Carbon Pollution and Human Attitudes

August 9, 2013

While we wrangle, in mass media and private conversation, with the need to reduce the amount of carbon being pumped into the atmosphere and oceans, a bigger picture problem with the human attitude to the rest of nature almost always gets lost in a wash of white noise.

The attitude of humanity – or at least the dominant paradigm of those rich enough to become distanced from the cycles of organic life, as well as those desperate to catch up with them – remains one of arrogance towards the earth. We treat it as a resource for our own benefit, right now, in this life and body and timeframe. This is the negative side of the drive to capture the moment, to live for the now – we are trained to do so in a way that compromises the very things that support life for all creatures, for the long term.

Do we need to reduce the carbon we are releasing into the atmosphere and oceans? Undoubtedly. But this is also part of a bigger problem, with a deep-set cause that is hardly being addressed in the ‘big story’ at all. We treat the earth like dirt (irony intended). We overfarm and douse the soil with chemicals, and cram animals into cruel pens and force feed them steroids and hormones, to create greater supplies and stores. We slash rainforests for new crops. We dam rivers and build cities and roads and make faster cars and sit back in our climate-controlled lounges and watch the show. Unfortunately, we are all part of this. I’m doing it too (or at least profiting from such activities whether i like it or not), when i’m not wearing my activist cape and actively working towards a healthier future.

The bigger picture is that we act as if the earth doesn’t matter. Carbon is a terrifyingly important part of this and we should rightly be arguing about it (and preferably limiting its action as a poison). But behind all the noise lurks a human race that will continue to trash the joint even if we fix the carbon problem. I’m for transformation of human consciousness to a more ecologically harmonious setting – or nothing. And i fear that equation may be taken literally.


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