Category Archives: Supposed Superiority of Humans

Selling your Mother…

The title of this  post comes from  a quote in a mini-thesis by  Rafael M Santos (2011) “Ethical  Responsibilities and the Environment’  in  which he notes the Australian Aboriginal  response to  the commodification of land and animals as  “much like putting a price on  your own mother” .

In late February/March of 2017  the Vatican pulled together a Working Group  to  look  at  the current state of the world in  relation to  species extinction and global  warming.

As the Vatican notes; The subject of Pope Francis’ encyclical Laudato Si’ (biodiversity especially its Chapter 2), climate change, is estimated in the latest report of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) to be on a course to destroy 20-40% of all biodiversity on Earth by the end of this century regardless of any other factors, but of course interacting with them. The living fabric of the world, which we are enjoyed in Genesis, Chapter II to protect, is slipping through our fingers without our showing much sign of caring.

Predictably the Vatican discourse continues along a familiar theme ,  how man  should be the “protector’  of all living things  for the purpose of  their usage by  man. As always,  it is our ‘god given  right’  to  subjugate and destroy the other species on  this planet as we see fit. But even the working group  has to  admit;  such  a  philosophy is rapidly leading humans,  as well as the other species on  this planet,  to  extinction.

To  its credit however, the working group has however , finally made the connection between global  warming and  biodiversity and the horrendous impacts  both  outcomes will  have for both humanity and the planet.

Our desire for enhanced consumption grows more rapidly than our population, and Earth cannot sustain it. Nothing less than a reordering of our priorities based on a moral revolution can succeed in maintaining the world in such a way as to resemble the conditions we have enjoyed here.

Somehow we are supposed to believe that  we are  ‘superior  beings’  to all  other species on  this planet;  our ‘intelligence’  and  problem  solving skills are apparently gifts from one or other  god,  and thus proclaim  our right to  sovereignty over ‘nature”. The reality is that  as a species we have demonstrated, over and over,  that  we are extremely limited in  our  selective ‘intelligence’  and an understanding of what  matters, and our capacity to  behave ‘rationally’. Our capacity for self-delusion is enormous.

Our species’   intellectual reasoning is  a hardwired  self-fulfilling congratulatory process that  determines its successes  using its own definition of what  ‘success’ is.   Such  a process is clearly designed to  allow us to  continue to  pat  ourselves on  the back  with  our species’  ‘progress’ and continue to collectively do  what  we have been doing to  this planet  for the past few thousand years ,  while the planet heads ever closer to  massive extinction.

There is however a kind of blind logic to  why  we are progressively destroying the planet  on  which  we stand: an internal circuitous set of arguments that permit all of us to legitimise the insanity of our actions.

As Jackson (2017) notes ‘The tendency to economic growth according to Schnaiberg (1980) is due in part to the competitive character of capitalism, such that corporations and entrepreneurs must continually expand their operations and their profits lest they be swamped by other competitors. On the other hand there is also growth logic within the sphere of the state, as state agencies and officials prefer growth over stagnation in order to ensure tax revenues-the essential fiscal basis of the state  (Redclift and Woodgate 2010). Neither of these two  drivers (corporate competitiveness, and the state’s need for growth, are in  any way  related to  necessity or human  survivability;  they  are essentially “nice to haves’  from a human perspective. We are in  fact  driving the planet  rapidly to  extinction for shiny little baubles of no  value.

What is desperately and urgently needed then,  is the incorporation of what  Jackson  (2017) refers to  as the Biocentrism ethic into  everything we as humans do..
Biocentrism is a life centered attitude towards biological diversity of the environment. The life centered theory posits that all forms of life have an inherent right to exist. It considers nature and all forms of life special in itself. Nature has intrinsic value or inherent worth apart from human appropriation. Biocentrism hence advocates for the preservation of the environment and all life forms free from human intervention. 

Do  we have the collective wisdom as a  species to  stop  destroying this planet, to  understand how our commodification of the world we live in is destroying all  of us, to  begin  to  undo  the  incredible destruction we have wrought on  our fellow species in  such  a short space of time ,  and most fundamentally, to begin  to  respect  all  other creatures as our equals?


