The Eve Of Destruction

A pilot wanted to take a photographer from The Times-Picayune of New Orleans to snap photographs of the oil slicks blackening the water. The response from a BP contractor who answered the phone late last month at the command center was swift and absolute: Permission denied. Efforts to Limit the Flow of Spill News

This began very early on, with survivors of the Deepwater explosion virtually kidnapped and held for several days until they signed confessions that they were not hurt. Later we learned that they were restricted from talking to the media, as are all “employees” and temporary contractors and even day laborers for the cleanup crews.

Flyovers are now banned, as the airspaces are “restricted”.

Journalists struggling to document the impact of the oil rig explosion have repeatedly found themselves turned away from public areas affected by the spill, and not only by BP and its contractors, but by local law enforcement, the Coast Guard and government officials.

I noticed very early on that it was amazing on how few photos and videos existed.  Americants have had to rely upon news feeds from government, BP and major media sources, but the “other side of the story” was deeply lacking.

I’d like to see what is happening under the water on the sea floor.  This is where the real damage is being done.

Don’t think for a moment that U.S. officials, including local officials aren’t complicit to all of this, because they are:

In a separate incident last week, a reporter and photographer from The Daily News of New York were told by a BP contractor they could not access a public beach on Grand Isle, La., one of the areas most heavily affected by the oil spill. The contractor summoned a local sheriff, who then told the reporter, Matthew Lysiak, that news media had to fill out paperwork and then be escorted by a BP official to get access to the beach.

BP did not respond to requests for comment about the incident.

“For the police to tell me I needed to sign paperwork with BP to go to a public beach?” Mr. Lysiak said. “It’s just irrational.”

Irrational in a just and common sense sort of world. But we don’t live in that world, which is fictional in our reality.  Our world is based upon greed, profits, control, power, position and prestige — all of which have overruled common sense, human decency and ethics, especially in this disaster.

I salute all the people and companies who are “out there” trying to manage and handle this gigantic mess, but that doesn’t forgive the fools who are in league with the ongoing coverup.  Americans deserve to know just how big, how bad, how ugly and how devastating this massacre really is.

Big Oil is deathly afraid of the unvarnished truth.  This is a watershed event, one which will have long-term impacts on offshore drilling, and even American “appetites” for allowing this.  The risk to the environment, indeed the entire planet is very real, and now that more spills are making the news onshore and offshore, the slumbering giant of public opinion is turning.  Big Oil simply wants you to look the other way.

Long ago, I wrote about how gold mining was extremely damaging to the environment, creating huge downstream effects so that humans can collect the yellow metal.  Nobody “needs” gold, but our world is awash in petroleum products. Without petroleum, we would have nothing in the modern world.  No roads, no modern agriculture, no supermarkets, no cars, no high-rise buildings, no cell phones, no planes, no computers and on and on and on.  We literally live as we do today because of the oceans of oil that have been pumped out of the ground for our “benefit”.

But I have come to believe that this was all a hugely tragic mistake. We should have NEVER built a civilization that was so reliant upon such a destructive source of energy.  We are in effect, no different the the Easter Island civilization that once relied upon trees to continue their civilization.  Once the trees were gone, they died out too.

Oil is not an infinite resource, but even if it was, that would be terribly bad news because we would continue with our rapacious ways.  The taking, taking, taking culture of modern life is highly destructive, removing irreplaceable resources and minerals, requiring a paradigm of constant growth and expansion.  There is no way in hell that this can last in a finite world.

I took a “drive” (as a passenger) to the city the other day and remarked at how everything I was seeing was an abberation.  The highway itself, an endless ribbon of black stretching off into the distance.  The source for this miracle of modern engineering: oil.

The buildings of glass and concrete, shopping malls, bridges, even the steel power poles and the zillions of cars zipping by.  All comes from oil.  Without this energy source, none of this would exist.  And we take all of this for granted, but that would be a huge mistake.  Less then 100 years ago, none of this existed like it does today.  And in less then 100 years, none of it will exist.  We can’t even maintain these things without petroleum.

It is deeply tragic that we live in such a cookie cutter, disposable society.  The short-sightedness of the human race has been well documented and is going to be our downfall.  We should be building a civilization that will last, but you cannot do that when you a) destroy your environment; b) use up all the energy sources available.

Most of the buildings you now see will be gone before your grandkids get old (if humanity lives that long). Most of the roads will be gone too.  As oil depletion steepens, less and less will be built or maintained, but our society is still in deep denial to this fact. We do not realize that we live at the very apex of all civilizations that have come before us — or that will come after us.

What we have today is an aberration, a fluke of history. We take this all for granted, our lattes, our condominium towers, our ability to go the supermarket anytime we want and buy grapes imported from Chile, or cheese from France, but it’s all an aberration.  This has NEVER existed before like this does today, not in all of human history — and it will never exist like this again.

