Doesn’t it make you sick? The extractive industries rip fossil fuels from the earth to push toxins through hapless consumers until the long term survival of humanity is a relevant question.
We are all complicit. We’ve learned to ignore our compassionate nature, to sell the precious time we’ve been granted for a lottery chance at opulent greed. We signed the contract and went into debt to take the poison of our own will, but we have the power to boycott, divest, and sanction exploitation.
Too many are in prison or lost in toxic sickness. Some sleep in the streets while houses are empty. Others accept the role of violent suppression, believing the lies of domination and control. None are beyond redemption. We are many and have love on our side. There is nothing more powerful than love.
Corrupt government cannot regulate ruthless corporate killers. If we hope to kick the oil addiction, we’ve got to appeal to a higher power. Our living planet wants us to become fit for the struggle.
Modern American society is the apex of some really disgusting patterns of exploitation. For a couple centuries we’ve been dominating and destroying indigenous cultures to rip resources from the planet at a rate millions of times as fast as the Earth creates them. We fool ourselves into believing that we deserve to consume at this pace, even though it sickens us. The whole USA is analogous to the addict, sucking down oil and other minerals, even as we stare at inevitable self destruction.
And like the addict, we’ve not going down alone. Our closest family, the mammals, will probably suffer the same extinction we pull upon ourselves. Oh, life on Earth will adapt and recover, but the future will not look like the planet upon which we evolved.
This doesn’t have to happen. We have the power to turn our lives around, but we’ve got to start with full acknowledgment of the extent of our addiction. Let’s admit we are powerless and our lives have become unmanageable.
I believe the web of life which sustains us has the power to restore us to sanity if we turn our will and our lives over to the care of our living, loving Earth. We’re going to have to make a searching and fearless moral inventory of ourselves, recognizing the exact nature of the wrongs we do when we consume more than we really need.
When we’re truly ready we can beg the natural earth to teach us how to live. We can make a list of all the creatures we have harmed, beginning with the indigenous cultures we have decimated. Then we can slowly begin to make amends, admitting our mistakes as we go. We can learn to daily commune with our living planet and share it with others who are willing to learn.
Or we can take the easy way, continue to deny our complicity, and burn the planet for our progeny.
How did the first people live in your bioregion? How did your ancestors live? How will our grandchildren live if we don’t change the way we live?
Extraction isn’t working. It’s no longer okay, if it ever was, for whole companies to focus upon pulling things from the earth at a rate millions of times faster than Earth puts them there. It is time to let the scars heal while we learn to live with what we’ve got. Having used the first half of the petroleum over the last couple centuries, we’ve gotten to the point where extraction grows more expensive. It is not fair to ask future generations to pay for our wasteful lives.
We are in a transitional phase. We cannot go back to the ways of the First People, but we can certainly learn from them. We cannot afford to ignorantly continue with the assumptions of industrialization and colonization. Each of us must take responsibility for our choices and respect the choices of others that do no harm. We can support each other in understanding the unseen impacts of our choices, empowering each other to live by our own highest ideals.
Earth has no shortage of energy. We are daily cascaded by a diffusion of sunlight. We are surrounded by green plants who absorb that energy and share it with all life. There are many ways to fit into this healthy system without digging, fracking, and pumping of fossil fuels. We can’t afford to put up with continued production of toxins.
You needn’t become a Luddite to express concern about the excesses of the extractive industries. Recycling is appropriate technology, even though it is an industrial process. Efficient machines built to last make much more sense than cheap, wasteful tools. Building with wood doesn’t have to mean supporting clear cutting, as long as sufficient forests continue to grow.
The problem goes beyond the people who work at jobs that destroy nature, though we certainly encourage those folks to check their alignment with their personal ideals. It reaches to sociopaths in corporate boardrooms who believe others must loose for them to win. How do we help them to see that their fate is interconnected with all humanity, indeed with the whole ecosphere?
The problem extends to the banks that finance extraction and the militaries that impose it. We can see that the corrupt, wealthy few make bad decisions that affect all of us. But how many of us are willing to acknowledge our own role? Is your daily work enhancing life without fueling exploitation? Do you believe that every product you buy was made through a humane, ecologically sensitive method? Do you only pay your bills to those who work for the good?
Nobody is perfect. We’ve all got blood on our hands. But this doesn’t mean we should stop trying to get better. In fact, our responsibility for the problem should drive us to find creative solutions. Every day’s tragic news must impress us with the urgency of immediate action.
Live for the Jubilee, when all debts are canceled, all prisoners released, and everyone, including every soldier, comes home to the place where they belong. We, together, are part of a living, loving planet.
Get fit for the struggle. Grow your own food. Pedal your own bike. Care for your neighbors. Share your vision of a healthy world.