As a species we can do better if we believe in the human family, ourselves and Earth. There are alternatives to passively sitting by as climate abruptly changes, ecosystems collapse, and authoritarianism rises, destroying naturally evolved ecosystems and their life. A pathway exists to global ecological sustainability, yet it requires shared sacrifice and courage, and we may have to fight. What if we came together to pursue human advancement without destroying the biosphere and actively opposed those in our way? We choose ecocide and death by not choosing to stand for Earth and all life. A global revolution is coming that will sustain the environment and ensure basic needs are met for all, while embracing truth and justice as the basis for shared governance, ecological sustainability, and economic well-being.
“It is no measure of health to be well adjusted to a profoundly sick society.” – Krishnamurti
“The price of apathy towards public affairs is to be ruled by evil men.” – Plato
“Big old trees in large, connected, ecologically intact old-growth forests make the world go round.” – Dr. Glen Barry
The world has gone dramatically wrong as she is ravaged by ecosystem collapse, abject poverty, grotesque inequity, militant nationalism, and resurgent authoritarianism. Overpopulation combined with inequitable overconsumption, leading to a state of permawar, in particular are root causes destroying natural ecosystems and threatening collapse of our one shared biosphere. Either the human family learns to share, simplifies our way of living, and takes any and all truthful actions to end the current state of global ecocide; or else we collapse into nothingness.
There are alternatives to ecosystem collapse and authoritarian rule, including taking mass collective action to do together what must be done for survival of our ecosystem habitat and universal well-being. Economic inequity – 300 people holding as much wealth as billions – is obscene. The rich are going to learn to share, and stop amassing wealth by liquidating Earth’s ecosystem commons, or there is going to be a global revolution. Those guilty of climate denial and other crimes against ecology will face a reckoning soon, if their unchallenged misbehavior doesn’t kill us all first.
Now is the time for moral and political courage as together we limit abrupt climate change; and stop and reverse ecosystem collapse and rising tyranny. I anticipate that we are near an inflection point, where increased awareness is meeting clearly observable accelerating socioeconomic-ecological deterioration, allowing for a brief window of opportunity to save being through embrace of knowledge-based policies that will deliver long-term global ecological sustainability. Nations will be downsized, as local sovereignty to live well within bioregions is actualized.
We have to be ready with viable agro-ecological, restoration ecology, transition communities, renewable energy, and other solutions to implement as ecosystem, economic, and social collapse becomes more evident. And speaking academically, at the right time, under the right circumstances, where we hold the strategic edge, a concerted global effort of clandestine sabotage and swarming of the sources of ecocidal threats may be necessary. By doing nothing as society and ecology unravel, we have chosen to quit, dooming ourselves, our planet, kindred species, and our loved ones to a hell on Earth, followed by grisly death and the possible end of being.
A DREAM FOR OUR TIME
I too have a dream, shared by many, that life on Earth shall not perish, but rather will thrive forever. I dream that all human beings and kindred species will be valued, loved, and revered. I dream we all may quickly learn to see our oneness with fellow humans, kindred species, and with the living biosphere. I dream this motivates us to come together and act swiftly and fearlessly to protect Earth.
I dream that tanks and armaments are once and for all beaten into ploughshares in service to community-based agro-ecology. And that the human family comes together to return to the land to protect and restore ecosystems, weaning ourselves from fossil fuels, allowing being to continue indefinitely.
My dream envisions a world of artisans, craftsmen and women, and agriculturalists, who create something of value through their hands and minds in partnership with a living Earth. I dream that the Jeffersonian vision of decentralized and autonomous agrarian democracy is fully realized in our time.
I dream for the wisdom to see all human life is sacred, and together we only do as well as those that are worst off. Today’s economic inequity is obscene. Desperate poverty means life remains brutal and short for many (including other species). The task of our times is to extend self-actualized, secure life to others without destroying ecosystems and collapsing the biosphere.
And I dream that we have the intelligence, and compassion, to ask the hard questions and do what must be done. How has “development” – destroying ecosystems, killing non-human life, exploiting others – become the meaning of life? What ever became of aspirations for real human advancement in justice, rights and duties, equity, truth and wisdom, love and peace, ending war, and ecological sustainability? Why is it easier to imagine and acquiesce to the end of the world than to conceive and implement significant change in how our society is organized?
