The Need for a New Story

Last week in London, I had the privilege of meeting the theologian Martin Palmer. It was one of those encounters when after two hours, we obliged ourselves to continue another time, most likely over dinner, because this discussion could go on for many hours more.

Both of us strongly believe that there is something crucial missing in the conservation movement, that science and technology have taken the center stage, and that what is needed has been demoted to being insignificant. In a previous post, Conservation 2.0, I wrote how we must stop focusing on statistics and need to bring back a certain sense of mysticism and base our desire to change on values, and not just scientific reports. Yes science is good, as a tool, but not as the root of our actions.

Alongside this issue, I was glad to read two recent articles in the the New York Book Review, Age of Ignorance, by Charles Simic and Do We Need Stories, by Tim Parks.

Simic and Parks point out how our society (in this particular case, the U.S.A.) has glamorized ignorance, and embraced a shallow form of storytelling: “there’s more money to be made from the ignorant than the enlightened. A truly educated populace would be bad, both for politicians and for business”. Our society is filled with junk information. We live in an era of condensed opinionated “blips” of information, in which opinions are valued more than in-depth knowledge. Whomever shouts loudest is the one who will be seen as the expert. Facebook and Twitter are perfect tools for this type of narrative. News is reported in 140 characters or less, based on ever shorter attention spans. It is certainly not a lack of stories that is at the root of the problem, but a lack in the quality.

“Like” buttons will get you “involved” and grant you the title of being a “supporter” of pretty much anything. A cute image of a cuddly seal pup or any other baby animal will do wonders to attracted your attention. No need to know about the underlying studies, no desire to even question the statements made: a look into those big round eyes, suffices to form an opinion! We are gullible to anything that makes us go: “Ooooooh, how cute!” or “Arrrrgh, how gross!” Just look at what is popular on YouTube these days. “In the past, if someone knew nothing and talked nonsense, no one paid any attention to him.” says Simic

In his article Parks makes an observation that touches some of the issues regarding our perception of Nature.

“There are words that describe objects we make: to know the word “chair” is to understand about moving from standing to sitting and appreciate the match of the human body with certain shapes and materials. But there are also words that come complete with entire narratives, or rather that can’t come without them. The only way we can understand words like God, angel, devil, ghost, is through stories, since these entities do not allow themselves to be known in other ways, or not to the likes of me. Here not only is the word invented—all words are—but the referent is invented too, and a story to suit.”

Through our views based on science and technology, we have come to believe that nature is no different than a chair. We have stripped it of its sacredness and reduced it to a series of logical facts, from which we ultimately deduced – and finally claimed – our superiority. We have taken possession of the natural world by baptizing it with our taxonomy and putting it under our dominion. The next step was to personify nature, giving it a “Self”. Thus we have come to not only perceive ourselves superior to nature, but now we are making nature like us. This is really the world upside down.

Sadly much of the conservation and environmental community has been following this trend incessantly, dumbing down the storyline. No one wants to talk about values and mysticism, rather, they prefer to use climate-change scares or the plight of poor struggling creatures. The Anthropocene age has not only transformed the planet but also the stories with which we define our relationship with it. It would have been too good to be true if all our knowledge would have made us more humble, rather than haughty and if it had actually brought back the need for something sacred, instead of turning us into “Tweeting Gods”.

The Last Explorers 2

Thanks to James Cameron’s recent extraordinary journey to the bottom of the ocean, and other personal events, I felt the  need to write a second part to my previous post “The Last Explorers”.

Although I could have used a series of other excuses to justify continuing explaining my point about the declining of the spirit of exploration, it was a report on the BBC’s website that got me all itchy.

Journalist Rebecca Morell, on site in Guam, was doing an update right after Cameron had came back from the deepest place on Earth. The short interview featured on the web was so unprofessional, I asked myself if I had mistakenly switched to Fox News.

