Colloquial Rants and Reasoning: End Civilization as we know it Part 7
Separation, Scarcity and the Soil
Humans are by nature an interdependent species. We start off completely helpless from birth and gradually, over many years learn to function. In prehistoric, nature based cultures, women could not easily fend for their selves while pregnant or rearing children. Also, the odor of menstruation was thought to frighten off game, disorient hunting dogs or in some cases send animals into a violent frenzy. So it fell to the men to do most of the hunting and defense. Even after full maturity, a single human was no match for the predators or the game animals of this time. So people found safety and sustainability in numbers and the tribe was born.
The tribal arrangement sustained our species for the overwhelming preponderance of its existence. Each member of the tribe was vital to the health and well being of the rest. Many of these tribes developed true unanimous democracies. Every member, woman or man, elder or child participated in the decision making processes and choices were not made until all points of view were considered. These systems would sometimes drag their feet toward producing results, but the mindset was that “your health and happiness equals my health and happiness”, so it worked. When the numbers grew too large and cumbersome to be supported by these systems, a group would simply split off to start a new unanimous democracy. Some tribes even became aware of the interdependence between species and different natural systems and factored them into decision making. This is something that mainstream science has only recently begun to grasp. This is the true nature of human beings; everyone is significant, everyone deserves the best of everything and everyone cooperates for everyone is seen as one.
I think civilization as we know it should end because it is destroying our natural propensity to truly care for one another, our tribal nature. It blinds us with the illusion of self; it glorifies independence and professes dualism of people as a matter of fact. Charles Eisenstein writes “The logical conclusion of dualism—that Other is important only to the extent it affects Self—is a hidden abscess constantly leaking poison into the body of our civilization. It is a universal acid that erodes away the core of any system of morals, ethics, and responsibility, which readily succumb to a succession of pragmatic "Why should I's?" In addition to ripping apart our collectivistic sense of community, dualism has driven wedges between men and women, hearts and minds; it has placed the soul over the body and pitted humans against nature.
I wanted to avoid the wilds in this argument. Our culture seems about as desensitized to environmental issues as we are to T.V. violence. We’ve all heard it before: global warming, climate change, the extinction of species, mountain top removal, vanishing islands, deforestation, and the list goes on and on. But we allow it to continue like it somehow does not affect us. Fact of the matter is, whether we like it or not, whether we believe it or not, we are part of nature. So why is this happening? The answer is easy; civilization rewards it. It bestows power, control and wealth to whoever rapes the Earth. It makes it permissible to seize resources and hold them for ransom which in turn creates scarcity.
I think civilization as we know it should end because civilization creates scarcity with the destruction or seizure of free natural abundance. Most Americans are oblivious to the fact that North America once supported millions of mega fauna like mastodon and mammoth and later millions of people naturally. The area where I live, known as the Ohio Valley was part of what anthropologists refer to as the “Woodland Tradition” during pre-Columbian times. The indigenous people of this region were not nomads and they did very little cultivating. They settled and lived off the fat of the land. Fish, fruit, foliage and fauna were abundant and the people understood the importance natural diversity. The people of other pre-colonized lands that were not as abundant were always attentive to the carrying capacity of the land. Their practices allowed them to thrive for thousands of years with no money. So what happened to the free natural abundance in the world? Think about it. If the streets were lined with fruit trees and bushes free for all to share, if you could go trap and bag your own meat free whenever and where ever you wanted, the grocery stores could not sell you food. Trucks and trains wouldn’t have to deliver food from the periphery to the core and oil companies wouldn’t sell near as much gas. Free natural abundance is good for people, but bad for business so it was kidnapped and is now held for ransom. Now, as if this isn’t thoroughly appalling, the bad news. Enough with this “keep your chin up” twaddle, we need to look down!
“In North America,[annual] agriculture has been responsible for 66% of the soil loss”
“topsoil is eroding faster than it can be replaced”
“A few basic principles of the earth's life in the cosmos have now been established. Balance is cosmic law. The earth revolves around the sun in a finely tuned balance. The heat budget of the planet is a finely tuned balance. If the incoming heat declined, we would freeze or if the planet did not dissipate heat properly we would burn up. The climax ecosystem maintains a balance and stability century after century as the diverse flows of energies constantly move and cycle within it. In the same manner the human body maintains balance (homeostasis) while motion of blood, digestion and cell creation, flow within it.
The life of the earth is fundamentally predicated upon the soil. If there is no soil, there is no life as we know it. (Some micro-organisms and some other forms might still exist). The soil is maintained by its vegetative cover and in optimal, balanced health, this cover is the natural climax ecosystem.
If one can accept these few simple principles then we have established a basis of communication upon which we may proceed. Anyone who cannot accept these principles must demonstrate that the world works in some other way. This must be done quickly because the life of the planet earth hangs in the balance.
