Saving the Gains
Saving the Gains of Civilization and Nature is the mission of Integrative Activism. The choice of wording is deliberate and reflects more precisely what our collective perspective should be considering the state of world circumstances. It is also a paradigm shift for most people. Paradigm shifts are one of the most powerful leverage points to effect change within a system according to Donnella Meadows.
It is now the beginning of September and we are all struggling with the Corona virus pandemic. Everyone just wants to get back to normal, but that's not really an option. The old normal was driving us to points of collapse with overpopulation, over consumption of natural resources, growing inequalities, environmental degradation, climate crisis, political destabilizations and the ongoing sixth mass extinction. We desperately need to do better and a new big picture perspective is essential to establishing better, more sustainable ways of life. We in the developed world have been spoiled and we're going to have to make some sacrifices. That's not something that people want to hear, read or acknowledge, but it's the truth. The truth is that that we can't have it all, but what we have to sacrifice really isn't all that bad. We don't need a lot of the stuff that we have become addicted to consuming and acquiring through the misguided beliefs that they contribute to our enduring well-being and happiness.
May we listen to Cree wisdom...Only when the last tree has been cut, the last fish caught, the last stream poisoned will we learn that we cannot eat money
The Gains and Losses of Nature
Let’s be perfectly clear about what is happening now and what that means for the future. Right now the extinction rate for species is about 1,000 times faster than the natural or background rate of extinction. That amounts to roughly 200 species becoming extinct every day. We are now in the early stage of this planet’s sixth mass extinction event. It took more than 60 million years for nature to evolve the rich diversity of life from which our species emerged about 200,000 years ago.
Some people shrug and say that species have gone extinct throughout the history of this planet and think it’s no big deal. They won’t be so glib if they are here when the food chain collapses and billions of people perish. Some people say that humans are like a virus or a cancer and the world will be better without us. That may be true, but humanity has caused the present crisis of the biosphere and humans are the only chance to mitigate the damage, unless there is an intervention by an alien race or a deity but let’s not count on that happening.
The present extinction crisis is even more under-reported than the climate crisis. These are the most important stories in history. Unfortunately, most people are completely unaware that the sixth mass extinction has even begun. If you’d like to learn more, a simple search will yield ample information or you can utilize the links and resources found throughout this site.
The Gains of Civilization
Civilization as we have known it has only existed for about five or ten thousand years according to conventional archeology. Most of us enjoy the gains of progress which include written languages, cultivated foods and an array of technological wonders. Many civilizations have flourished before collapse and we are only now beginning to understand why and how they disappeared.
Today we face an unprecedented variety of threats to our civilization; climate change, diminishing resources, overpopulation through the uses of fossil fuels for unsustainable food production, accumulating environmental degradation and toxicity, pandemics, as well as the possible political and economic destabilization that can easily lead to conflicts such as war and even nuclear war.
The unfortunate and uncomfortable reality is that we are loosing many of the gains of nature at an alarmingly dangerous rate. We simply can’t save it all. The big question is whether we can save enough, quickly enough, to prevent the complete collapse of civilization and the possible extinction of our species. We also know that the lifestyles of the developed countries are unsustainably produced and we’re going to have to give up some of the luxuries we now enjoy. We’re going to have to make some difficult choices and some sacrifices, voluntarily, or a series of unfolding and unfortunate events will strip them from us.
So there it is, the truth laid bare. Whether we are aware or not, the only sane and rational mission for humanity now, is to strive to save as many of the gains provided by civilization and nature as we possibly can. We can easily live without so many plastic bags, toys, trinkets and disposable stuff, but life and civilization can’t.
Hopefully, that simple perspective, that paradigm shift, will help us to focus our ambitions to work for what really matters. The words here were written with love, a love of life, and with hope that love and life may continue on this precious planet, our only home. The fate of so much lies in our hearts and our heads, may they be true.
Timelines and Rates of Collapse
It’s impossible to predict when and how quickly things will occur, but we can glean some insights and learn a few lessons from the past, near and far. For example, we have an abundance of research regarding the previous five mass extinctions. Those events span a considerable amount of time, thousands of years. The recent research unfortunately indicates that the present rate of extinctions exceeds anything in the past.
The collapse of civilizations is less documented and researched for various reasons that will not be addressed at this moment. What we do know is that civilizations have risen and collapsed repeatedly through humanity’s history and prehistory. It is evident that the collapse of civilizations happen relatively abruptly.
The corona virus pandemic has given us peek at the fragility of our present systems. Think about toilet paper, PPE and reagents required for testing. Yes, we live in a globalized economy that is obviously prone to breakdowns of supply chains. The present pandemic has motivated many to grow some of their own food. As a result, canning jars are in short supply and the backlog for production is at least four months.
Growing some of your own food is great, but if you lack the means to preserve the fruits of your labor the yields become greatly diminished.
There are quite a few supply shortages due to the pandemic and it would be wise to realize that this pandemic is still in its early stage and other pandemics could emerge at any time. Some of the goods in short supply such as; toys, games, movies, coins, vaping devices and t-shirts aren’t so bad, but auto parts, electronics, foods, freezers and refrigerators and medicines can be really big problems.
The world’s supply of fish stocks are nearing collapse and scientists predict that all fish stock will collapse within 50 years. That’s not going to be a pretty scene. Add in the inevitable crop losses from not so natural disasters and shortages of pollinators, it is easy to project that we will witness a billion people or billions of people dying from starvation within the lifetimes of those who are alive today.
Imagining the horrors to come isn’t a pleasant exercise, but it is a moral imperative. It is completely irresponsible to simply ignore the consequences of our actions, or lack thereof, the the younger generations.
We could go on into greater detail about the very real horrors and tragedies that will inevitably happen, but once we realize the magnitude of the perils, it is far better to focus on the mitigating solutions. So let’s get to it. Integrative Charities is probably the best place to start, so just click here.