How Sex, Politics, Money and Religion are Killing Planet Earth

Thursday, January 27, 2011

The Ideological Opposition of Contemporary Patriarchal Monotheistic Christianity and Environmentalism

“Dear Mrs. Wood, I have read a few posts on your blog and found it to be very interesting. But I am curious: what you mean by saying religion is killing the planet? This is a very important question for me because I’m a Christian and sometimes I have to make a choice whether to follow my religion’s beliefs or be green (-S).”
One of the primary premises of killing Mother is that contemporary patriarchal monotheisms are a leading cause of planetary ecological demise. While, I inherently know this to be true, at times I have struggled with developing correlations based on precise data. Much of the supporting evidence is thousands of years old and subject to interpretation. The argument also depends on the personal attitudes of religious adherents. Not being a particularly reverent person, I cannot speak for the truly faithful, so I really love it when someone contacts me with questions like S.

Over the past week or so, I have been enjoying an ongoing conversation with S. Although I do not know her personally, I can tell from our communications that she is a conscientious individual who is clearly torn between her instinctive desire to do right by the planet and the dogma with which she has been raised. Some of her concerns are as follows:

• Christians must first think about salvation, not about nature.

• People who arrange protests against other people or government are violating Jesus’ commandments.

• We need to be fruitful and multiply. Choosing to restrict the number of children a person has violates God’s laws.

• If we do not follow God’s laws in this life, we will suffer.

• Environmentalism is becoming a religion, and God says we should have no other gods but Him.

I am thankful to S. for enunciating in such concise terms the struggles that modern Christians are grappling with. These concerns are particularly relevant, as a Gallup poll found that a full one-third of Americans accept the Bible as literal truth. Another half of Americans believe the Bible is inspired by God, leaving a mere 20% who think the Bible is “an ancient book of fables, legends, history and moral precepts recorded by man (1).”

The problem in refuting some of S’s fears is that in order for religion to survive at all, it demands blind faith. S’s concerns are based on a belief that the Bible is literal truth. The fact that this same 3,000 year old document has some aspects that are historically and scientifically questionable is of no concern to fundamentalists. Their faith demands they do not examine the inconsistencies of scripture and that to do so is blasphemy. Consequently, having a strictly rational debate with a fundamentalist is a somewhat tall order.  Predictably, the religious follower will cite the infallibility of an obviously flawed document, the Bible, as the basis for all argument.  Inconsistencies are dismissed as the inability of mere mortals to understand the intentions of God.

Nevertheless, and while I know words will probably be wasted on those who cite a single document to prove its own the validity, I will address each of S’s concerns below:

Christians must first think about salvation and not nature
The above sentiment is precisely why religion is killing the planet. On a global scale, one-third of the Earth’s population professes to be Christian with a further 22% claiming the faith of Islam, another monotheism that strives for an other-world salvation (2). A full half of the world’s population is looking to a mythical life and habitat after this one, believing that this reality (certainly the only one for which we have any proof) is of no consequence.

The people who eschew the living world for a mythical one have been duped by their religious leaders. In fact, this is not a sentiment that the Bible expresses at all. Jesus - a man for whom I have great admiration in the vein of MLK, Buddha and Gandhi – spent his lifetime presenting an example of exemplary living on this Earth. He cared for the poor, sick and socially-rejected in his Earthly lifetime and even contended that “the kingdom of God is among you (Luke 17:21).” Even the often-brutish patriarch of the Old Testament contends “The Lord your God is indeed God in heaven above and on Earth below (Joshua 2:11).” If the Earth is in fact also God's kingdom, then seemingly it would be the ultimate blasphemy to defile it.

In reality, political and economic elites have discovered a captive audience. A population that is willing to accept just about anything on faith is primed for manipulation. In order to gain control of the religious population, first conservatives claim they are the only true political party of God. By standing by a few “moral” issues, such as abortion and gay marriage, which they contend have a Biblical basis (that same old use the document to prove the document fallacy), they are able to cement this delusion. The corporate sponsors of the GOP have a vested interest in being allowed to run riot across the planet without pesky regulations or environmental protections. Ultimately, and through a clever crafting of the minds of the faithful, the religious, economic and political messages become blurred. The scientific fact of global climate change is now a religious issue, and capitalism is as chaste a dogma as scripture. Don’t worry about the planet, your salvation lies in heaven is a mantra that serves the economic power elite and their paid-for Republican lap dogs very well. In fact, so the theory goes, if you hasten the demise of the planet, you will accelerate “the rapture,” and your heavenly reward will come that much sooner.