We don’t respect that.  In fact, we do exactly the opposite.  We disrespect the entire process, having no respect, no appreciation or even any true awareness of what this all means.  We bitch and complain if something “isn’t available” or isn’t in stock, never for a moment even considering what this actually means, or what energy was required to make that happen, or the vast, gigantic resources that were used and consumed to make this all possible.

We are right on the edge of massive extinctions and depletions, but you wouldn’t realize this if you stayed tuned in to the MSM.  Your world is crumbling, crashing and falling down, the Mancondo Massacre isn’t the first and won’t be the last disaster you will see.

We did this.  This is our fault.  It is very important that we accept these harsh facts.  The longer we remain in denial, the longer we coverup our actions, our mistakes, our greed, our ongoing destruction of this planet that we call home, the worst it is going to get for us, for our children and for any possible future generations of humanity.

There is now very serious doubts that humans are going to survive. All of this ties into how we live, and what energy this has required, and how there are now far, far too many of us to continue to support without catastrophic depletion rates.  Does anybody even think about what it means when we can’t produce enough food anymore?  Or when our dependence upon energy fractures and fails, what happens to our civilization?

I do.  I think on these issues quite a lot actually.  It has become a main theme in my life.  The measurements that have been made, the documented levels of ongoing destruction and the dependency that we have fabricated are of such magnitude and such significance that there is absolutely no question about where this is all heading.  This is nothing new either, as all former human civilizations have all failed for the same exact reasons ours is.

It seems as if we can never learn.  Our species is stupid, thick with self-importance and with eyes full of greed. We categorically refuse to live responsibly and have literally made a science and a religion out of how not to.  We blame everyone but ourselves, the truly responsible for what is happening.  We glorify the mundane, profane and the greedy, elevating them and theirs onto these pedestals of worship.  We teach our children how to chase after these false idols, forgetting that we are setting them up to fail. We do this generation after generation until the apex is finally reached and then we ALL come crashing down.

The aftermath is going to be horrible, beyond your imaginations, beyond your worst dreams, beyond all your fears and Hollywood screenwriters scare tactics.  We too easily have forgotten just how unbelievably brutal the world can be, the way the world really is in the dark corners that are growing larger every day.  You should be scared, truly afraid of what this is going to mean.  Being scared and being afraid has nothing to do with cowardice, but respect for what can happen, what is happening and what could happen.

We can stop most of this, but we won’t.  For nearly fifteen years I’ve written about why we won’t.  We refuse to learn.  We refuse to respect what we even have.  If we can’t realize that our lives, our civilization, our way of living is worthy of respect, then how can we ever have a glimmer of hope to protect it?

I’m sorry, but it is dead clear — that our hopes are founded upon illogical reasoning and short-sighted thinking.  Just like our civilization, our hope is that we can continue this fantasy living and that our wizardy will continue to make it all possible.  All the destruction and damage that this causes will simply be ignored.  It will all just go away if we simply can’t see it, if writers don’t write about it, if photographers don’t photograph it.  Just let me get back to my life, my job, my family and let someone else worry about it.

Multiplied by a billion, then five billion, then ten billion people, what do you suppose that this is going to mean?  We are on the verge of self-destruction, living and exhibiting truly insane behavior and expectations, our very lifestyles and construct of civilization built to destroy us.  And I’ve said nothing yet in this short essay about the trillions of other life-forms we are extinguishing in this entire process.  As far as we are concerned, they don’t exist except for our own pleasure, making us truly sociopathic fools, failing to make the basic connection that is when they don’t exist, neither will we.

I do not hold much hope for the human race. I see no evidence that contradicts this view. The longer this goes on, the deeper I look, the more I examine, the more information that I gather, and the more evidence that builds up, it is very clear to me that we prefer destruction.  We exhibit this preference in almost everything we do.  There is something fundamentally wrong with us when we can exhibit such behavior and think that it will never touch us personally or ever have to be answered for.  But that is insane thinking, something which we have become very good at.

Take a hard look at the “offerings” of the future that we are being shown.  At their core, they are the same business-as-usual model.  That we can “grow”, that we can “profit”, that we can continue to take our sustenance from the environment if but only a little more “responsibly”.  None of these hucksters can admit what this actually means in our world today, that we will still be literally forced to deplete more and more of the world’s remaining resources as we profit our way to oblivion, enabling our populations to ever-expand beyond all possible hope of sustainability, that this never ending voracious cycle of growth and greed dooms us all to destruction.

Nobody wants to talk about this.  We are so blinded that we think that everyone else in the world lives like we do, and yet nobody ever has in all of human history, and only a very few live like we do today.  But that is exactly what we propose “offering” everybody else, the American Dream, where you can have it all, never mind the real costs and what it will actually mean for all life on Earth.

