96. End:CIV How Our Industrial Society Is Leading Towards An Ecological Apocalypse

18 important takeaways from this documentary: 

00:01:32 It’s not an exaggeration to say that right now we are living in an ecologicial apocalypse. Between the years 1980 and 2045 we will lose more species of plants and animals than have been lost in the last 65 million years.

For the most part we’re oblivious to it; e don’t want to know about it, and we don’t want to hear about it.

00:05:20  Derrek Jensen, author of the 2-volume set End Game, argues that there is an urgent need to bring down civilization and lays out his case against civilization through 20 premises. Here are four of them:

Premise I:

Civilization is not and can never be sustainable. This is especially true for industrial civilization.

00:06:10 Civilization is a way of life characterized by the growth of cities – large groups of people living in a density of population that the local land base cannot support them. This means that the city must get its resources from somewhere else because you’ve denuded all the resources where you live. So you go out to other areas of the world, take what you need, and ship those resources back into the city.

Unfortunately, this industrial culture won’t stop until it has consumed as much resouces as it can, or until we stop consuming them ourselves.

00:08:26 If your entire civilization is based on any one resource: oil, for example, you would think about what’s going to happen when the oil runs out.

00:08:40 Today’s humans have found energy resources which allow us to escape the kinds of limits that previous cultures have had to face much more quickly.

00:09:00 With horses, humans were relatively confined to how far they could to in collecting resources. With modern jets and vehicular transportation, there are no longer any limitations – neither in distance nor in quantity of transport.

00:10:20 Civilizations are very often cutting their own throats very visibly yet just keep on doing it.

[EDITOR’S NOTE: For one example of this, watch the news report How Your Technology Waste Destroys The Planet & Compromises Your Security.]

Premise II:

Traditional communities do not often voluntarily give up or sell the resources on which their communities are based until their communities have been destroyed. They also do not willingly allow their landbases to be damaged so that other resources—gold, oil, and so on—can be extracted. It follows that those who want the resources will do what they can to destroy traditional communities.

Premise III: Our way of living—industrial civilization—is based on, requires, and would collapse very quickly without persistent and widespread violence.

00:28:07 One of the reasons we don’t see the violence is because it is exported to other part of the world. Another reason we don’t see  the violence is because we have been so metabolized into the system that we have bought into this strange notion that it is okay to have to pay to exist on the planet. and if you don’t pay, then law enforcement comes and bad things happen to you.

00:29:00 We are being told by most of the environmental movement is that the way to stop the oncoming ecologicial apocalypse is  through personal consumer choices. – Lierre Keith, Author of The Vegetarian Myth

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“By purchasing our product the consumer can make a small easy step to a greener earth and help save millions of trees.”

00:29:55 The history of the environmental movement will tell us a little about why it isn’t working. In the 1970′s there was a lot of radical protesting happening – the real hay-day for environmentalism. Simultaneously, corporations began realizing that they could sell a lot of things by calling them ‘green.’

Greenwashing is “is a form of spin in which green PR or green marketing is deceptively used to promote the perception that an organization’s products, aims or policies are environmentally friendly.”

[EDITOR’S NOTE: Advertising agencies are often placed in the uncomfortable position of being asked to brand a company or product as ‘green.’ For more on this read my interview with Olivier Hubinois, Advertising Account Manager.]

00:31:00 A major problem with the environmental solutions put forth by people is that they confuse what is real with what is not real – taking the industrial economy as a given and figuring out how can we save the industrial economy while also saving our planet. Even the idea of managing the earth’s resources more wisely still fundamentally presumes that the industrial economy as a given.

It doesn’t matter if I buy environmentally-friendly hemp soap if there’s a runaway greenhouse effect and the planet becomes uninhabitable. Future generations won’t care about how ‘hard’ we tried: whether we recycled or wrote to our local legislature; what they will care about is do they live on a living planet where they can drink the water and breath the air.

Premise IV:

Civilization is based on a clearly defined and widely accepted yet often unarticulated hierarchy. Violence done by those higher on the hierarchy to those lower is nearly always invisible, that is, unnoticed. When it is noticed, it is fully rationalized. Violence done by those lower on the hierarchy to those higher is unthinkable, and when it does occur is regarded with shock, horror, and the fetishization of the victims.

00:43:29 We’ve built a society based on cheap and easily accessible resources. As the easily accessible oil is being depleted, we are moving on to more expensive and difficult to reach oil reserves, such as bitumen. Our world, which relies almost totally on oil, is nearing its end.

00:52:00 Social change doesn’t happen by moral suasion; it happens through force. The problem with persuasion strategy is that it only works on people who can actually be convinced and be relied upon to act from their position after their minds have been changed.

But we are not dealing with individuals who can be convinced or persuaded, we’re dealing mostly with large, abstract social organizations and corporations made out of huge numbers of people.