The other voice in the clip, a man at the BBC studio, started by saying: “This is supposed to be a bit of a race involving a team from Google and one sponsored by Richard Branson – but it is over before it really begun hasn’t it?”

Did anyone brief this person before he went on air? The race to reach the bottom of the Mariana Trench has been on for years – the last five mostly in secrecy. Tens of millions have been spent and three other teams have planned expeditions this year alone, DOER Marine, Virgin Oceanic and Triton Submarines. The race is not over before it begun, the race has been won!

Morell continued, cordially, informing him that it had indeed been a race with a winner. She then told how Cameron wanted to inspire a new era of ocean exploration. The man reciprocated: “It is a puzzling point though, if it has been done before because of a US navy team which reached the bottom of the Mariana trench 50 years ago, to what extent is it a pioneering dive that he has just completed ?”.

Seriously?

If that was not enough, they concluded the segment by pointing out that: “Some scientists question whether you actually need to have humans at the bottom to explore when you can do things like drop down underwater robots”.

This should have been a “walking on the moon” moment with the entire world (and most importantly the entire exploration community) celebrating. If this is true that some scientists really question the need to “Physically” explore the unknown, shame on them! Why go to Mars if we can send a robot? Why meet and talk to people in the flesh if you can do it online?

The other surprising fact was the almost total absence of two of the most legendary exploration clubs, the Royal Geographical Society and the Explorers Club. Founded in 1830, the RGS enshrines such famous names as Livingstone, Stanley, Scott, Shackleton, Hunt and Hillary. There was not a word about the expedition from them, not on their twitter site, nor their News site. The Explorers Club has members including the first man to reach the North and South Pole, the first to climb the summit of Mount Everest, and the first to step on the surface of the moon. Captain Don Walsh, former Honorary Club President, who was part of the first manned expedition to the bottom of the Trench was actually onboard with Cameron for this historical feat. Sadly, the Club only tweeted little bits about this groundbreaking event, and nothing was written on their News/Bog site. A pity and shame for these institutions who have the responsibility of carrying on the flame of exploration.

As many of you know, I am in the process of putting together a large expedition, a 6-year around the world sailing expedition, called E.P.I.C. Aboard two 35m aluminum hull sailing boats, with retractable keels, we will visit over 250 of the remotest islands in the world. Doing documentary film making, photography, conservation campaigns, and science projects, this endeavor is reminiscent of the Golden Age of maritime exploration. The budget is obviously huge and the challenges seemingly impossible. The reactions I usually get could be summed up in three words: “Really? Why? Good Luck!” No worries, I do get my share of encouragements, but last week I received a couple of comments that reminded me why I was sacrificing everything to make this project of mine happen.

The first one came from Prince Michael of Kent, whom I had the honor to meet in his office at Kensington Palace in London. Listening carefully to my presentation, his eyes opened up and I could see a glare in them. He looked at me and said: ”Finally! It is so refreshing to see that the real spirit of exploration, the one I grew up with, these big dreams of exploring the world, of not being afraid of leaving the comfort zone behind, do still exist. I am glad to know that the flame is not extinguished and is being carried on. Thank you”

The second comment came from Bill Vartorella, who is a fellow of both the Explorers Club and the Royal Geographical Society, and a member of the Overseas Press Club and Rotary. In his email, Mr. Vartorella said: “This is a gutsy expedition that cuts to the heart of grand exploration tradition (something abandoned by some organizations, as per vote of membership several years ago, re: grants), while embracing high-tech, with the ocean as central theme/connective tissue to past and present.   The intro and feel of your 30-page brochure are riveting. This is a great expedition!” 

It is always difficult to explain why I want to commit the next 10 years to a project that seems impossible. It is hard to find people that “get it”! When I see projects like Cameron’s journey to the ocean depths and when I get comments like those two last week, I am reminded that I am on the right track and that I don’t always have to explain my reasons. I just have to listen to that little voice inside of me that tells me to keep on going, and to keep pushing the envelope. One day, when I am on the boat, sailing the oceans like the great explorers of yesterday, all this hard work, all these days where I was left without a single penny, all this hardship, and all these days where I felt like abandoning the project, yet kept on going, to the disbelief of many, all this, will have been worth it. Because that is what these grand-scale expeditions are for, to remind us that everything is possible, that our dreams are never too big.

