Friday, March 2, 2012

Crisis Hits the General Consciousness - 50 years late.

Could this article in The Guardian be the mainstream media finally using the language that scientists and authors have been using for decades? This is the language that I have been reading in books written over the last 25 years and, I suspect, the language that scared the crap out of my parents when they read Rachel Carson's "Silent Spring" in 1962.

Celebrated scientists and development thinkers today warn that civilisation is faced with a perfect storm of ecological and social problems driven by overpopulation, overconsumption and environmentally malign technologies.

In the face of an "absolutely unprecedented emergency", say the 18 past winners of the Blue Planet prize – the unofficial Nobel for the environment – society has "no choice but to take dramatic action to avert a collapse of civilisation. Either we will change our ways and build an entirely new kind of global society, or they will be changed for us".

Real scientists (not the kind that claim "Cigarettes won't hurt you" and "There is no such thing as man-made climate change") have been using this language to talk about the gathering storm of crises for many years. They have also been paying the price with their freedom to speak if they were unlucky enough to be working for the governments of industrialized countries.

Mainsteam news media, depending as they do on corporate advertizing for their revenue, have also never dared to use this language even though we depend on them to be the wordsmiths of our stream of knowledge.

So we are also faced with a crisis of self-induced ignorance which is bolstered by our elected 'leaders' and their corporate patrons and which goes un-countered by those we look to for our window on the world. This leaves us singularly unprepared to take action as we begin to realize that we are facing the most devastating destruction that the human species has witnessed and that it is largely of our own doing.

Deep inside, knowledgeable people are aware of impending catastrophe but seem transfixed in time and space and unable to speak or act. They must understand that continuing to support and live the status quo is simply deferring the inevitable and transferring the consequences of our actions to our descendants; not much of a legacy to give our grandchildren is it?

There are things that we can do as individuals. First and foremost, we can make ourselves aware of the facts, of what needs to be done and how to do it. We can also take every opportunity to insist that our political leaders, educators, journalists, family, friends and neighbours understand (as opportunities present themselves). This last part is important as talking when we should be listening is not only ineffective, but counter-productive. Under extreme circumstances, it can also get you a punch in the nose!

There are many organizations that promote awareness and organize action against the worst of the negative influences in society. By joining these and taking an active part, a person takes risks ranging from getting cold and wet to getting pepper sprayed, tear gassed, rubber bulleted and arrested. Refusing to take ANY risk is simply accepting the status quo but you can certainly pick the level of risk you are comfortable with. If you are more concerned with your social status than the survival of the human species, stay home and be a part of the problem instead of the solution.

MY WEBSITE   —   ANewHumanity.CA



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