I oftentimes wonder what the future will look like. Now that I am older, I know it won’t be filled with flying cars or people living in space, or any of those childish fantasies. In fact, I now wonder when cars will cease to be, never mind when will they take off from the ground.
I like to consider myself a logical-realist-humanist-person (or something like that), and I know that the future will look nothing like it does now. That is to say, I am not very hopeful about where we are headed as a global community. It’s difficult to summon hope and foresee peace and harmony, although I do try to maintain a positive outlook and hope that change will come.
During the past century (in particular), the global population has been increasing at a nearly exponential rate. We’re sitting at six billion with our sights set on nine billion in another forty years. More and more environmental catastrophes have cropped up with the potential to completely alter the natural landscape, and even make the planet unlivable. (Global warming, what?) All of these worldly problems have been the result of civilization, especially industrial civilization, and the destruction and exploitation on which it is built. Humans have been living as part of civilizations since 10,000 years ago, but the overwhelming majority of human life has existed in harmony with the earth before that timespan. Can you visualize this current way of life, civilization, continuing another 500, even 100 years? What will the cities look like then?
I try to avoid being negative, but it’s difficult watching an entire planet support itself on unsustainable practices and technologies, and especially witnessing civilization’s incredible use of finite resources that fuel our entire way of being. (Oil, anyone?) We treat the planet as if it were something to be used and abused, and this is detrimental to our own well-being. You can’t destroy the land on which you expect to live, right? So how can we possibly expect the planet to support us for another millennia if we keep treating the planet the way we do, tearing down forests, scraping the bottoms of the ocean, spraying the land (and the stuff we eat) with toxic chemicals, and pumping the air full of carcinogens? And for what? What’s the point of all of this destruction, really?
As Derrick Jensen says, this culture is “insane”. And I think it’s hard to deny. And I don’t want to take part in the destruction and exploitation that makes this insane civilization-machine run. But it’s damn near impossible to avoid, and it will take a huge cultural shift in our perception and worldview to move beyond civilization, to a more healthy, peaceful, sane, and sustainable social order. Of course it first demands that we change our attitudes about how we view (and use) the planet, and then, change our actions.
When I am older, I at least hope that I can say that I did my part in avoiding a contribution to the toxification and degradation of the planet. That is why I want to live simply, and I want to be self-sufficient, and I want to take part in a culture that values sustainability and cooperation and harmonious living. I want to know that the planet will still be livable in another 500 years. That’s what I am thinking.
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