Wednesday, December 21, 2005

ANWR and the future

ANWR saved yet again!

back and forth, back and forth.

the struggle over ANWR --- oil reserve or a last bastion of pristine wildlands? --- continues to rage in the hearts and minds of many americans. I think now it begins to take on a new cast: no more merely (!) a symbol of the american environmental movement, ANWR has become a greater symbol still, of how we, as human stewards of the planet, intend to proceed, given our rapacious proclivities. The battle is no longer between resources and wildlands, it's now a matter of human nature's plodding status quo versus a new paradigm for our inclusion and participation in the cosmos.

I was raised around the dawn of the "modern" environmental movement, shortly after Rachel Carson's seminal work, Silent Spring, was published*. my parents were "environmentalists", especially my father, and I came to see humankind's expansion and domination of the natural world as a kind of virulent blight. I believed that "man" didn't belong in nature, that we should stay out of its way and watch with awe and wonder from the "outside". it wasn't until many years later--- rather recently, in fact--- that I stumbled upon the forest-for-the-trees obvious notion that we are, in fact, inseparable from "nature"; that the two things--- all things under heaven, in earth, actually--- are one and the same. you can no more take humankind "out" of nature than you can take death from life. the "natural world" is a unity.

which is why it's at once hideously disturbing and uncannily fascinating that we should continue our headlong race toward oblivion through the present rampant consumption and destruction of our own flesh and blood. I keep wondering if this bizarre death march is a sign of The End Times that the fundies keep wailing about. I mean, I think these people are somewhat disturbed, or at best shockingly unoriginal thinkers and laughably gullible wackos; but still, our plunge toward the abyss makes me wonder.

evidence of the lemming-like quality of our drive toward ecoannihilation comes in the form of the oil industry's (and their purchased congresspeople's) stubborn push for ANWR drilling rights. if I am to understand correctly, if drilling were approved today, it would take up to ten years to begin sending oil south, and the estimates of the reserve are in the neighborhood of six months at current u.s. consumption levels. why go to all that trouble when we could just conserve that amount now, with easily enacted measures--- and still retain the wildlands of ANWR? the answer is profit for a few, of course. how can these people put these two things in a scale-- environmental destruction and personal profit-- and come up favoring profit? of course, they don't put these two things in a scale. they keep blinders on to prevent the madness that would surely result if they had true awareness of the long-term, pervasive effects of their profit-motivated actions.

once more the clarion call: stop waiting for your leaders to lead. they aren't your leaders anyway-- most of them belong to monied interests. it's time we lead the way toward sustainability. for me, the choice is easy: sustainability or preventable apocalypse. this ain't rocket science, folks; it is, however, a paradigm shift, and that can be hard work.

let's roll up our sleeves.


* was DDT's supposed environmental harm a lie? is it, ironically, the falsely accused poster child of the new environmental movement? please read this brief paper and see if you can answer.


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