Earth Day illusion

By Barry Weisberg
0 CommentsPrint E-mail, April 22, 2010
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Forty years after the first Earth Day in the United States the planet is more imperiled from human activity than ever before. Threats of the melting polar ice caps, global warming or species extinction are worsening qualitatively compared to the quantitative growth of the steps being taken to reverse the tide of destruction.


Earth Day blues  [By Jiao Haiyang/]

Human beings are the only species to occupy, dominate and threaten every ecosystem on earth. The system of production, distribution and consumption that has externalized environmental costs for hundreds of years has reached a tipping point. Complex ecological systems are disintegrating worldwide. Yet, business continues largely as usual. We have broken with the naïve evidence of things. Historically, when human cultures produced for their immediate use, the connection with the ecosystem was direct. As production for use was replaced with production for exchange, people became further and further removed from directly experiencing the ecosystems they inhabit. No amount of nature programs on television are a substitute for direct dependence on the land, air and water.

What is now being done in the name of "sustainable development" or a "green economy" may reduce the pace of destruction, but it will not be reversed. An April 12, 2010 article in Fortune Magazine identified 25 Green Myths, revealing the ineffective character of most of what passes as "going green." Not even a combination of market incentives, regulation and changing life styles, will be sufficient. The footprint of elites in countries and cities is not only unjust, but extremely vulnerable to even a slight disturbance, as the recent Icelandic volcano demonstrates.

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