Adding further insult to injury, Christians that are raising up their arms as they stampede the planet looking forward to a rapturous climax should be aware that the entire concept of the rapture does not appear anywhere in Biblical scripture. The rapture was invented by a young Scottish woman in 1830, caught fire in the revival tents of North America during the late 19th and early 20th centuries and then was popularized by the fictitious “Left Behind” series authored by evangelicals Tim LaHaye and Jerry Jenkins (3). The tragedy of the rapture is twofold. Millions of people are betting their whole lives on a fictitious fabrication, while simultaneously and eagerly hastening the demise of the only home they have in the process.

People who arrange protests against other people or government are violating Jesus’ commandments.
The above statement is another example of the faithful not reading or understanding their own gospel and relying on ministers or other power elites who benefit from a warped interpretation of scripture. Jesus was the ultimate rebel. He threw the moneylenders out of the temple, rose up against the established power hierarchy as a voice for the disenfranchised and was ultimately executed as a political prisoner. If Jesus were alive today, what would He do? Would he side with the wealthy corporate interests that are actively destroying Creation in the pursuit of capital gain? I have a feeling he would protest against them.

We need to be fruitful and multiply. Choosing to restrict the number of children a person has violates God’s laws.
In Genesis 1:28, the Old Testament patriarch instructs humans to “fill up the earth and subdue it.” Written from a compilation of texts dating to approximately the 10th, 8th and 6th centuries B.C.E. (4), the view from the deserts of the Middle East, where the authors of the text were located as many as 3,000 years ago, was quite different from the world we live in today.

To say that life was difficult for the early Hebrews would be an understatement. The desert landscape in which they attempted to carve out a meager pastoral existence was unforgiving. The Hebrews lived intermittently in exile or under the suppression of powerful Egyptian elites. Infant mortality rates were around 50%. The small tribes struggled to maintain their numbers. Population growth was not a concern, since the opposite reality, extinction, was a far more likely scenario. Furthermore, nature was a fearsome adversary. Her predatory allies annihilated flocks in the fields and her insect pestilences wiped out harvests. Subduing nature to some extent was imperative for survival.

We have been good sheep. We have filled up the Earth and subdued it. Any natural habitat the human race has set its sights on has been rapidly dispatched in the modern era. Our species has been so fruitful, that the Earth is having trouble providing adequate shelter, nutrition and access to clean water for many of our numbers.

The Bible does not offer any instruction as to what to do once the commandment has been fulfilled, but nowhere in the Bible does God suggest that people engage in behavior that is counter-intuitive to survival. One can but assume that He, in his literally infinite wisdom, would not have given us the ability to make rational, reasonable choices only to insist that we defy that same reason and precipitate our own extinction, which is what we are doing with continuing to populate a planet that is already overpopulated.

If we do not follow God’s laws in this life, we will suffer.
Of the half of the world’s population that subscribes to the dictates of Yahweh, Allah, Elohim, or whatever name they are giving the one patriarchal God, hundreds of millions are living in poverty and/or dying of starvation. Many of the faithful sufferers of poverty are here in the United States. To this, believers insist that their reward will be in the afterlife, which is an easy, unprovable answer. Why not take care of the faithful today? Why make them suffer? The religious respond, we cannot know the ways of God. It seems the faithful are all too willing to let God off the hook for his false promises. Our suffering has nothing to do with God’s condemnation of our Earthly activities. The sufferings of humanity are inflicted exclusively by our collective societal failings and nothing else.

Environmentalism is becoming a religion, and God says we should have no other gods but Him.
Many people, both religious and non-religious, construe taking care of the planet with witchcraft and the new age Wiccan revival. In fact, many religious groups advocate the care of nature. Hinduism, Buddhism and the myriad religions of indigenous cultures across the globe recognize Earth as a divine entity to be respected and cared for. One could argue that only the patriarchal monotheisms are antagonistic to environmental protection; hence, the subject matter of this posting.

If one’s religious orientation inclines them towards environmentalism, I say “bravo,” but environmentalism is not synonymous with witchcraft or any other religious doctrine. The realities of what we are doing to our planet are indisputable scientific facts. We are impairing Earth’s atmosphere, oceans, biotic systems and land bases at a rate that far exceeds the natural capacity to regenerate. This reality has nothing to do with God or Goddess or anything else other than human abuse and neglect.

God should not be the heavenly answer or the Earthy excuse for our inaction, but for any Christians out there who still may have doubts about protecting our precious planet, I submit the following quotations:

“The land shall not be sold in perpetuity, for the land is mine; with me you are but aliens and tenants. Throughout the land that you hold, you shall provide for the redemption of the land (Leviticus 25:23-25).”

“Ah, you shepherds of Israel who have been feeding yourselves! Should not the shepherds feed the sheep (Ezekiel 34:2)?”

