30 August 2009

Stop Worrying about the Environment



I wish folks would take a deep breath and stop worrying about the devastation we are working on the environment. Sheez! It is all blather and a lot of it. The coming market in carbon credits or whatever it is? Give me a break. So much uselessness.

The fundamental misconception of these people wringing their hands over the state of the environment is this. They regard Mother Earth. . .Madre Tierra in Spanish—isn't that beautiful? . . .they regard Mother Earth as some weak, defenseless, piddling thing that we are bullying, as if we could. The truth of the matter is quite the contrary.

Mother Earth possesses massive, almost inconceivable, powers of self-defense. The reason that it may appear otherwise to us is that those powers of self-defense operate over geologic time. If there is anything that is difficult for human beings, and apparently doubly so for environmentalists, it is thinking in terms of geologic time.

What we have wrought on the environment of Mother Earth is already irreversible in the very near term. Any moron can see that. But the near term is not the point. Eventually, a devastated Mother Earth will fumigate itself and shuffle off this infestation of human beings. I do not pretend to know the precise device that Mother Earth will employ. Perhaps the plague. Perhaps mass starvation. Perhaps we will simply drown in our own shit. Once we are gone, however, Mother Earth can begin to cleanse herself. I mean for chrissakes, water and air do not disappear. They are just a little filthy right now.

The atmosphere will ever so slowly reconstitute itself and climates will stabilize. Then the big reforestation can begin, perhaps not in the Amazon basin because of continental drift but somewhere, maybe around a newly tropical Peoria. New species of animals—fish, fowl, and otherwise--will originate to replace those that we have exterminated.

All that will remain of human beings will be a very thin, sooty stratum riddled with microscopic pieces of plastic bottles and tiny fragments of heavy metals there amid all the strata in the earth's crust. If the stratum marking the era of the dinosaurs is three meters thick, for example, our era will be memorialized in a stratum around a millimeter thick. There is a beautiful little side benefit to all this, also. When that time comes, who is going to care that you personally fucked up a time or two?

And when that sooty little stratum is buried deep in the crust, up on the surface of Mother Earth will be a lush, redolent carpet of new growth forests becoming old growth forest populated with a delightfully diverse collection of new animal species—until, that is, one of those fuckin' animals goes out of control, in which case the whole fumigation and cleansing process of Mother Earth will start all over again. And with the same results by the way. So do not be concerned about that either.

I promise you. You need not worry. Do not buy into that defeatist environmentalist crap. Stop hugging that tree. You look silly. Kick back and relax and try to think in terms of geologic time. Join the Republican Party and turn that thermostat back up this winter. Live a little.

Our descendants who witness the final end of our species will have experienced some discomfort in the final lead up, a feeling of pressure, as the dentists say--a little mass migration here, a little genocide there, all over terminal resource issues. But in the long haul Madre Tierra will be just fine. Sound as a dollar. Trust me on this.

I feel as if I ought to have put some links in this entry. This is a blog after all. But links to what?

4 comments:

Bloggerboy FFM said...

You're almost there Senior Steve. Keep sucking in that thin air. Of course, you could take an even broader view and get to a similar destination: try cosmic time. Why settle for geologic time, measured in tens of millions of years when you can reach the same conclusion (and destroy any sense of comfort) by looking at the really big picture over billions of years. Yes, one day Mother Earth and the rest of our solar system is going to be swallowed up by our sun as it expires. All that will be left is plasma and space crunch drifting through the galaxy. We're doomed, so who the hell cares about how we get there or whether we poison ourselves with CO2 in the interim. Live it up and don't clean up afterwards. Take the cosmic time view.

Doesn't that make you feel better? Gee, this is starting to remind me of an R. Crumb cartoon entitled "existential despair".

(written in the same earnest spirit as the original post.)

Señor Steve said...

Cosmic time! Thank you, bloggerboy. I ought to have thought of the distinction between geologic time and cosmic time myself.

I stole the gist of the thoughts expressed above from a great relief pitcher from the era when I lived and died baseball, Tug McGraw of the Mets. A sports writer once asked him how he dealt with the pressure of the situation when he was called upon to face Willie Stargell, a great clutch hitter, the Mets one up in the bottom of the ninth in Pittsburgh with two out but the bases loaded with Pirates and the Pittsburgh fans screaming for his blood. His reply was essentially, “As I walk in from the bullpen I focus quietly on that thought that when the Sun has dwindled to the point that the Earth has been loosed from its orbit and has been transformed into a huge snowball hurtling off into space, nobody will care whether or not I got Willie Stargell out today.”

However, if you get carried away with this line of thought, you will not get out of bed in the morning. Therein lies my change of mind and heart since Friday. One still must go in and face Willie Stargell from time to time if for no other reason than the doing of it. That is my one point of agreement with Sartre. (I am sure that Sartre rests easier knowing that he and I have one.)

So perhaps those of us who are willing should at least make the attempt regarding the environment even knowing in our hearts what we know.

Bloggerboy FFM said...

"So perhaps those of us who are willing should at least make the attempt regarding the environment even knowing in our hearts what we know."

Yup, that's sort of where I thought you had ended up after letting off steam.

Barb said...

When I read A Short History of Nearly Everything by Bill Bryson, it was oddly comforting when he pointed out that there have been a number of mass extinctions and the earth simply moves on, just as you are saying. We definitely will destroy ourselves eventually, but not the earth.