We witness how China and India and other countries are trying so hard to catch up to our way of life and living standards. This can never happen, but as it does, it simply accelerates the destruction that much faster.  You simply cannot continue to take, take and take from the Earth as if it was an infinite resource put here for human pleasures.  Jevon’s Paradox rules, as does the exponential function.  We are already nearing the 1:1 ratio on EROI.  Having already picked ALL of the easy, tasty fruit from the sea and from the land, we now turn to dirty tar sands and deepwater drilling, risking everything so that we can continue our partying as long as we possibly can.  We now eat “trash fish” because that’s all that’s left.  My ongoing “joke” for years about jellyfish burgers is already happening.

But it cannot last.  Nobody needs to “do anything” to witness that happen. Business as usual WILL destroy us.  The only thing we need to do is to do nothing at all — just go right on living, and we won’t make it.

This blog has always been called “Sustainable Living and Common Sense” for a specific reason.  It is not about “survivalism” as many think, because that is really just another “business as usual” mode of existence. Survivalists are a dime a dozen, interested only in self-preservation and not much else. I am not a survivalists and do not advocate this philosophy either.  Survivalism focuses entirely upon you and nothing else. But that does not fit the real model of the world at all, which is why I do not promote this concept here.

The Native Americans weren’t survivalists, but they knew how to survive, as does every other indigenous culture still in existence on this planet.  But we won’t let them survive, especially when we discover that there are precious minerals or resources under their feet, or they occupy the best farmlands or pristine forests or beaches.  One by one, we wiped them out, stealing their land, taking the resources and ex-appropriating for ourselves whatever we wanted.

I have desperately tried to garner support, interest and action on a personal level to wake up people to the extinction events lying ahead, including ours. This may prove to be a foolish plea, because I already know that even ten million cannot now “save the planet” or even the human race.

We need an extinction event, and probably a human one, to wake us up.  I doubt if anything less then this will work or get through our unbelievable blindness and apathy.  I can already guarantee you the that Deepwater disaster isn’t big enough to qualify (yet).  The Brits are pissed that we’re pissed, but nobody is seriously talking about fundamental lifestyle changes or reigning in our out of control civilization and appetites.  All you’re hearing about is “reducing our impacts” in miniscule and minor ways, but this will never be enough to stop our ongoing headlong crash to self-destruction.

An extinction event that truly impacts ALL of humanity would be a blessing in disguise.  Make no mistake, as I am sure to be misquoted, nothing less then this is going to wake us up to our absolute foolishness and stupidity. I have come to realize that the “hope” that we will voluntarily change will not happen on a large enough scale otherwise.

This could happen with a giant methane “burp” which will dramatically affect our planet and atmosphere.  Or a super volcano spewing trillions of tons of ash.  Or an asteroid strike, even gigantic earthquakes.  But notice something here — it is going to take a dramatic environmental shift to wake us up.

That shift is actually already underway right now.  We call this climate change, widely documented as a happening event right now. Flooding happening right now in British Columbia, Arkansas, Oklahoma, tornadoes, hurricanes, polar melt, glaciers disappearing, species migrating, massive extinctions occurring right now. This is a slow-motion disaster taking an incremental toll every day.  But it is worsening.  If a sudden sea level rise were to occur like Greenland ice slipping into the sea, then this would be a “wake-up” event.  But I still think a sudden, faster event would be necessary, as detractors would still demand the business-as-usual even as our coastlines were drowned.

The abandonment of the business-as-usual model is an imperative, but this won’t happen until we learn our lesson, and that is highly doubtful.  We are too enamored with our own self-importance, our technology, our abilities and our perceived preeminence among all other life forms on this planet.  We think that we are the strongest choice with the most skills and abilities and our ability to adapt the environment to our every whim.  But we’ve got this all wrong as sociopaths always do — we have proven ourselves unable to adapt whereas all other species have adapted already.

Don’t expect or even plan for a sociological shift to make this happen. If that could have happened, it would have already. We humans are going to have to be forced to change by events that we cannot control.

And if that doesn’t happen, we are not going to survive.  This planet will reject us by our own hand, and become unlivable for human life.  We are already on the eve of destruction, if you look closely enough, you can see the signs of this everywhere.

I find the “Deepwater Horizon” moniker most interesting.  We are living on a horizon-event right now, the zero-point of human existence.  The fall from the apex of civilization to the depths of destruction is harder and faster then you may believe even possible.  But it has happened before, repeatedly, in mere months.  What do you honestly think can stop this?  There is nothing in existence that can.  Only the sheer momentum of our civilization is keeping us alive as we incessantly consume every last morsel of sustenance.

That can stop — in an instant.

Update: once again, I spoke too soon.  What’s wrong with the sun? depicts an event that could destroy life on Earth in a mere instant.

This lack of solar activity is just the opposite of what climate change deniers have claimed. But when the solar storms and sunspots return in full-force, it’s anybody’s guess how bad things will actually get on Earth.

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