“Is it not enough for you to feed on the good pasture, but you must tread down with your feet the rest of your pasture? When you drink of clear water, must you foul the rest with your feet? And must my sheep eat what you have trodden with your feet, and drink what you have fouled with your feet (Ezekiel 34:18-20).”

“The nations raged, but your wrath has come, and the time for judging the dead, for rewarding your servants, the prophets and saings and all who fear your name, both small and great, and for destroying those who destroy the earth (Revelation 11:18).”

“But ask the animals, and they will teach you; the birds of the air, and they will tell you; ask the plants of the earth, and they will teach you; and the fish of the sea will declare to you. Who among all these does not know that the hand of the Lord is the life of every living thing… (Job 12:7-10).”

1- Statistics are from Gallup on the World Wide Web at

2- Statistics on world wide religious practice on the World Wide Web at

3- An interesting summary of the origins of “the rapture.” Those interested in more information should follow the links and sources mentioned in the document.

4- All Biblical quotations and information in this post are taken from The Harper Collins Study Bible – New Revised Standard Version (1993).

Monday, January 24, 2011

The Myth of the Social Welfare State and Other False Economies of Free Market Capitalism

"If a free society cannot help the many who are poor, it cannot save the few who are rich (John F. Kennedy)."

Contrary to popular cultural lip service, we are not all created equally. Some are tall. Some are short. Some are large and some are slight. A few have the gift of genetic beauty, while others do not. A few are born with precious metal tableware in their mouths, and many are born into poverty. We are unequal from birth and increasingly the circumstances established at that time will probably determine if we ever get a fair shot at success in life.

Compare the lives of two children in American, one born into poverty in an urban slum and the other born into privilege in the suburbs. From birth, the two children will experience very different realities. If he even survives his first year (babies born in the intercity in America have an infant mortality rate almost twice as high as other babies in America (1)), the child from the slum probably faces immediate disadvantages such as being born to a mother who received little or no prenatal care. Many intercity areas do not have grocery stores stocked with such basic food items as fresh fruit and vegetables. The underprivileged child will contend with inadequate nutrition from the minute of his birth. Surrounded on a daily basis by despair and/or violence, he will never know the feeling of security. He will grow up learning one has to embrace violence as a means of self-preservation, thus ensuring a vicious cycle of devastation.

When the child from the slums goes to school, he will attend an institution that is far inferior to most other schools in terms of academic standards. His stressed teachers will be underpaid and harried in overcrowded classrooms. Those students who cannot swim by themselves are left to sink. He will be further educationally disadvantaged by a prevalent culture that has become apathetic about the American dream. Why try to learn anything when you can’t go anywhere anyway? If by some miracle the child manages to rise above his environment, do well in school and get into college, he will be saddled with student loan debts that will hobble him for a significant portion of his working life.

The child born to prosperity has an entirely different experience in the world. Excellent prenatal care precedes his entry into the world, where for the first few months of his life his nutrition will be carefully monitored as he attends Mommy and Me classes. If his mother works, a thoroughly-screened and qualified nanny will be on hand to cater to his every whim.

During his primary years of schooling, he will be treated to a comprehensive private education, specifically-targeted to get him into the best college. He will have classrooms with student-teacher ratios that allow for individual attention. If he suffers from any hardship, his parents will employ tutors, counselors and specialists to make sure that he reaches his optimum potential. When he gets accepted into college, mummy and daddy will have an education fund available that will pay for all of his expenses.

As the child from the ghetto and the child of privilege enter adulthood to become productive members of society, who could insist the two are on equal footing? But that is exactly what free market advocates would have us do.

Invoking twisted Darwinian logic - which is particularly vexing since the same adherents almost always simultaneously dismiss the scientific fact of evolution – neoliberal dogma contends that our essential equality creates a level playing field in which the fittest will thrive and rise to the top of society. Those who do not prosper have nobody but themselves to blame. The poor are lazy and looking for a hand out. By offering the underprivileged basic human necessities, like shelter, food, clothing and a modest monthly stipend to live off, we are only encouraging sloth, so the theory goes.

Having spent a large portion of the past 20 years living and working in developing countries, I have spent a lot of time with poor people of all races. Unlike the conservative assessment, I discovered human beings almost universally want to contribute in meaningful ways to their communities. The poor are almost invariably hard working. Many hold down two or more grueling jobs. Perhaps the gravest insult is that heaved upon “welfare mothers.” Why is it okay for a wealthy woman to choose to be a stay at home mom, while a poor woman is expected to work in a menial job outside the home to make ends meet? In my life, I have encountered few souls whom I would consider to be “unemployable” or “lazy,” and the exceptional few are more likely to be the unwitting victims of mental illness rather than indolent good-for-nothings.