Together we are hurtling through space on a living Earth, which our cumulative greedy, violent, destructive ways are destroying. It is time for a reality check – a close examination and adherence to the bottom-line truths required for continued well-being and even existence.
I dream that self-evident truths are recognized, embraced, and acted upon. We are one human family, there is no god, we are entirely dependent upon ecosystems for life – and they are being wantonly destroyed.
In my dream governments respond to the cascade of science and self-evident truths that ecology, justice, and fairness are perishing. Yet if governments fail to cut emissions and protect ecosystems based upon ecological science and self-evident biosphere decline, they will have abdicated, and it will be up to people power to save ecological being.
In that case, my dream is that based upon the knowledge and wisdom of many, autonomous Earth warriors will arise committed to acting decisively – individually and in small groups through acts of resistance, and together en masse swarming upon the destroyers of being – to embrace Earth’s salvation. I dream that a large system of collaborators will rise to support them.
And I am not the only one thinking these thoughts. It is time for courageous freethinkers to come together and undertake personal acts of clandestine resistance and participate in sufficient mass action to avert global ecosystem collapse and achieve a state of greater equity, justice, and sustainability. That is what development means, a real advancement in well-being for all sentient creatures, as together we live in a way that all can enjoy without destroying the biosphere.
THERE IS NO ECONOMY (OR JOBS) ON A DEAD PLANET
The global environment is collapsing and dying as human industrial growth overruns the natural ecosystems that make Earth habitable. Earth’s land, air, water and oceans are being utterly ravaged by industrial growth. Earth’s carrying capacity has been exceeded.
Economics is a subsystem of natural ecosystems; thus, without ecology there can be no jobs. Infinite growth at the expense of finite natural ecosystems is impossible. Together the human family rejects endless material growth and embraces a steady state economy, or the biosphere will collapse.
The movement for global ecological sustainability is profoundly difficult as it is not about expanding rights but rather is primarily concerned with fulfilling duties. It is going to be difficult to help people understand that for their well-being and even survival they are going to have to live with fewer material items. But there is potential to achieve so much more in terms of knowledge, experience, human interaction, and lasting employment on a living Earth that goes on and on forever.
Profound inequity, eco-collapse, persistent injustice, ignorance and permawar are sicknesses which mar human potential and well-being. Inequities in economics, justice and rights are unacceptable and are going to end one way or another. We are not demanding equality, just basic fairness – that all who work are able to provide for their families, and that those who work hard are rewarded more, but not exorbitantly at the expense of the well-being of other people and species.
There are many who are unable to work and some who would rather partake in creative enterprises while living simply. A universal basic income would eliminate desperate dead-end poverty, maximize individual liberty, and allow society to focus upon ecological sustainability. A guaranteed basic income that meets everyone’s frugal needs for shelter and food can replace all other social service payments, shrinking nanny government and reducing taxes. Ensuring basic human needs are met, indeed all species’ needs, is central to global ecological sustainability.
GREEN LIBERTY: A BETTER WAY OF LIFE EXISTS
As water becomes scarce, climate changes abruptly, oceans become dead zones, and there are consequently fewer jobs; authoritarianism is rising. The fruits of recent centuries’ human advancement – largely ending slavery, the uneven spread of human rights, greater women’s equality, comfort and ease for many – are at risk as ecosystems collapse. Nanny government, corporatist fascism, religious zealots, and human ignorance are rising and preying upon Earth and our and all life’s well-being. This rise of authoritarian corporatism and the police state threatens the Earth’s, humanity’s and all life’s future. The ruling class is stealing freedoms to allow their final devouring of the ecosystem commons.
Unlike past movements that sought the expansion of rights, the environmental sustainability movement requires an expansion of duties to Earth, each other, and future generations. The challenge of our time is to remain free as we embrace our duty to protect nature, end fossil fuels, and to justly share. Without large, intact natural ecosystems and an operable climate there can be no life. Knowing this fact, we must be willing to take all actions consistent with our conscience, while taking full responsibility personally for doing so.
The hegemonic powers of America, Europe and China have become evil failed states that wage ecocidal tyranny against the planet, its peoples, and all life for a bit more growth. Endless growth on a finite world is impossible and can only lead to ecological collapse as the biosphere is pulled down. For human and all life’s wellbeing we desperately need another worldview that interprets the cosmos and ecology, and our place within it, differently. There are ways of living besides fossil fuel addiction, glorifying conspicuous consumption, and rushing hell-bent to ecocide.