The Last Explorers

“That is the exploration that awaits you! Not mapping stars and studying nebula, but charting the unknown possibilities of existence.”  Leonard “Spock” Nimoy

A new show on BBC has left me with a sour feeling. It is not really that the show is bad, or that the host is annoying. It is not that the topic is stupid nor that the episodes are not interesting. It is rather the title that is raising a red flag in my unconscious explorer mind. Neil Oliver’s new show “The Last Explorers” tags itself as “a series on the golden age of exploration, charting the routes of contact that drew together the farthest reaches of the world”. They could have called the show “The First Explorers”, “The Great Explorers”, or simply “The Golden Age of Exploration”. Instead they chose to epitomize these men as the last of their kind, placing them in the same category as any other extinct species. Unfortunately, and sadly, that knot in my stomach, that needle in my brain, is there because I sadly agree with this statement.

A little bit more than a year ago, I attended the Royal Geographical Society’s Explore weekend and was enchanted by the speech of Arita Baaijens. As she described her journey through the desert with its violent sand storms, she concluded with one of the most sincere and refreshing types of advice I had heard in a very long time:

“…there’s a tendency to cover up expeditions and journeys with noble aims. Either to attract sponsors or to give the expedition a sexy or good feel. But most first timers GO without knowing why they want to follow the Amazon River or reach the North Pole, or cross the biggest desert. It’s an inner drive, and it’s quite a normal thing to do – that is why there are so many legends, myths, fairy tales about the Journey of the Hero (Joseph Campbell). Young people want to test their strength, find out who they are, and what their place in he world is. Those journeys are directed towards your inner world, about WHO am I and WHAT is my place in the world, see Tomson’s words. And when you have learned more about yourself, your motives, your prejudices and opinions, your place in the world, you are better equipped for another type of expedition, journeys of discovery directed towards the outside world, characterized by WHY & HOW. “

I think what “The Last Explorers” means is that the “spirit of exploration” has changed tremendously in the last decades, and for some, including myself, it is more of a loss than a gain. And nothing could be more evident to support this fact, than what is happening at the Explorers Club in New York at this moment.

During my first visit to this historical club – with legendary members such as Roald Amundsen, Sir Edmund Hillary, and Neil Armstrong, I was struck with disbelief when at the entrance to the main saloon, I saw a scale model of the ultra luxurious cruise ship “The World”. Was I at the right place? In the right building? Or had I mistakenly entered an Upper East Side travel agency for wealthy retirees? The latest events that have unfolded in the media seem to be zeroing in precisely on this existential issue. What is exploration? On one side are the “New School Explorers”, to whom exploration is a blend of commercial adventures surrounded by rich people that can pay their way. R.L. (his name is obviously not revealed) precisely embodies this new genre. He is a hedge fund manager from London who made good money and now can afford to “collect“ exploration badges, making him an “explorer”.  The man, who is more at home in Michelin star restaurants then in a bivouac, pays ridiculous sums to be taken into the wilderness by experts, then claiming the credit for himself. His latest adventure was in Antarctica, where he dished out close to £100,000 to get up and supposedly baptized an unnamed peak (needless to say, with a lot of help). His brashness goes so far, that he now gives talks to children on how to be an explorer! For this type of person, the Club is doing really well, befitting these “modern” times. The Club’s supporters defend their position by illustrating how the revenues have increased by adding new members like him – money much needed to renovate the crumbling building, suitably located between Madison and Park streets, on the chic Upper East Side, rather than funding new, real adventures.

