow, but no one seems to want to be a part of a draconian solution. They want the freedom to keep reproducing and, worse, consuming. Everyone is in effect waiting for both the economic crash and its automatic result: rapid population reduction. Planning now for this gets bogged down by the Gore types who sing the praises of "development" and "eradicating poverty" (read create consumers) as the "only way" to achieve population stabilization, let alone reduction.

The ecosystem will, in the next age, begin to balance itself again, except for relatively brief setbacks of radioactive-waste releases. We can still at least imagine evolution filling the gaps we have torn in the fabric of life. But evolution's eventual cure for species extinction is not some appropriate philosophical solution. Extinctions are irreversible and are not for us to pass judgment on, except to object to with all our being. Our own extinction alone would be more fair; it is as if we are a deadly virus threatening to spread to other planets, as part of our drive to maintain consumption of material things.


Articles of interest:
Measuring and controlling the actions of governments 

Anti-globalization protest grows, with tangible results. 
WTO protests page

Tax fossil-fuel energy easily
by Peter Salonius 

UK leader calls War on Terror "bogus"

Argentina bleeds toward healing by Raul Riutor

The oil industry has plans for you: blow-back by Jan Lundberg

It's not a war for oil? by Adam Khan

How to create a pedestrian mall by Michelle Wallar

The Cuban bike revolution

How GM destroyed the U.S. rail system excerpts from the film "Taken for a Ride".

"Iraqi oil not enough for US: Last days of America?"

Depaving the world by Richard Register

Roadkill: Driving animals to their graves by Mark Matthew Braunstein

The Hydrogen fuel cell technofix: Spencer Abraham's hydrogen dream.


Ancient Forest Protection in Northern California. Forest defenders climb trees to save them.

Daniel Quinn's thoughts on this website.

A case study in unsustainable development is the ongoing crisis in Palestine and Israel.

Renewable and alternative energy information.

Conserving energy at home (Calif. Title 24)

Culture Change mailing address: P.O. Box 3387 , Santa Cruz , California 95063 USA
  Telephone 1-215-243-3144 (and fax)

Culture Change was founded by Sustainable Energy Institute (formerly Fossil Fuels Policy Action), a nonprofit torganization.