Other sources of progressive good have become corrupted. The United States government does not own the Internet. It has no right to spy and invade privacy, to limit anyone’s use of the Internet for good causes like ecology and liberty, or to terrorize innocents with drone permawar. Foundation-fed environmental NGO bureaucracies have become profoundly irrelevant, routinely greenwashing ecocide. Only loosely coordinated local action based upon ecological truth and sufficient solutions to maintain the biosphere, ecosystems, and livelihoods can save us now.
A wide body of political and economic theory exists, which is barely sampled in the U.S. and many countries’ politics. In only one decade bipartisan U.S. leadership and most other democracies have embraced Big Brother–type permawar, ecocide, corporate rule, spying, murder, and fascism. And though we let it happen, whether this state of affairs becomes permanent globally remains in our hands, until it is too late and the biosphere collapses under the fist of uber-fascism.
A well lived life should be all about green liberty – maintaining our environment and all life’s well-being – as we remain radically free. Green liberty – a better way of life than the one we are now living – is based upon observable truths, and is a lifestyle committed to truth, justice, equity, and ecology that will last. Green liberty rejects the lies that civilized society requires hierarchies of control and that economic growth is the measure of well-being, instead embracing our oneness and interdependence with the natural world.
To survive, humanity must learn to live together without destroying nature. We are all one human family with inalienable rights and duties to each other and Earth. Ecological and other truths have no agenda, are not politically affiliated, do not necessarily bring power or prestige, but truths exist and their full consequences will not be denied.
In an age of non-liberal and non-democratic police states, it is hard to imagine and implement a path to full-spectrum sustainability sufficient to avoid such a collapse. If we want to survive, we will prove it by doing what is necessary – I repeat because it is important – acting within the constraints of our individual conscience, while fully bearing personally the responsibility for doing so.
Having an opinion – and speaking it loudly – is not the same as being educated, knowledgeable, wise, and seeking and serving truth. There is much ignorance being spouted based upon superstition and limited experience that is devoid of truth. It is virtually impossible to address the myriad of global crises without a love of truth and will to expose ignorance.
All forceful action to defend Earth must be based upon rigorous, uncompromising examination of the best ecological and social change solutions that exist. Efforts of such magnitude as striking against the sources of ecocide must be free of bias and superstition, while being inclusive of all sources of revealed truth, and through constant reflection seek to ensure acts against injustice and unfairness, are in themselves not unjust and unfair.
Some of the greatest truths of all are that we need clean water to survive, land can only support so many people, we are all one human species, and there are no invisible ghosts in the sky ruling over us.
As the biosphere continues to collapse, it appears increasingly likely that only an Earth revolution can limit abrupt climate change and protect ecosystems. When all well intended entreaties to sovereign power have been ignored, it is time to take collective action. If enough people refused to participate in the ecocidal, inequitable system, it could be shut down at any time. Each of us can choose through individual acts of conscience to obstruct the industrial growth machine, and as our forces and capabilities grow, to swarm and shut down sources of industrial ecocide.
Freedom and ecosystem protection are non-negotiable, and all powers who oppose must be resisted and if necessary deposed. If enough of us got together we could end the current system’s corrupt rule, inequity, injustice and ecocide tomorrow. In the face of reactionary counter-revolution, in fact it is likely to involve a long drawn out struggle of clandestine sabotage (that never targets innocents), refusal to cooperate with the ecocidal police state, and building up of alternative just, equitable, and ecological alternatives.
Yet the call of revolutionary ecological struggle beckons.
BE FOR EARTH AND OTHER TRUTHS
All is one. We are one human family with inalienable rights and duties to freedom, work, equity, peace, justice and sustained ecology. The human family faces ecological, economic and social collapse unless together we work to achieve more equity, sustain ecosystems, pursue social justice, and end wars, as we embrace our Gaia given universal rights and duties.
The only people mad at you for speaking and acting upon the truth are those living a lie. Be on the side of global truth, freedom, fairness, workers, human rights, peace, love and ecological sustainability. And, perhaps above all else, embrace free thinking and defend the right of unfettered self-expression in pursuit of the common good.
Keep speaking and acting upon truth. Choose to live a life of loving service and devotion to Earth, other truths, the human family, and all kindred species. There is nothing like a well lived life in devotion to truth – and the imperative to sustain our one shared Earth using all means necessary is the biggest truth of all.