On the other side are the “Old School Explorers”, who care more about the “Spirit of Exploration” – It is not what you do, but how and why you do it. The debate is surprisingly similar to what went on in the wine industry – old world wines which were generally subtle and complex, versus the new world wines, usually described as bold, sweet, simple, and with great emphasis on the packaging. At the end of the line, the core of the issue, whether it is exploration or food, is quite the same: Quality versus Quantity. Local or Global? Small or Big? Does exploration have a “Spirit” or is it an industry? And if it is an industry, then how can we commercialize it, make it grow and become more profitable? Herein lies the core of the question: Is bigger really better? – Which brings me back to Arita‘s statement.

Present day exploration could be divided into three categories:

  • A rich pastime
  • A personal ego-trip – the desire to break a record or make an environmental statement
  • A vague, virtual idea of discovering the planet from behind ones’ computer (see Nature is not in your computer).

It is no longer about wanting to disconnect from overbearing city-life to experience the unknown. It is no more about wanting to escape the crazy modern world to seek true, pristine wilderness. It is no more about a journey to discovering your inner self. What it is today, is a business! The magic of new discoveries has given place to self-centered claims of saving the planet.

I explore because for me, the world makes more sense out there, than here. I explore because nature humbles me. I explore because it reminds me that there is something bigger in life, something sacred and mysterious. I explore because it makes me a better person. And, I really wish we would hear the same narrative from other explorers more often. I just hope I am not part of a dying species!

“The real voyage of discovery consists not in seeking new landscapes, but in having new eyes.”  Marcel Proust

The Destructive Nature of Subsidies and Tax Breaks

Subsidies are prima facie evidence that consumers would not buy the product at its market price. They distort markets, compromising economic growth, breed corruption and undermine social welfare by foisting inferior or over-priced goods onto the market” Kenneth P. Green

Cities and markets have historically been created under pragmatic realities. Towns, villages, or any other settlement existed in logical places: by a river, by the sea or close to a trading road. Farming was possible where the soil was rich. Fishing was productive and worth it only if the gains outweigh the costs. The logic was quite simple and fair – either you can or you can’t.   If you could on some times, and not on others, than most likely you would adopt a nomadic lifestyle, looking for certain benefits in certain places on certain times. In this system, the value on goods was equal to the realities of producing it or getting it. It was, at the core of it, the real definition of a free market economy, where supply and demand drive the development and expansion of societies. If a resource was to be mismanaged, abused, and consequently lost, then logically the market and the people would react accordingly. Lessons would be learned and laws would be put in place trying to avoid the same mistakes to be repeated. Then the modern world invented subsidies and tax breaks.

Different from credit – an extension to fulfill an obligation, subsidies and tax breaks are inflationary tools that create a false reality. They support unrealistically what should not exist. Interestingly enough, the etymology of subsidy comes from sub “under, behind” and sedere “to sit”. One could easily concluded that the word was invented to illustrate something that remains still and unproductive. The headline: “EU Subsidies – Millions for Doing Nothing” does more than simply playing on the words. It highlights one of the most dangerous economical inventions our societies have now so well become depended on.

On the conservation and management of natural resources, subsidies and tax breaks are the most destructive force  ever existed. They take away any sense of responsibility and desire to manage with a long term approach. They entice people to be rewarded for being inefficient and corrupted. Giant corporations, with legal and financial power to lobby politicians, themselves in charge of allocating subsidies and giving tax breaks, usually end up siphoning most of the money while the small producers end up being short handed (click here for more information). Our history is filled with examples of how these practices only prolong the inevitable and unfortunately stagnant innovation.

How long would the whaling era have gone on without the subsidies?

Would whaling still go on today in Japan and Iceland? (see more info here)

Would our economy be so oil dependent if we paid the real price for oil?

What would happen if the oil companies did not benefit from any tax breaks?

Would our consumerism be so high if not subsidized?

Would corn and soy be everywhere if their subsidies were taken away?

What would happen if the richest countries did not spend $106 billion per year subsidizing their own farmers?

