A Solution For The Global Crisis
By William Kotke
10 March, 2015
The human species cannot survive on planet earth in perpetuity unless it lives in biological balance with the life around it. This thesis is just common sense. If one can agree with this thesis then we can deduce many conclusions from it.
This offering of a solution may seem like a grandiose proposal, but it is not. It is only common sense. If civilization sucks out only one percent of the earth’s fertility each year we can see that there will be no fertility within a geologically brief amount of time. This means soil exhaustion, deforestation, the absence of large fish in the ocean and much more. The imbalance of an exploding population based on dwindling resources points us toward planetary exhaustion.
Now let us look at planetary health. Our highly successful two million year human family of forager/hunters left us with a pristine planet - as of ten thousand years ago, when agriculture began. This pristine planet at that time featured climax ecosystems everywhere on the earth. Climax ecosystems are the most efficient ecological systems because they have the highest diversity of species meaning that they can capture more photosynthesis. This is the standard of planetary health.
The civilized practice of agriculture breaks up these highly complex energy flow systems of climax ecosystems and drains the fertility such as clearing forest and planting crops until soil exhaustion. We can see this in North Africa which once contained a thriving semi-arid desert ecosystem and forests in the mountains. The Greek and Roman empires considered it their "breadbasket." Now, some of the ports from which that "surplus" was shipped are ten and fifteen miles from the water. All that filled in with erosion material from the exhausted land. Once that topsoil is gone the ecosystem can never recover because those plants can’t grow on subsoil, so the culture of civilization moved on to deforest Europe.
CREATING HUMAN CULTURE?
For the human species at this point in history there is only one question. That question is: "How do we construct a human culture that allows us to live in biological balance with the earth?" This is THE question of the human species on earth. If this question is not answered then all other questions become irrelevant.
THE PLANET SAVING PROPOSAL
We have no historical record of we humans actually creating a new human culture from scratch, but we are now faced with that task as the present culture has taken us to ruin. The human culture that developed with agriculture emphasizes the growth of wealth and power over other people. This growth, historically, has been based on extorting "surpluses" from the fertility of the earth and leaving behind injured and destroyed ecologies. If we are to survive as a species we must now reverse this cultural value to be the restoration of the earth toward its standard of health, the climax ecosystem. This is a new foundational value, a culture pointed to the nurturing of life.
LET ‘S PRETEND
Let’s pretend that humans are a mature species and have reached adulthood. The first task would be to manage the household, the earth. Once that is stabilized we can go on to pursue real nonmaterial human progress such as perfecting a culture that serves the earth and facilitates the utmost development of the humans involved. How do we do that?
People will say that this proposition is ridiculous when cutting edge science is saying that there is a real possibility of Near Term Extinction from global warming if not from resource exhaustion and die off. There is no solution to the present situation. The best we can hope for is for a few to make it through the apocalypse and come out the other side to start a new culture. Given our dire straits, that is a solution we can hope for.
Small scale eco villages starting at the top of their watersheds using permaculture to establish self-sufficiency while restoring the ecology is the plan. Post apocalypse, these "seed communities" will spread to restore the earth. The Global Ecovillage Network (http://gen.ecovillage.org/) has already many hundreds of villages affiliated around the planet.
We vote with our feet for a new human culture of ecological sanity that focuses on nurturing life; our earth, our selves, our children, our gardens, our ecology. We create a culture of gender and ecological balance. Simply to raise pristine children without emotional damage will be a great leap in human progress.
We humans are amazingly creative and resourceful and have emerged successfully from many dire situations. We can easily create this on the ground, while we work on the big problem of transferring from the negative emotional condition of the death culture- civilization- to the positive emotional condition of a life nurturing survival.
William Kotke is the author of the underground classic book, The Final Empire:The Collapse of Civilization and the Seed of the Future. Kotke has been an activist in various social movements beginning with the Civil Rights Movement in the early Nineteen Sixties. He now has a large garden and claims to be nearly self sufficient in food and living in a four hundred acre forest with a wood stove, completely self sufficient in heat and having a spring on property, completely self sufficient with potable water.
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