Humanity has waged war against the natural world for millennia, intensifying with the industrial revolution, culminating with 9/11 terror and resulting perma-war, and threatening now to collapse the biosphere. Centuries ago an epic wave of ecological terror swept from Northern Europe as the industrial revolution and colonialism put a price on everything, liquidating natural ecosystems for illusory consumption by some, based upon false claims of advancement. Fleeting creature comforts for a few generations for some have come at the expense of apocalyptic war waged upon our ecological habitats and all that is different than ourselves.
In the name of god and country, indigenous cultures ensconced within the loving embrace of natural ecosystems, living materially simple but ecologically rich lives, were labeled savages and brutally murdered in waves of ecocide and genocide. Millions of year old natural ecosystems were systematically dismantled, and their vibrant life forms mercilessly slaughtered, to be used as resources to fuel the fires of industry. Anything that could burn, including timeless carbon stores of ancestral life meant to remain sequestered, were set ablaze to fuel our insatiable urges.
Multi-pronged wars upon nature proclaimed as god’s will, and thus destined to be waged by exceptional nations, have utterly devastated naturally evolved ecosystems, the current climate equilibrium, non-Western cultures, and the sum total of life known as the biosphere. A constant state of conflict with nature and all people with heritages other than that of European settlers has left the world in an overpopulated, biologically tawdry and diminished condition, poised upon utter and complete ecological ruin. The end of being is nigh, yet hope inherent in ecology and peace remains.
Declaring Climate Peace
It is time to declare and make a lasting peace with the natural world – starting with climate and intact ecosystems such as old-growth forests, and encompassing all Earth’s life, including other peoples. Each of us must seek to minimize biological, ecological, and cultural conflict in order to allow Earth to rest, recuperate, and recover.
Only a declaration of climate peace based upon protecting and restoring natural ecosystems including the atmosphere can save us now.
Gluttonous murdering of other life forms – be they plants, animals, or people – as the basis of the majority worldview will be abandoned. The everyday violence of fueling our lives with fossils ripped from the Earth and spewed into the atmosphere will be replace with nega-watts and small scale renewables. The brutal rape of naturally evolved ancient ecosystems cleared to make consumer junk will be banished, and as old-growth forest logging is banned, natural regeneration along with restoration will fix the damage done to the biosphere and humanity’s prospects for lasting advancement.
Peace will be made between warring peoples and cultures based upon justice, truth, equity, and ecology. Restitution will be paid and hierarchical structures of exploitation of the land, water, air, animals, and people dismantled. People will be drawn back to the land to grow and create things of worth from the labors of their minds and bodies.
As climate peace breaks out, one last time guns will be beaten into plowshares, as small scale community development based upon bioregional scale sustainability flourishes. Trillions in military expenditures will be redirected to equitably meeting basic human needs, de-industrializing, gradually limiting human numbers, restoring ecological habitats, and meeting reduced needs for energy in the least ecologically intrusive manner possible.
Conspicuous overconsumption is profoundly violent, based upon lengthy supply chains of exploitation, leaving behind injustice, murder, and war. We must constantly strive to ask ourselves and brethren how much is enough, and find meaning in experience, togetherness, community, art, sport, and other worthy endeavors beyond simply gorging ourselves upon the fruits of ecocide like an out of control microbe.
Lifestyles based on subjugation and elimination of other life forms are unacceptable. Diversity in all things – from the genome through plant community and landscapes, and outward to other cultures – will be hailed as glorious and worthy of veneration and deep abiding love. The sum of our worth will be best assessed by the degree to which we cherish and nurture life.
Centuries old indoctrination that subjugation and destruction of all that is natural is desirable will be overcome, and right livelihoods based upon deep biocentric truths regarding the sacredness of nature will be embraced. Processes as different as formal ecological education, fostering of ecological intuition, and mentoring by native elders will be nurtured allowing shallow, narcissistic over-consumers eating their own habitat to reconnect with the natural world.
Peace-Makers of the Rainbow
A panoply of opportunities exist for comfortable, rich, truth-filled, and worthwhile lifestyles ensconced within a peaceful natural world. That is, living well together in a manner that doesn’t collapse the climate or natural ecosystems, is fair as all basic needs are met and luxuries shared, and does not lead to global nuclear annihilation.
Making peace with ecology will allow our descendants to live forever, rather than suffer and die miserably in ecologically apocalyptic wastelands.
One of our greatest obstacles as citizens of a threatened living Planet is the dearth of climate change role models demonstrating peaceful and ecologically sustainable lifestyles. Various climate charlatans hock technological fixes (more of the same industrial over-development) as others preach climate is real from private jets flitting around the world polluting voluminously. Meanwhile innumerable climate visionaries wage peace with the natural world as they labor on the land in obscurity, demonstrating truly sustainable development; yet are denied the funds and platform by the elite to spread their vision, in order that climate peace become the dominant paradigm.
Declare climate peace in your life by ditching your personal car. Commit to bearing one child while helping raise others. Eat little or no meat, and grow much of your own food, buying most of the rest locally, ensuring it is sustainable, ethical, and of the highest quality. Travel via air as infrequently as possible, and when you do, linger and fully embrace the marvel of being in another place and time. There is much to be explored in your own bioregion.
Naturally evolved remnant plant and animal communities will be protected, and massive employment created as entire landscapes are ecologically restored; as their natural water, carbon, wildlife, evolutionary, pollination, and other ecosystem processes are re-connected. Huge mobilizations of plant propagation and care based upon native genetic stocks will expand and recreate old-growth forests and perma-culture forest gardens as the context for human society, re-embracing humanity within nature’s nurturing and firm embrace.
An age of ecological restoration will ensure natural ecosystems continue to make Earth habitable.
It is unnatural to burn hydrocarbons spewing filth into the atmosphere. The fossilized remains of our evolutionary ancestors will no longer foul our shared biosphere. A massive program of industrial demobilization will see an end to virtually all unnecessary toxic consumption, even as the benefits of appropriate technologies for renewable energy, health, education, communication, and sustainable development are retained.
Join with others in acts of civil disobedience to protect natural ecosystems and dramatically reduce greenhouse gas emissions. Work tirelessly to end war, for racial equality, to restore native rights, and to promote equity. Commit the focus of your being to justice and ecological sustainability. There is no more worthwhile life, than to peacefully display your love of Earth and all her creatures, to be had at this juncture in human and natural history.
We need many, many diverse leaders that bluntly and truthfully speak and live the language of peace and love for each other and the natural world. Only as we come together in such a manner can the omnipresent prophecy referred to in many indigenous cultures (perhaps apocryphal or maybe not) be realized of peace-makers of the rainbow (much preferred to warriors during these troubled times) rising during a period of natural destruction to regreen the Earth. Let’s make it so.
Dr Glen Barry is the President and Founder of Ecological Internet (EI). He is recognized internationally by the environmental movement as a leading global visionary, ecological policy critic and public intellectual committed to communicating the severity of global ecological crises – and related justice, rights and equity issues – while actively organizing with others sufficient solutions
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