Over at the G20 summit in Rio this year, the watchword is apparently growth.
Big countries and bigger companies are pressing for ways to re-start or enliven the economies around the world.
What a sad thought – that we are still so blind as to think that growth can continue forever.
Perhaps the big countries and bigger companies have forgotten this one law of growth here upon the earth plane: it is always finite. Unchecked growth is what we call a cancer, people. For gods’ sakes.
Our man-on-the-ground in Rio this year is Charlie Veitch, watching the multinationals tuck their serviettes into their collars in anticipation of a further feast.
The thing is this: I would be all in favour of a gentler, kinder way of changing the way humans live upon the Earth. I think many people are. But it seems increasingly unlikely that humanity is going to have a soft landing.
One of the commentators on Charlie’s blog says:
“If a tree needs to be chopped down to feed a child or house a family then too bad, sure they look nice, but sorry tree you are going to have to go.”
How can I tell you how wrong this is, and how may I count the many ways in which it is wrong?
Firstly, it places humans ineluctably higher than other living beings, such as trees. Well, what kind of a stupid premise is that?
I can tell you – it’s Derrick Jensen’s Premise Five: “The property of those higher on the hierarchy is more valuable than the lives of those below. It is acceptable for those above to increase the amount of property they control—in everyday language, to make money—by destroying or taking the lives of those below. This is called production. If those below damage the property of those above, those above may kill or otherwise destroy the lives of those below. This is called justice.”
Four times 13 years have I lived in this culture, and I can tell you that that is just how most of us see the world – as a resource for the growth of just this one species. I think the ancient Greeks had a word for that – hubris. And we know how it was punished.
As much as I could wish that there were some easier, softer way out of this self-wrought tragedy, I have to say that I haven’t seen a good working plan of it yet in over half a century. It always comes down to wealth, power and privilege for the few, and death and extinction for the many.
Not that death is, like, bad or anything -on the contrary it is as necessary as birth. But, to mangle Alice Walker: “If death was all…”
Tell me this, oh you who wish to cut down a tree to shelter a needy human family – just how do we tend our hurting, heal our sick and feed our hungry without the web of all Life which makes up this planet?
How does one species continue to grow endlessly within a closed system? It doesn’t.
I will not be rejoicing at the coming loss of human life. Far from it – I shall be sat in this corner, weeping. But I am also a Shaman, a Priestess of this Earth, and a realist. Millions are going to hurt badly -let’s make it millions, not every single living being in the Web. And, of course, the Web itself.
Hilarious Pic: courtesy of keyote