Predicaments Lack Solutions

One of the penalties of an ecological education is that one lives alone in a world of wounds. Much of the damage inflicted on land is quite invisible to laymen. An ecologist must either harden his shell and make believe that the consequences of science are none of his business, or he must be the doctor who sees the marks of death in a community that believes itself well and does not want to be told otherwise.
~ Aldo Leopold

As “the doctor who sees the marks of death in a community that believes itself well and does not want to be told otherwise,” I’m fed up with ridiculous “solutions.” Climate change is a predicament, not a problem. If there were a solution, I believe the people pulling the levers of industry would know about it. I don’t believe they enjoy the prospect of human extinction.

Civilization is responsible for life-destroying, abrupt climate change. Turning off civilization kills us all faster. If this seems like a Catch-22, you’ve got it figured out.

I’m not suggesting that correctly identifying the predicament leads to a solution. It doesn’t. Predicaments don’t have solutions.

As I’ve pointed out previously in this space, the exceedingly unlikely chance of there being a human on Earth in nine years will have that person being hungry, thirsty, lonely, and bathing in ionizing radiation. Every day will be more tenuous than the day before, as is already the case for most organisms on this planet. Habitat for human animals might return in a few million years, although this outcome seems very unlikely. Humans will not.

I promote and practice a gift economy and, with very few exceptions, it’s a one-way street. To employ the language of Daniel Quinn, takers outnumber leavers.
I no longer expect better from humans, even those I know well. Civilization will kill us all, and it has already destroyed the ethical character of most people I’ve known. As a result, people generally believe what they want to believe, evidence notwithstanding.

Principled actions are the bane of civilization. No bad deed goes unrewarded.

We are all products of our genetics and our personal history. These attributes dictate who we are, but they need not limit us. I appreciate, although I can never fully understand, that some people have experienced abuse or other horrors. But those horrors need not come up in every conversation to explain contemporary shortcomings. Many adults abused as children share with graduates of the University of California at Berkeley the need to share the experience with everybody they meet, typically within the first 10 minutes. I understand and appreciate our near-absence of free will. And I understand, better than most people, the shackles of imperialism.

There are still things I don’t understand. And apparently there remain a few people I’ve yet to offend. Ergo, this essay, which includes a few examples from among many.

Politics remains my favorite brand of lunacy. The supporter of any politician remains my favorite brand of lunatic. Reliance on politics to solve an insoluble predicament created by the omnicidal heat engine of civilization is bizarre. Politicians transfer money, typically from people who have little money to people who have a lot of it, while blaming others. Believing your favorite politician will address any of your concerns is naively cute. As I’ve pointed out previously, the system is not broken, it is fixed. And it’s not fixed for you or me.

The prostletizing vegan remains high on my list of misguided “fix-it” solutionistas. Living in the world of should, rather than reality, religious acolytes of veganism first try to convince me a planetary change in human diets will prevent runaway climate change. They say it’ll save us. When I point out it’s too late for that, they change course. Now, they say, veganism will save me. I’m fine, thanks. Please keep your salvation to yourself.

Veganism, sometimes called “a way of being” by true believers, is no solution at any level. Claiming compassion via dietary preference — although many vegans go beyond the realm of dietary preference and into the realm of religion — is delusional when the diet is vegan. And delusion is exactly what I’ve come to expect from a dumbed-down, willfully ignorant populace. Particularly galling is the inability to understand the extreme environmental cost of veganism.

There is no free lunch. Moving down the food web shifts the impact rather than reducing it. Eating a diet rich in soy, grains, fruits, and nuts increases and exacerbates agricultural intensification. The example of genetically modified soy destroying essentially every terrestrial form of life on Earth is not sufficiently convincing to the typical prostletizing vegan. California’s Central Valley milked dry for almonds is not sufficiently convincing to the typical prostletizing vegan. Among the other costs obvious to ecologists and ignored by prostletizing vegans: organisms that depend upon the rapidly vanishing grasslands and savannas of the world. Apparently no evidence is sufficiently convincing to true believers of Veganism.

The typical prostletizing vegan will claim she doesn’t eat many grains, the large-scale production and distribution of which are fundamental to propping up civilization. Such a self-absorbed response makes approximately as much sense as the notion that my walking away from imperialism will terminate imperialism. I did. It didn’t. The prostletizing vegan could learn from my failure. But I doubt she will. And the defenseless plants know they are being eaten.

Veganism is the flip side of eating flesh for every meal. At least the meat-eaters know what they are killing: It’s on the plate. Vegans who deny their murderous diets are still responsible for the damage: Ignorance of the crime being committed is no defense. Using dietary preference to maintain the omnicidal heat engine of civilization is disingenuous at best. Don’t even get me started on the polluted ocean resulting from a vegan diet.

Holistic Resource Management offered by snake-oil salesman Allan Savory is yet another faux solution lapped up by the ignorant masses. I’ve been pointing out Savory’s silliness since my days as a researcher in graduate school. I filed an overview in this space more than four years ago.

I’m fed up with magical thinking, too. They — whomever they are — are not trying to kill us with “chemtrails”. If they are trying to kill us with chemtrails — and they are not — then they are failing badly. We add more than 200,000 people to the planet every day, births minus deaths. If they are trying to positively influence the weather with chemtrails — and they are not — then they are failing badly.

Killing us is easy: War has worked nicely at every point in history. Civilized humans fall for that trick every time. We’re easy to goad into hating an “other.” Any “other” will do, for most of us, most of the time. No “chemtrails” needed.

Enough with the books, too. I don’t doubt your book has all the answers, but I don’t have time to review it before it’s published. I don’t have time to read it after it’s published, either. I simply don’t have time. I’m with author and teacher Jack Kornfield on this one, with a line frequently, incorrectly attributed to the Buddha: “The trouble is, you think there’s time.”

All of the above applies to your film, too. And your workshop. And your philosophy. And your favorite brand of meditation. And your hemp. And, for that matter, every conceivable combination of every imaginable “solution.”

I’ve actually pondered my place in the universe. I don’t doubt your sincerity, but I sincerely doubt you can put much of a dent in my world view. You’re a few decades too late for that.

I really don’t mind your dietary choices, your politics, or your perspective on any topic. I just don’t want your perspective pushed into my world. Jehovah’s Witnesses are welcome in my world. Prostletizing Jehovah’s Witnesses are not welcome. Ditto for anybody else prostletizing about anything else.

I’m open to new information, as long as it’s grounded in reality. If your “solution” violates the Laws of Thermodynamics, please make sure it is approved by U.S. Patent Office before you send it my way.

Comments 6

  • Well Guy, this essay will certainly kick up some dust here in the comments section.
    Let the games begin, and thanks for reopening the comments page.

  • Thank you Guy. Sending you a link to our music page…we have always offered it to people for free.


    Roy & Daphne

  • But if we start right now…how about free range, gluten free, no hidden relationship popsciles?

  • Vegans do not get it, and I don’t get that. It’s obvious that if you shop in a grocery store, vegan or not, you require industrial agriculture, industrial transportation, distribution centers, packaging, roads or trains and their associated development, and stores and parking lots and all their attendant energy and environmental damage.

    I’ve had moments where the intellectual and feeling shortcomings of most human beings didn’t bother me, I still had my peace. But most of the time it’s deeply painful to encounter, and it has been for a really long time.

  • Why is nine years, specifically, the expectation for extinction?

  • NM, please see my essay in this space posted 1 August 2016