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Illustration: Denis Wood Collage

Wrong of Green Collective

August 13, 2013

by Forrest Palmer

You know, when the industrial revolution began in the mid-nineteenth century, finding the first vestiges of non-renewable resources also brought along the rapid acceleration of drawing down on the future descendants of this Earth. Whenever the Western world describes Africa and its abundance of resources that have driven our Western lifestyles, they always describe it as a “curse”. The reason that they call it a “curse” is because these are the places where the worst instances of human rights atrocities, impoverishment, famine, economic plunder and all the other vagaries that are endemic of the horrific aspects of life in the global south happen in great abundance. This is a post for another day as to why this is, but I mention it in passing since this has been a point of beratement, wonder and ridicule by the Western world. In a relatively short time though, the Western world will learn that the resource curse won’t only be felt from the countries that provide us these resources, but also the ones who are the END USERS of these resources: US. NO ONE will escape this “curse”. Our bill just hasn’t come due yet.

That being said, in regards to our usage of these resources, as the rapidity has increased from the mid-nineteenth century, those people during that time started taking days, months and then years off the lives of their descendants two hundred years in the future. Now, the future draw down has run smack dab into the present where we are actually looking into the faces of the ones whose days are being shortened by a given amount of time due to using these resources, be it days, weeks, months or years. As a forty year old man, it is rather up in the air of how I will leave this Earth in the future, be it in 45 minutes or 45 years. This is the same for all of us from the time we set foot on this Earth until we leave it. BUT, what makes this time so different is that we are actually looking into the eyes of babies being born at this very moment where their existence is being erased in reverse. We are LITERALLY marking days off the calendar not only from the present, but also from the future as a species. For example, just as a supposition, we probably scratched off January 15, 2045 as a species by burning our daily fill of carbon emitting fossil fuels. Tomorrow, we will scratch off not just August 12, 2013, but we will actually be scratching off an additional day, January 14, 2045. Therefore, we are in essence watching two sides of this wall of time close in on us as a species. And no one, but a select few people see this almost imperceptible inching that is quickly picking up steam. Because I only gave it one day increments. Maybe tomorrow, we are scratching off a week or a month or a year. Who knows at this point? All I know is that it is being drawn down. And if you look at it with that type of analysis, then your viewpoint on all the trappings of this Western lifestyle will look quite different to you.

As much as people work for the ability to take care of their children in this capitalist system, the fact of the matter is that for every dollar we make to take care of our kids, we are bankrupting their future in every possible way NON-MONETARILY. Sadly, maybe it is poetic justice that we as a culture will most likely have to look into the eyes of our kids and see them whither away the way we have been viewing the Global South watch their children die in kind which is perceived in some macabre way as AFFIRMATION that this culture is the basis of all goodness on Earth. These are harsh words, but is there anything more harsh than what all of us are doing to the biosphere to varying degrees, whether we want to or not?

 

FP