This very impressive novel, written in 1908, considers this and other questions while offhandedly predicting much of 20th-century history. It, too, inspired clubs, debates, professional and amateur sequels, and a generation of young scientists, including engineers in the Soviet space program.
A decade earlier in England, H. G. Wells considered what might happen if this advanced Martian civilization decided to come here and take our water, which would be as valuable to Martians as oil is to us. Wells intended ''War of the Worlds'' to remind British readers of the recent massacre of the Tasmanian aborigines -- while putting them at the wrong end of the gun.
In the United States, on the other hand, the pulp-action adventures of Edgar Rice Burroughs's John Carter series abjured any heavy political message, except perhaps the idea that it would be fun to live in a fantasy Wild West forever, especially if you could leap much higher than the bad guys.
Thus from the turn of the 20th century through the 1920's, many scientifically literate people considered a Martian civilization quite possible, and fiction speculating about it was widespread and influential. By the end of the 1930's, however, the scientists were shaking their heads. Radio telescopes were revealing that the Martian atmosphere was extremely thin, and had neither oxygen nor water. Not only was civilization unlikely, but life itself looked as if it would have a hard time as well. And then Orson Welles's radio dramatization of ''War of the Worlds'' scared people and was declared a hoax, and this somehow debunked the whole idea.
What came after could be called Mars's dry era. Writers still wrote about the planet, and they still included aliens, but they were reduced by the new theory to postulating creatures like sentient tumbleweed or telepathic lichen beds. Arthur C. Clarke's ''Sands of Mars'' is a good example of this, and Philip K. Dick's ''Martian Time-Slip'' uses the desiccated Mars as another version of the 20th century's spiritual wasteland.
A different response to the dry Mars scenario appeared in Ray Bradbury's ''Martian Chronicles.'' Bradbury grasped that although Lowell had been wrong, and that whole world had been lost, the stories it had generated would endure, so that whenever humans arrived on Mars, a ghost culture would already be there, ready to haunt them. This is a story that will always be true.
The Mariner and Viking missions in the 1960's and 70's gave us the actual place, all at once, fully photographed and mapped: its spectacular, gigantic landscape features were astonishing, like a dream of Monument Valley. There were clear signs of water, yet the landers indicated that the planet was entirely lifeless. Empty but real -- what an opportunity.
These very findings were also part of what stimulated planetary scientists like Carl Sagan to begin discussing terraforming: altering a planet until it could support an Earthlike biosphere. As these first terraforming theorists pointed out, Mars would be the perfect candidate for the process. We could start a new Earth.
A flood of Mars terraforming novels soon followed, mine among them. Combining Viking's data with terraforming theory created an imaginative space as rich as that of Lowell's Mars, or richer, because with the aliens finally gone, the story became so clearly about us. Humanity on a rocky planet, trying to tend a biosphere. It was not only possible but necessary to consider wilderness, sustainability, ecology, economics, social justice, utopia -- in short, all the things novels should talk about, and all laid out with marvelous clarity on the clean slate of Mars. It was a lucky time to be writing science fiction.
Now some kind of post-Viking era in Mars thinking has already arrived, marked by the return of the possibility of life, this time in the form of bacteria underground. This possibility changes the terraforming proposal a great deal: bringing life to a dead rock is not the same as intruding on an already existing biosphere.
Meanwhile, the feedback loop between science and science fiction continues to flow. It is, as we have seen, an elliptical loop, like the orbit of a comet. Science-fiction writers seize on new scientific findings and immediately leap to conclusions, in the form of stories. Then these stories dive into young minds and percolate there, shaping future scientists and giving them dreams, visions, plans.
Leap and percolate. These days I sometimes hear from young people who tell me they are studying some kind of science because of my Mars books. (''But you forgot to mention the math.'') I feel like part of the science-fiction loop. I still follow the latest Mars news, and sometimes I wonder what the next wave of Mars stories will be like.
It seems awkward. I suppose the thing to do would be to tell the story of the robot rovers, because that's what we're going to have for a while. Maybe rovers much more powerful than Spirit and Opportunity -- artificial intelligences, in fact, and happy to be on Mars, because it's the world they were designed for, and they're protecting an indigenous cryptoendolithic, or hidden in rock, bacterial culture they have discovered. So that when humans finally arrive in person, it's a disaster in the making for all concerned, and the rover artificial intelligences and little red people have to play dumb and play ghost and change humanity for the good of all, and . . .
On the stories will go.Continue reading the main story