Links

What Is Animal Liberation? Philosopher Peter Singer’s Groundbreaking Work Turns 40

http://www.pas.va/content/accademia/en/events/2017/extinction.html

http://www.pas.va/content/accademia/en/publications/scriptavaria/extinction.html

https://www.researchgate.net/profile/Jackson_Jack2/publication/319422926_ENVIRONMENT_AND_SOCIETY/links/59a96843a6fdcc2398416572/ENVIRONMENT-AND-SOCIETY.pdf

https://archive.org/details/EthicalResponsibilitiesToAnimalsAndTheEnvironment

http://www.robertlanzabiocentrism.com/biocentrism-wikipedia/

https://www.bioversityinternational.org/fileadmin/user_upload/online_library/Mainstreaming_Agrobiodiversity/Mainstreaming_Agrobiodiversity_Sustainable_Food_Systems_WEB.pdf

Biocentrism / Robert Lanza’s Theory of Everything

Global Footprint Network

http://fewd.univie.ac.at/fileadmin/user_upload/inst_ethik_wiss_dialog/Llorente__R._2009_P._Singers_AL_in_Ethical_Perspectives.pdf

 

The Last Stand for Our Survival

While multinational mining companies and other entities continue to  plunder   the remains of our natural  resources on  this planet,  we are rapidly heading towards environmental  disaster.

Recent heatwaves in southern Europe are just one of almost countless  signs that our inexorable path to  global heat (not warming) will lead to  much of the earth  being un-liveable-  not just  for humans but also  for the other species that  we rely on  for our survival  on  this planet.

Our blind stupidity as a species, our incapacity to  plan for anything more than the next year or two,  combined with our capacity to  inflict  horrendous damage to  the  eco-systems that give us all  life, are rapidly, and ever more speedily,  pushing us down the path to  oblivion.

Those remaining indigenous cultures that have not been sucked into  the collective  insanity of the human ‘progress’  meme,  are being actively imprisoned and murdered because they stand in  the way of more profits for multinational  companies. One wonders where exactly those muti-national  board members will  run  to  when  their gold is literally too  hot to handle?

In the United States there is even  debate as to  whether the U.S. Trump  administration will  ‘accept’  the recent Draft of the 2017 ‘Climate Change Report’, such is the insanity that prevails;  not just in  the United States but across the word where governments are locked into  close relationships with the business sector that is destroying the planet in  the name of progress.

There appears to  be  no  capacity to  change our direction of increasing species destruction and increasing production of carbon  dioxide and the  other climate  change accelerants,  despite the hype generated at  the voluntary  Paris Accords.

It is of course  not surprising that  the U.S.  president  has rescinded the United States willingness to  implement the Paris Accord. In a country  where all  government policy  is, and always has been , sold to  the highest bidder,  the coal  industry won out!

We know that  ‘global fossil fuel emissions grew by 0.7% in 2014, then held steady in 2015. Provisional data for 2016 predict a very small rise, of just 0.2%.’ This tiny decline, or possible small  increase, may be  more attributable to  the decline in  the global  ‘economy’ (reductions in  coal use and cement production)  rather than  any active intent to  reduce emissions;  although  changes in  electrical  production  using  so-called renewable energy have  also  have played a part. In reality, renewable energy  products place huge demands in  different ways on  the environment.

However it’s important to bear in  mind that  while we have not seen  a significant increase in  the amount of CO2 production globally,  we have not seen a  decrease-  the amount  of CO2  being pumped in to  the atmosphere is now about 9.9 billion tonnes  per year….More than  enough to continue ratcheting up global  temperatures at  an increasing rate for centuries to  come,  when  we take into  account   both  the immediate impacts of increased temperatures and the slower impacts of  the capacity for CO2 storage in  our oceans, soil   and plants ( which  are rapidly declining in  global  volume)  steadily decreasing..

We are quite simply ,  not a fit species to  be entrusted with  the  future of this planet.

When the supposed ‘greatest  nation on  earth’  behaves like a child bully in  the playground and threatens  nuclear war on  all  and sundry;  when  ecological  devastation is not even  taken into  consideration as we  plunder  the planet, and its once multitudinous living things   for our little shiny baubles, then  we know we have lost our way-  irremediably..


Links

http://www.telesurtv.net/english/news/Indigenous-Women-Led-Environmental-Struggle-in-2016-20161226-0019.html?

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Paris_Agreement

http://www.atree.org/earthday_2017_secre