Here is another piece about climate catastrophe and species extinction. Before you read it just a short introduction about the context. I am presently writing about climate change and species extinction. Like Covid, it is never out of the news and many of us get a bit weary listening to the arguments.
Nevertheless let’s take the bull by the horns. Many commentators think that run-away capitalism is a historical cause of the present crisis. Think of the destructive effects of the Industrial Revolution! Decades ago people like EF Schumacher argued that something more ‘humane’ had to replace mere economic growth and global competition. That he included spiritual and ethical components in his vision is evidenced throughout his seminal book, Small is Beautiful. Here is one short quote:
But what is wisdom? Where can it be found? It can be read about in numerous publications but it can be found only inside oneself. To be able to find it, one has first to liberate oneself from such masters as greed and envy. The stillness following liberation – even if only momentary – produces the insights of wisdom which are obtainable in no other way. [p30/31 in the paperback edition]
There is tentative cause for optimism today. Many of us agree with Schumacher, who wrote his book in 1973. David Almond, the internationally renowned fiction writer for young people talks about ‘re-wilding the self.’ Others debate how we can rewild the natural environment and restore denuded habitats. Hopefully, the younger generation will reject the allure of material riches in favour of a more equitable, ecologically aware society.
It is perhaps too easy to point the finger of blame at The Enlightenment of the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries, but I have taken up the baton for the purposes of my own piece here.
If anyone is interested further, I can recommend a few books which in different ways address these topics. [Recently The Wildlife Trust (in the UK) had an online discussion with five eco-writers which I tuned into.]
The Case For The Defence
Okay, I admit it; I killed you but so what?
In the grand scheme of things
you really didn’t amount to much.
It’s not as if you had claws, roared
or became an emblem of a multi-national
fossil fuel business.
It’s time to clear up a few false impressions;
to set the record straight. My aim is to enlighten.
I adored the guys who shored up my Enlightened
edifice with philosophical musings. They lent kudos
when it mattered; they were cool, unlike your Romantics
with their subjective rants. For example, their talk
about a rose still being a rose by another name. Yet
they prefer Mother Earth instead of a medium sized planet
orbiting an average star.
They’re very fond of their Red Lists aren’t they but
remember I helped to split a rainbow into wavelengths.
I weighed and measured my words in a chemical balance.
The conquest of nature was my invention so they shouldn’t
make false claims of ownership. I was proud
of how I assembled the earth’s bountiful produce;
I knew the time was right to export my Light
worldwide. I shrugged off their Lucifer insult.
I resented their finger-pointing from the start;
how they tried to make me feel guilt and shame.
My rigid grids were not prisons as they allege.
My ecological abuse was for their benefit; my compulsive
divisions were a set of oppressive rules devised to help
you grow and develop at your own pace. Your organic gardeners
should welcome warmer winters even if you don’t. They shouldn’t
appropriate my language as in ‘dysfunctional mechanisms,’
‘greenhouse effect’ or ‘run away feedback loops.’
So, I hold my hands up. I ask, ‘weren’t you just a snack for a bat?’
Weren’t you somewhat insignificant in spite of your name?
You can’t complain; having four stages of a life-cycle’s
asking for trouble. I guess no garden tiger will be ‘burning bright’
in years to come. No, you won’t be missed. Perhaps no will even notice.