Would the ocean’s fish stocks be depleted if no subsidies existed? (see more info here)

Does it make sense to fill groceries stores in polar regions with ice cream manufactured thousands of kilometers away? (see video here) The insane thing is not the price they pay but the fact that we have created and supported an economy that is illogic, nonsensical and ludicrous.

Does it make sense for countries to still subsidize families for having children? Isn’t 7 billion enough?

Would our lives really be miserable without these fiscal illusions?

Would the Arctic and polar regions development made sense if governments didn’t help?

Is it viable to sustain a lifestyle that without these supports, would crumble into pieces?

Some say that if the subsidies are taken away, it will hurt major industries and people will loose their jobs. Maybe it is, but everybody will adapt and manage. It is better to deal with reality than fiction. Right now, fiction is king. Financially the world is broken down. The planet’s resources are seeing the end of the line. Our population is unstoppable, and still we look at ways to continue its trajectory.

It is as if a person had spent his salary even before receiving it, eaten away his yearly supply within the first month, and borrowing more than he could even repay in his lifetime, and tell him not to worry, just continue doing what you are doing, the government will back you up, no strings attached.

If we want to grow “sustainably”, the first and most important step will be to stop all subsidies and tax breaks. Obviously it is wishful thinking that will most likely never happen but we must at least look into it. The exercise is crucial to understand the conundrum at play. Energy subsidies, social subsidies, science subsidies, consumer subsidies, environmental subsidies, farming subsidies, and fishing subsidies are nothing more than old and inefficient ways to keep a status quo on declining and obsolete practices. They lure the population and governments into a fantasy world and false beliefs, making people cling on what has already past. Most importantly, they take away any sense of responsibility and accountability.

“Thanks to farm subsidies, the fine collaboration between agribusiness and Congress, soy, corn and cattle became king. And chicken soon joined them on the throne. It was during this period that the cycle of dietary and planetary destruction began, the thing we’re only realizing just now.”  Mark Bittman

Climate Change: Pointless Debate

Disclaimer: For the record, I am not financed by any  energy company, oil company, any other corporation, or even conservation organizations. I do believe in the global increase of temperatures and the catalyzing effect human’s society has had on this process.

In a recent article, Business: Blue and Green, the author Michael Sutton, Vice President at the Center for the Future of the Oceans, in Monterey, referred to a report published in 2009 by the Stanford University’s Center for Ocean Solutions. In it, the writers of the “Pacific Ocean Synthesis” concluded that climate change was the ultimate threat to the ocean and coastal environments. The second biggest threat was pollution and the third, overfishing.

In October 2011, Yale Environment 360 posted on their site that Europeans believed climate change was an even greater threat than the current economic crisis, and second worldwide only to poverty.

Back in November 2010, online magazine Grist bore the headline “Climate change and consumerism are the biggest threats to future, U.N.  warns”

In 2004, UK Government’s chief scientific adviser, Sir David King said climate change was the most severe problem faced by the world, even greater than terrorism.

Friends of the Earth, Europe, “the largest grassroots environmental network in Europe campaigning for sustainable solutions to benefit the planet, people and our common future”, goes as far as to demand climate justice! For this group and so many others, climate change is the biggest threat our planet is facing!

For others, it is the biggest threat our planet has ever faced! Bigger than the 1918 flu pandemic that killed 75 million people or 3% of the world population – the equivalent of 210 million today. Bigger than the Black Death, which between 1300s and 1720s killed more than 100 million people, roughly 25% of the world population back then – and equivalent to 2.25 billion people today. Bigger than smallpox, measles, malaria which, combined together have killed close to a billion people in the last century. Bigger than the first and second world war with casualties close to 100 million or the Lushan Rebellion that took away 15% of the world’s population back in 755.

Those are extremely serious statements!

What is climate change anyway? According to Wikipedia, it is “a significant and lasting change in the statistical distribution of weather patterns over periods ranging from decades to millions of years. It may be a change in average weather conditions or the distribution of events around that average (e.g., more or fewer extreme weather events). Climate change may be limited to a specific region or may occur across the whole earth.” 

