If all goes right, this time tomorrow I will have a job campaigning against hydro-fracking. Horizontal hydro-fracturing, as it is more properly called, involves injecting chemicals into the ground to force natural gas up. The concerns about fracking are both grave and diverse. This, of course, is not the only ecological threat we face.
From anthropogenic climate change, to increased mass extinctions and on to invasive species we are making the world more difficult for us to live in. This is not about the world ending. We cannot destroy the planet and in all likelihood cannot end all life on it. We can, however, end our ability to survive the world we create.
Which is why I do not understand both the captains of industry that are causing this and the people who defend them. I have written and speak often about capitalism as religion. We are like the Ferengi on Star Trek, raising acquisition to a status of, not just the greatest good, but the only good. Who has the most cars, the biggest house, the most toys and, of course most importantly, the most abstract measurement of trade and trust (that’s money to you non-economics/poli-sci types.)
What happens when we reach the point of no return? What happens when the oceans rise enough to make the coastal cities, where a vast majority of humanity lives, uninhabitable? What happens when the climate becomes so erratic that we can no longer accurately predict where and when to plant our crops? What will all that wealth do for you then?
There are plenty of happy-feely reasons to want to protect the planet. I like trees, the birds and the bees. Sunsets are nice and who does not like to swim in a nice, clean, lake? Really though, it is a matter of our own well-being. We are not a perfect species, we can be childish and brutish, but we do amazing things. Also, all my favorite people are human, so I would like to see us stick around. More to the point, because we are not going to kill ourselves off for at least another generation or five, think of how hellish we are going to be making our own existence during those last years. I really do not want to have to kill other people to survive, but I will, and most of the rest of you would to, or we could clean up our room and take better care of it. That’s just a suggestion though.