We are living as if we have no children or grandchildren.
Think about it; we carouse and cavort in our Panzer-like SUVs, leave the lights on in our cities all night long, indulge ourselves with every rumdum motorized mobile plaything from jet skis to ATVs to trail bikes to snowmobiles, all increasingly bigger and more powerful, as if we can’t wait to potlatch away our descendants’ patrimony and leave them a gouged, slashed, polluted planet with no water to grow food and no fuel to cook it with. Ours has to be the most irresponsible, reprehensible, irrational generation to ever populate the earth.
Everything we are told about our situation is a lie. We’re drilling and mining the Great Plains, the oceans and the Arctic tundra to achieve “energy independence.” Yeah, right; the energy companies that run the world (did you know that every member of the President’s National Security Council represents one of the mega-mining/drilling giants?) sell our coal, oil and gas to the highest bidder, even if it’s a potential enemy like China) and exhort us constantly to burn up more of what they produce. The Free Market abhors equilibrium: there must always be hunger, want, deprivation, anguish, to drive the Greed Machine. Dystopia is the Promised Land, for the Masters of the Universe; they batten on the deprived like a Desmondus rotundus bat on a sleeping Inca peasant.
What an age! I can’t even come up with a name for it. The Age of the World as a Vomitorium? Not exactly catchy. The Age of Yobs, Oiks, Punks, Self-Indulgent Smartass Goons? Maybe it’s the Age to End All Ages, the dead end for Homo Sapien: when he finally runs out of tricks, is forced to fall back on his innate wisdom, and whoops! It ain’t there because he had no time or desire to nurture it and keep it alive.
Our ancestors have been whispering in our ears for the last century, then giving up in exasperation and shouting, and finally grabbing us and shaking us, trying to get us to pay attention. “You’re racing toward extinction!
Listen up! We love you more than you love yourselves, we don’t want to see you go down in flames! “ By now they’re probably looking around for a Stone Age shillelagh, to knock some sense into our heads. (I think that explains the Crop Circles popping up all over the world.) But the Madness goes on, drowning everything else out, blinding us. (How many city-killing storms, die-offs of species, poisoned atmospheres and withering away of whole ecosystems does it take to deliver the message?) Are we any more visionary than the Stegosaurus of Jurassic Park fame, who devoured whole forests for breakfast and warded off foes with his spiked tail, so stupid that he had two brains the size of walnuts and the one that controlled his massive ass was as big as the one in his head, that tried in vain to “think”? Or is that a rhetorical question?
We who live in Telluride (and similar spots), who have a semi-cosmopolitan mindset but with our sympathies tied as much to the natural world as that of human beings, probably have a more accurate take on what’s going down than city people. It’s funny, not ha-ha funny but a bit weird, that “intellectuals” who never leave places like Manhattan except under extreme duress and who are totally estranged from the realities of the earth are the ones who monopolize the debate about our planet’s future. Thus we have supposedly sophisticated newspapers like The New York Times praise the benefits of oil shale extraction and new pipelines and power grids so they can maintain their accustomed way of life, burning up scarce resources like those decadent Kwakiutl Indians who threw salmon oil on their ritual bonfires to show they were so wealthy they could destroy their riches for no reason at all. To urbanites, everything outside their city limits is a National Sacrifice Zone. We know better, much better, but we need to organize an intellectual insurgency, a philosophical Maquis, if we are going to turn our knowledge into action and empower ourselves, to defend the places where we live.