By following the logic, climate change has essentially been a threat since the beginning of time. First, temperatures went down, then up, down, and finally slightly up again. At one point, glaciers covered most of the Americas. At another the Sahara was green. The fact is that temperatures on earth have been nothing but stable. It has been a constant roller coster with certain periods more drastic than others. At that point, the following argument is presented: “All these were not created by humans, like now”. Yes, I agree, so what?

Imagine a room full of people. Imagine all these people smoking cigarettes. The air fills up with smoke and various chemicals. The floor becomes thick with cigarette butts, making barely possible to move. Physically, people turn yellow, and constantly cough. When one of them dies, his chest is opened to reveal black asphalt-like lungs.  Yet we keep smoking. Puff after puff, gradually and surely, the air in the room becomes hotter and hotter. Whether it is all this combustion, or the fact that the smoke can’t escape, no one really knows, but then, who really cares? People live, breath and eat cigarettes. They sell packs of them to each other. The more they smoke, the better. This is called “growth”. Their lives are literally consumed by cigarettes. Then, one day, someone takes his shirt off sighing how hot it is. Sure enough, the group of people, now crammed by their numbers and the amount of trash they find themselves in, start to argue about the meaning of such a phenomenon. What could cause this unpleasant feeling? Or is it a pleasant one? Who really knows. One celebrates this new reality, he is more of a tropical type. While the other complains, he was more comfortable before. People take sides. Everybody has an opinion. Yet, people still smoke, because that is what these people do. Should they try to reduce the temperature? Maybe, but, how? One of them proposes to make cigarettes that make less smoke. Another comes up with the idea of making a machine that filters the smoke. Because the smoke is the enemy right? Or is it the cigarette? Why not start recycling them. Maybe that will fix the problem. How about creating biodegradable ones? Should they stop smoking? Preposterous! What are they going to do if they can’t smoke? The problem is not their habit of smoking, but rather how they smoke. There must be a solution somewhere that will fix this problem and keep them happy and smoking.

Our society is addicted to consumerism and whether climate change is a direct consequence, is absolutely irrelevant. Even if the world stopped today, even if the global economic power shut down tomorrow (which will not happen), temperatures would most likely still go up for god knows how long.

Instead of attacking the source of the problem, our lifestyle, our values, our system and its obvious, concrete, and irrefutable consequences – pollution, ocean acidification, disappearance of fish stocks, total destruction of the environment – so obvious in fact that no one can argue about them, we have had to focus our attention and debate on something so conceptual and evolutionary insignificant as the rise in temperatures on a global scale. In our view, it is not our lifestyle that is the biggest threat to the planet but rather an environmental event! It is not our unstoppable consumption, but rather a problem of applying it. We are the smartest species ever existed, the pinnacle of evolution, the enlightened ones. Or the elected ones, chosen by God – whatever God you believe in. How could we be at fault? How could our idea of growth and society be so erroneous?

Climate change is an economy of believers and deniers, with people in between who simply don’t know what to do. What can they do anyway? Sign a petition to curb carbon emission? Everyone who is not personally involved in the debate (meaning everyone that does not make a living out of the climate change debate) is honestly overwhelmed by the topic. What does climate change mean to them? Why is it that they have to make an effort while the economy and the governments are not? They have to feed their families, make a living and survive – what does climate change have to do with them?