The remaining 16 Premises:

V: The property of those higher on the hierarchy is more valuable than the lives of those below. It is acceptable for those above to increase the amount of property they control—in everyday language, to make money—by destroying or taking the lives of those below. This is called production. If those below damage the property of those above, those above may kill or otherwise destroy the lives of those below. This is called justice.

VI: Civilization is not redeemable. This culture will not undergo any sort of voluntary transformation to a sane and sustainable way of living. If we do not put a halt to it, civilization will continue to immiserate the vast majority of humans and to degrade the planet until it (civilization, and probably the planet) collapses. The effects of this degradation will continue to harm humans and nonhumans for a very long time.

VII: The longer we wait for civilization to crash—or the longer we wait before we ourselves bring it down—the messier will be the crash, and the worse things will be for those humans and nonhumans who live during it, and for those who come after.

VIII: The needs of the natural world are more important than the needs of the economic system.

IX: Although there will clearly some day be far fewer humans than there are at present, there are many ways this reduction in population could occur (or be achieved, depending on the passivity or activity with which we choose to approach this transformation). Some of these ways would be characterized by extreme violence and privation: nuclear armageddon, for example, would reduce both population and consumption, yet do so horrifically; the same would be true for a continuation of overshoot, followed by crash. Other ways could be characterized by less violence. Given the current levels of violence by this culture against both humans and the natural world, however, it’s not possible to speak of reductions in population and consumption that do not involve violence and privation, not because the reductions themselves would necessarily involve violence, but because violence and privation have become the default. Yet some ways of reducing population and consumption, while still violent, would consist of decreasing the current levels of violence required, and caused by, the (often forced) movement of resources from the poor to the rich, and would of course be marked by a reduction in current violence against the natural world. Personally and collectively we may be able to both reduce the amount and soften the character of violence that occurs during this ongoing and perhaps longterm shift. Or we may not. But this much is certain: if we do not approach it actively—if we do not talk about our predicament and what we are going to do about it—the violence will almost undoubtedly be far more severe, the privation more extreme.

X: The culture as a whole and most of its members are insane. The culture is driven by a death urge, an urge to destroy life.

XI: From the beginning, this culture—civilization—has been a culture of occupation.

XII: There are no rich people in the world, and there are no poor people. There are just people. The rich may have lots of pieces of green paper that many pretend are worth something—or their presumed riches may be even more abstract: numbers on hard drives at banks—and the poor may not. These “rich” claim they own land, and the “poor” are often denied the right to make that same claim. A primary purpose of the police is to enforce the delusions of those with lots of pieces of green paper. Those without the green papers generally buy into these delusions almost as quickly and completely as those with. These delusions carry with them extreme consequences in the real world.

XIII: Those in power rule by force, and the sooner we break ourselves of illusions to the contrary, the sooner we can at least begin to make reasonable decisions about whether, when, and how we are going to resist.

XIV: From birth on—and probably from conception, but I’m not sure how I’d make the case—we are individually and collectively enculturated to hate life, hate the natural world, hate the wild, hate wild animals, hate women, hate children, hate our bodies, hate and fear our emotions, hate ourselves. If we did not hate the world, we could not allow it to be destroyed before our eyes. If we did not hate ourselves, we could not allow our homes—and our bodies—to be poisoned.

XV: Love does not imply pacifism.

XVI: The material world is primary. This does not mean that the spirit does not exist, nor that the material world is all there is. It means that spirit mixes with flesh. It means also that real world actions have real world consequences. It means we cannot rely on Jesus, Santa Claus, the Great Mother, or even the Easter Bunny to get us out of this mess. It means this mess really is a mess, and not just the movement of God’s eyebrows. It means we have to face this mess ourselves. It means that for the time we are here on Earth—whether or not we end up somewhere else after we die, and whether we are condemned or privileged to live here—the Earth is the point. It is primary. It is our home. It is everything. It is silly to think or act or be as though this world is not real and primary. It is silly and pathetic to not live our lives as though our lives are real.

XVII: It is a mistake (or more likely, denial) to base our decisions on whether actions arising from these will or won’t frighten fence-sitters, or the mass of Americans.

XVIII: Our current sense of self is no more sustainable than our current use of energy or technology.

IXX: The culture’s problem lies above all in the belief that controlling and abusing the natural world is justifiable.

XX: Within this culture, economics—not community well-being, not morals, not ethics, not justice, not life itself—drives social decisions.

 

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Image from the articleTHE 9 LIMITS OF OUR PLANET … AND HOW WE’VE RACED PAST 4 OF THEM by John Carey.

[EDITOR’S NOTE: For more information about how global warming is putting your company’s security at risk, watch the video: How Technology Waste Destroys The Planet & Compromises Your Security.]