We speak to our basic condition of life on earth. We have heard of many roads to salvation. We have heard that economic development will save us, solar heating will save us, technology, the return of Jesus Christ who will restore the heaven and the earth, the promulgation of land reform, the recycling of materials, the establishment of capitalism, communism, socialism, fascism, Muslimism, vegetarianism, trilateralism, and even the birth of new Aquarian Age, we have been told, will save us. But the principle of soil says that if the humans cannot maintain the soil of the planet, they cannot live here.” ~William H. Koetke
"North America was once covered in forests so thick that a squirrel could theoretically travel from Maine to Texas without touching the ground.... There were rivers that swelled in their seasons, covering the land with a wild and tender flood of fertility, and wetlands that released the water like a long, slow sigh.”~ Lierre Keith
“It's often said that the ability to recognize patterns is one of the signs of intelligence. So, I'm going to list a pattern here, and let's see if we can recognize it in less than five or six thousand years. When you think of the plains and hillsides of Iraq, is the first thing that you think of normally cedar forests so thick that sunlight never touches the ground? That's how they were.
The first written myth of this culture is Gilgamesh going in and deforesting those hills to make cities. When you think of the Arabian peninsula, is the first thing that you think of oak forest? That's what it used to be. Let's move a little bit west, and you get the cedars of Lebanon. They still have one on their flag.
Plato was commenting on how deforestation was destroying the springs and rivers in Greece. And I'm sure that those in power said, Well, we need to study it a little bit longer first, to make sure there's a connection. Greece was heavily forested, Italy was heavily forested, North Africa was heavily forested.
Any way of life that's based on the use non-renewable resources and based on the hyper-exploitation of (so-called) renewable resources... Any way of life that perceives the world around them as consisting of resources and not beings and communities to enter into these reciprocal relationships with, is going to destroy its land base.” ~ Derrick Jensen
"The thin mantle of topsoil, measured in inches over most of the earth, is the foundation of civilization. When earlier civilizations lost their productive topsoil from mismanagement and erosion, they crumbled as their food supply shrank. With an estimated 36 percent of the world's cropland now losing topsoil at a rate that is undermining its productivity, our food security is also at risk if this trend continues.
As pressures to expand food production have climbed, farmers have been forced into marginal areas, plowing land that is too dry or too steeply sloping to sustain cultivation. At some point probably within the last century, the long-term accumulation of topsoil was reversed as erosion losses surpassed new soil formation, leading to a gradual depletion of this basic natural capital.
The United States, the world's breadbasket, has undergone two periods of extensive overplowing, each of which led to heavy losses of topsoil. The first occurred in the early 1930s when a severe multiyear drought led to extensive wind erosion in the southern Great Plains. The resulting environmental devastation not only gave the era its name, the Dust Bowl, but it triggered one of the largest internal migrations in U.S. history as droves of people left the southern Great Plains and headed west for California.
After new agricultural practices were adopted in response to the Dust Bowl, such as planting windbreaks and strip-cropping land, with alternate-year fallowing, the soil was stabilized. But as demand for food began to climb rapidly after mid-century, and as grain prices reached record highs during the 1970s, farmers again began plowing from "fencerow to fencerow"—planting everything in sight. By 1982, the United States was losing annually an estimated total of 3.08 billion tons of topsoil from its cropland.
In contrast to the Dust Bowl, when wind erosion in the Great Plains was the problem, this time it was mostly water erosion in the Corn Belt. In states such as Iowa, with its rolling farmland, farmers were losing almost 20 tons of topsoil per hectare each year from water erosion. A dozen U.S. studies analyzing the effect of erosion on land productivity found that losing an inch of topsoil reduced corn and wheat yields an average of 6 percent. With nature needing centuries to form an inch of topsoil, current losses are irreversible if time horizons are measured on a human time-scale." ~ Lester R. Brown
Okay, it's me again, this brings me back to scarcity, but a scarcity of another kind which could very well be the end of civilization as well as life as we know it.
Civilization also creates scarcity of worldviews or ways of seeing the world. Most of us in Westernized Society or the so called “developed” world are in many ways led to believe our cultures are superior in most every way. It is assumed every government should be a republic; every economy should be monetarily based and the world is a throng of resources separate from ourselves to be tamed and exploited. It is implicit that Western ways should be embraced in areas of education, family, medicine, business, agriculture and even religion. These principles have been perpetuated for centuries around the world and penetrate nearly every aspect of alien cultures they come in contact with. Could you imagine being forced to adhere to something you don’t believe in? After a few generations, these alternative worldviews become mutated, diluted or are erased all together. What will happen when all alternative worldviews are extinct? What will happen when a global civilization is all that is known and it collapses? In human history, this has never happened. In the past civilizations were largely isolated from one another. One would collapse every now and then, but others would press on. In many ways this global civilization has already been achieved.
One more quote
“Every human society that has relied on annual crops as staple foods in their diet has collapsed; every single one. Every human society from the temperate zone to the tropics that has relied on annuals to feed itself, is now gone. And the rich, abundant ecosystems where their temporary societies once flourished have been rendered into dust.~ Mark Shepard
Humanity: Whether you like it or not, you're part of it , so come check it out.
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