Not only climate change is empty of any meaning, but it is also moving the most pressing issues away. Do we really need to focus on the melting glaciers, which have been melting for centuries (yes, even if they are melting faster now) when our rivers are loaded with chemicals, when billions of pounds of trash are dumped in the ocean, or when global energy demand, which is based largely on fossil fuels, is expected to increase 35% by 2030? Do we really need the face of a polar bear cub having a hard time finding food to remind us that we are doing something wrong? Our problem is straightforward: growth and consumerism. Unfortunately, as the Guardian points out, no one is ready to slow down:

The global mining, oil and gas industries have expanded so fast in the last decade they are now leading to large-scale “landgrabbing” and are threatening farming and water supplies, according to a report by environment and development groups in Europe, Africa and India. The catalogue of devastation is growing. We are no longer talking about isolated pockets of destruction and pollution. In just 10 years, iron ore production has more than doubled, coal has risen 45% and metals like lithium by 125%. Across Africa, Latin America and Asia, more and more lands, rivers and aquifers are being devoured by mining activities. “Industrial wastelands are being formed by vast open-pit mines and mountain top removal, and the poisoning of water systems, deforestation, and the contamination of topsoil,”

Or as the Economist puts it:

Like China, (India) is ploughing resources into nuclear power, oil-and-gas exploration and imports, and renewable energy. Like China, too, however, India finds coal the obvious option. It is something it has plenty of – already the world’s third – largest producer, it has the world’s fifth-biggest coal reserves. But it cannot exploit them fast enough to meet demand. In fact, output has not increased for two years. Coal India, the state monopoly, blames the difficulty of securing mining permits. So India may soon become the world’s biggest coal importer. On current trends, as estimated by McKinsey, India’s carbon emissions will increase by about two-and-a-half times by 2030, by which time its power industry alone will account for about one-tenth of the total rise in global emissions. Like China’s government, India’s points out that, per head, its people will still be producing far less carbon dioxide than Americans or Australians (though China is rapidly catching up with some European countries in pollution per person). And, in India’s case, total emissions (at 5 billion–6.5 billion tonnes) will remain well below China’s.

Andrew Simms, in the Guardian, writes about the lessons we could learn from previous collapsed societies. Still he fears that we are repeating the same mistakes: “our own response, reaching for the crutches of technological fixes and intensification in both agriculture and energy, are ways to keep our existing lifestyles and patterns of consumption going, rather than seeking out social innovations and different ways to live”.

Independently of the climate, our lifestyle is simply unsustainable. We can argue about how hot it is, or drill to find out what it was like million of years ago, but it will change absolutely nothing. It’s all part of a Kool-Aid we love to drink and debate on. Self centered and pretentious, we argue about the consequences while staying away from the real causes. Our god complex is so elevated that we need to place ourselves at the center of a planetary event.

Doomsday predictions on theories have always been good for movies and to sell newspapers and magazines but extremely hard for the public to grasp. Not because they don’t hold some truth, but simply because they are not physical. If the media was not there to constantly remind us, day after day, every single day of the year, that climate change is the biggest challenge our world is facing, no one would even notice. All these predictions end up sounding more like “end of days” prophecies, shouted to who ever wants to listen. And that is part of the problem. Climate change is an observation, or rather an ideology debated on beliefs. For some it will be good and for others, it will be bad. How can we compare that to historical and factual events where hundreds of millions died?

Lets stop wasting the hundreds of millions spent on a science that is highly questionable and biased, depending on which side you stand, and lets invest in ways to decrease our impact and perhaps rethink, and reassess the principles and values by which we live. Lets look at past Empires, Societies and Global Powers that have collapsed and learn from them. If we are so intelligent, it shouldn’t be a problem right?

“In our disenchanted, post-religious, ultra-technological era, catastrophes can no longer be rendered meaningful as part of a natural cycle or as an expression of divine wrath … like the anthropomorphic universe, magically designed for man’s comfort, the so-called balance of nature, which humankind brutally destroys with its hubris, is a myth … Catastrophes are part of natural history … Gradual or sudden change in our environment, about which science can do little more than offer a warning, may force unheard-of social and cultural transformations … Maybe it’s time to reverse our concept of what is possible and what isn’t; maybe we should accept the impossibility of omnipotent immortality and consider the possibility of radical social change. If nature is no longer a stable order on which we can rely, then our society should also change if we want to survive in a nature that is no longer the good caring mother, but a pale and indifferent one.”  Slavo Zizek