Annihilating the Natural World

Annihilating the Natural World
This post was published on the now-closed HuffPost Contributor platform. Contributors control their own work and posted freely to our site. If you need to flag this entry as abusive, send us an email.
Siberian tiger (Panthera tigris altaica) and her cub now in the Buffalo Zoo, endangered species. Photo: Wikipedia commons.

A successful business strategy of global corporations is to buy politicians and scientists to legitimize and protect their products. Second, they maintain political dominance at home and abroad by keeping the world in turmoil. They do that by bribing politicians who globalize corporate economic and consumption models -- and fight wars for petroleum and other resources.

The tobacco industry became the paradigm of covering up the harm of their product by recruiting Hollywood, the media, lobbyists and advertisers. Lobbyists purchased federal and state politicians.

The chemical industry even outsmarted the tobacco companies. Its lobbyists and scientists drafted the laws “regulating” petrochemicals and other synthetic chemicals. The result is chemical companies “test” their own products.

Equally harmful to public health and the natural world is the political noise dominating the media. War in 2017 is like traffic accidents. It has been on the public policy agenda of America for several decades. From small and major wars in Latin America and Southeast Asia (Vietnam, Laos, Cambodia) in the decades of the 1960s to 1980s, to bombing Yugoslavia in the 1990s, to large-scale wars in the twenty-first century in Afghanistan and the Middle East, the United States has been transformed into a permanent war economy and culture.

In 2017, we have had an almost new phenomenon of trivia becoming one with perpetual wars. This is the phenomenon of Donald Trump, the casino, real estate, and golf course owner, who is the president of the United States.

Trump came wrapped up in deep ignorance of the environment. His appointments at the Environmental Protection Agency and his environmental policies are an unmitigated disaster. Trump was also full of sleaze: not merely because of his shameful remarks against women and questionable business ethics, but, primarily, because of his connections, real and imagined, to Russia.

Media are thoroughly obsessed with Russia. It’s like a second cold war. The media act as propaganda machines. They report hour by hour the doings of Trump and his royal-like family, reporting Trump’s tweets and movements and sayings, no matter how silly or irrelevant.

Did Putin’s electronic wizards interfere in the 2016 presidential election on the side of Trump? Democrats say, yes, Putin’s cyberspace warriors attacked American democracy. Republicans and Trump question and reject the Democrats’ assumptions.

The problem for me, however, transcends any real or hypothetical meddling of Russia in America’s politics. I am not so concerned not because I support Trump – far from it. As I see it, all the attention on Russia (like the superficial attention on war and terrorism) hides the crimes of global corporations against the natural world and public health: air, water, and land are being poisoned while we fight over this gossip or “fake” story. In other words, our future is being often defaced, nay deleted, daily and we, like prisoners in Plato’s cave pay attention to the well-funded shadow theater in front of us.

This official theater is a gilded operation of the ruling business class to disempower and harm everybody else, especially the environmentalists. This is no exaggeration.

At home, factory farming and its sprays and genetic engineering of crops are altering the very nature of our food and agriculture. Giant companies are converting rural America to their private fiefdom.

Where is a bird, monarch butterfly or honeybee supposed to find food when thousands upon thousands of acres of land are growing bioengineered corn or soybeans and poisons flood the land? Walk in rural America and see if you can find and distinguish a family farmer from a plantation.

Abroad and at home, the world is getting hot. Global warming is melting the frozen world. A gigantic piece of ice weighing probably more than one trillion tons broke from Antarctica and is now floating in the sea.

The man-made global warming does more harm than break up Antarctica. It disrupts the natural world and, like giant agriculture, it’s one of the drivers of the melting away of life on the planet.

Gerardo Ceballos (National Autonomous University of Mexico), Paul R. Ehrlich and Rodolfo Dirzo (Stanford university), distinguished biologists, speak of a severe sixth mass extinction wiping out countless vertebrate animals (mammals, birds, reptiles, and amphibians) and plants. Indeed, they emphasize the seriousness of the destruction of animals going on all over the world by speaking about the population extinction pulse, that is, biological annihilations of vertebrate animals caused by human activities. These economic activities include taking forests and land away from animals for plantations and fracking the land for petroleum and natural gas and for golf courses and mega cities; overexploitation of land, forests, mountains, deserts; overfishing the seas; ceaseless poisoning of the environment. Disease, human overpopulation, continuing population growth, overconsumption, particularly by the rich, and a probable “large-scale nuclear war” also threaten the natural world.

These scientists warn that planetary destruction of vertebrate animals “will itself promote cascading catastrophic effects on ecosystems, worsening the annihilation of nature… while the biosphere is undergoing mass species extinction, it is also being ravaged by a much more serious and rapid wave of population declines and extinctions…. Humanity will eventually pay a very high price for the decimation of the only assemblage of life that we know of in the universe.”

It’s these reasons that explain the idiocy of the present political controversies, which give cover to the pollution of the world, indeed, the undermining and holocaust of life in this beautiful Earth.

Scientists must rise and, with all thinking people, must fight for a livable world. Bring universities to this fight. The “anthropogenic extirpation and decimation” of vertebrate animals must cease. We must change our economic thinking and celebrate smaller human populations, solar energy, and non-polluting organic small-scale farms and non-polluting small industries. Plastic, and especially plastic water bottles, must be outlawed. Clean up the seas from plastic pollution.

We don’t have much time to stop attacking biodiversity and make the paradigm shift to save our civilization. Ceballos, Ehrlich and Dirzo give humanity “two or three decades at most.”

Popular in the Community


What's Hot