I live on a small island in the Hauraki Gulf of Aotearoa, New Zealand. The country was stolen from the indigenous Maori at the point of a blood soaked bayonet on a gun being held by British Imperialists.
The permanent resident population on Rakino Island is currently 21 humans, thousands of birds and millions of insects….for now. The island has neither an electrical grid nor reticulated water. I generate electricity with a solar array built with rare earth metals unscrupulously mined in ‘developing’ nations with close to no environmental controls and naturally tonnes of carbon. I store the energy in toxic batteries full of acid and catch soon to be irradiated water from my roof.
I head into Auckland more or less weekly to buy provisions on a gas guzzling ferry, with on average, 20% occupancy, often 5% and less.
Living in relative isolation, off grid, gives me a somewhat different perspective on industrial civilisation, as almost everything I see when I go to the city seems insane. Frantic looking sapiens scurrying around, almost none smiling and many eyes glazed over as they stare gauntly into small screens. George Orwell was sadly spot on.
For the last 6yrs I have been studying full time, the ecological armageddon unfolding around me. The official statistics according to the conservative U.N. guesstimate is 150 to 200 species going extinct every day.
It will almost certainly be many more and we are soon to follow the rest of our victims. Why is this not the first item on the news every night? The answer is because the entire culture is insane and in an insane asylum you can ignore anything including that the asylum is on fire.
If I sail into Auckland City in the evening, I see multi story buildings lit up on every floor whilst a handful of underpaid and under-appreciated class warriors clean up after the white collar workers who have gone home to whine about their soulless jobs and odious work colleagues and to beat their wives and impress their neighbours with gratuitous consumption and their success at grinding the living planet into dust.
I have just witnessed my 57th Xmas and each one sickens me more than the last. I clearly remember my mother being tortured by Xmas, by not having enough money to buy presents for her numerous children that would some how show us that we were loved and so we wouldn’t be envious of our friends presents. 8 children is a legacy of her being, to quote Ma “A Former Prisoner of the Catholic Church”. The sacrifice I watched Ma make for over 50 years clearly showed us that we were passionately loved. The Christian church says that “God created man in his own image”. The misogyny aside how about the arrogance of the species that created a god in it’s own image!
The vast majority of what has been purchased in the last few weeks by hundreds of millions, was bought on credit and will be in a land fill by the end of next month, washing up on my beach or to be ingested by the plummeting numbers of fish still alive in the irradiated, acidic ocean .
George Monbiot who writes at The Guardian recently wrote; ” Everyone wants everything – how is that going to work? The promise of economic growth is that the poor can live like the rich and the rich can live like the oligarchs. But already we are bursting through the physical limits of the planet that sustains us. Climate breakdown, soil loss, the collapse of habitats and species, the sea of plastic, insectageddon: all are driven by rising consumption. The promise of private luxury for everyone cannot be met: neither the physical nor the ecological space exists.”
Infinite growth on a finite planet is insane nonsense and virtually no one challenges it. To quote Edward Abbey the desert anarchist “Infinite growth is the ideology of the cancer cell”. More on Monbiot’s take on this aspect of the insanity here; Everything must go.
The evidence is clear that we are in the early stages of non-linear runaway warming covered previously on this blog, but every where I look it is “Business as Usual” or half arsed solutions that are nothing of the sort.
We can all see that a B-grade reality show TV ‘Star’ now has his small “Pussy Grabbing” hands on the White House Ipad with the nuclear codes. That in itself is patently insane but the insanity goes much, much deeper.
Some believe that the solution to fiat currency is crypto currency’s like Bitcoin and a host of other pretenders. This store of value depends on the internet of things working every day. Turn the electricity off at your place and let me know how that pans out for you. I have Tulips from Amsterdam and a bridge for sale at a good price if anyone is keen?
The insanity of the large corporate NGO’s and “Green Parties” is another more insidious aspect that concerns me.
Many of us have been involved in environmental organisations like Greenpeace and 350.org for decades, trying to slow down the ecological armageddon unfolding. This was good honourable work but now those organisations have been co-opted by the dominant culture to be little more than agents and brokers of ‘sustainable’ products as we bare witness to the 6th Great Extinction and are trying to guess where in the extinction line we sapiens are.
They used to talk about tipping points but now that we have crossed so many the subject has been dropped, don’t mention the elephant in the room. At what point will these organisations admit that the game is up? Not as long as their paid ‘activists’ need paying from your donations or in the case of 350.org from the Rockerfeller Foundation.
Our youth are under more pressure than ever before in the 300,000 yr history of our species and we are still dumping on them that they have to fix the unfix-able chaos that we have bequeathed them. I find that immoral, heartless, brutal and cruel.
I stressed for many decades that my humble contributions to slow down the armageddon were having little effect and I strove to do better but one consequence of me understanding that we are over the cliff and descending into oblivion is now I am no longer burdened with such a responsibility.
One of the straw man arguments against accepting that collapse is locked in and unfolding is that people will no longer make an effort. I strongly refute that argument. The good people amongst us will do whatever they can, as long as they can, irrespective of the outcome but none of it now will make a dog shit of difference as long as the Military Industrial Complex carries on it’s murderous way prompting any and all independent nations to invest heavily in military equipment and training in a feedback loop of it’s own.
For more on the collapse of complex societies like ours check out Joseph Tainters’ The Collapse of Complex Societies
My personal “Antidote to despair” is to volunteer at the not for profit Rakino Island Nursery where we propagate native plants to re-wild the island. I’ll be surprised if I see any of them grow 1 metre, so much for the accusation that I have given up.
First with civilisation and then with the discovery of fossil fuels our species went down the inevitable cul de sac of extinction. Industrial civilisation is unsustainable in any form, forget the myth of renewables saving us, it’s a great white lie.
Cut the youth some fucking slack, surely they are entitled to that?
I have a monthly show on The Progressive Radio Network called Nature Bats Last, that I have taken over from Professor Guy McPherson. I will continue to chronicle the great unraveling and the attendant insanity until either the lights go out or I quit to maintain my own sanity.
Have a great extinction everyone, it’s been nice knowing you. Very soon the living will envy the dead. The new denier position is to deny early stage runaway. Don’t be the last generation of humans to lie to our youth, they deserve better.