In the recent mid-term election, Republicans paid a lot of lip service to cutting government spending. A quick perusal of their targeted budget items include spending cuts in education, Medicaid, The Corporation for Public Broadcasting, The National Endowment for the Arts, The U.S. Agency for International Development. All in all, Republicans are proposing cuts of $2.5 trillion over the next 10 years in the name of austerity. We need to tighten our belts, they contend. But, there are no proposed cuts for subsidies to the wealthiest corporations on Earth, like Exxon. In fact, the economic burden born by the richest among us will be dramatically reduced in the form of tax cuts and credits. Apparently only the poor and middle class need to be austere in these pressing times.

The truth that is not widely reported by Republicans or the corporate-owned media is that not providing for the poor and underprivileged is a very misguided and false economy. The political sound bytes sound appealing. None of us wants to send our hard-earned tax dollars to human parasites who just want to mooch off the system. But the truth is that by not providing for the poor and underprivileged, we are creating a larger economic and societal burden for ourselves.

How desperate would you be as a parent if, in spite of all your efforts, you could not get a job, your unemployment insurance ran out, your rent was due, and you were out on the street with your children? Would you steal food or even someone’s wallet to put food in your children’s mouths? I would. In fact since President Clinton “reformed” the welfare system, crime has exploded and the number of individuals now in the corrections system, including those in jail, on probation and on parole, has doubled (2). With approximately 1 in every 100 Americans now in prison (1 in 31 is in the corrections system), the United States now has the unflattering distinction of having the largest documented per capita jail population on Earth (3). If a person is born into poverty, the statistics are even more grim. One in every 36 Hispanics and possibly as many as 1 in 15 African Americans is now jailed (4). Instead of writing welfare checks, we are sending money to the state penitentiaries. The average cost of imprisonment runs about $29 thousand annually per inmate, and this figure does not include the external costs of law enforcement and the judicial system.

Something about austerity doesn’t bode well for society. People who are desperate and disenfranchised by society have nothing to lose by becoming career criminals. Cutting aid to the poor is false economy and does not save taxpayers money. Such actions simply redirect society’s cash from charitable causes into the highly lucrative private prison industry. Who would you rather support? I personally would like to endow every child with every tool necessary to assure he reaches his maximum potential rather than leaving him to the proverbial dogs and supporting him as a career criminal for the rest of his life.

In reality, elite conservatives don’t really believe we are all equal. They think they are better than everyone else. They aren’t alone. All those people who elected the new Republican House of Representatives hoping to “cut spending” were also looking down their noses at the poor and underprivileged. Ironically, many of those same voters are not very well off themselves. While we can certainly blame these voters for their prejudicial attitudes, we also have to admit they are merely products of a culture that bases a person’s value on their net worth.

In the United States of America, all people are not equal, but in a moral and just society, everybody should have a right to equal treatment and opportunity. In a country that prides itself on these values, we should at least ensure that every child born in America has access to a safe, clean roof over his head, a good education, clean water, nutritious food, a safe environment, clean air and a college education if he is academically so-inclined. Until such a time that these basic necessities of human decency are met, we should spit in the faces of anyone who judge and condemn the poor to lives of misery from their elitist ivory towers.

1- Statistic from the World Wide Web at
2- Statistics from Pew Research by Reuters on the World Wide Web at
3- Statistics from the World Wide Web at
4- Ibid.

Friday, January 21, 2011

A Tale of Two Kitties - The Modern Failure of Natural Human Selection and what it Means for Mother Earth

Every sperm is sacred.
Every sperm is great.
If a sperm is wasted,
God gets quite irate.
-Monty Python

Seven years ago, give or take a few months, my beagle Prudence found a newborn kitten in my front yard. The kitten had suffered an injury to its leg and had been abandoned by its mother. The umbilical cord was still attached at the kitten’s abdomen and he was even a bit sticky. What is a person expected to do in such circumstances?

I brought the pathetic creature into the house, dressed its wound and thus began several weeks of sleep-deprived nights, bottle feeding the babe like it was one of my own. I never really expected the wretched being to survive, but survive he did. For some unknown reason, the cat became known around our house as Wasabi Jones (Jonsie, or Mr. Jones for short).

Within several months the ravenous waif evolved into a robust feline, but soon it become apparent that something was not quite right with our Mr. Jones. He drooled a lot, was overly-affectionate at times and then out of the blue, and for no apparent reason, would viciously attack whoever was unfortunate enough to be in his crosshairs (political pun intended). Sometimes these attacks would happen when one was sound asleep in bed. Not nice.

At first we brushed off Jonsie’s psychopathy as the maladaptive behavior of a young cat that didn’t have the benefit of growing up around other kittens. He would grow out of it. But 7 years later, he hasn’t. For seven years, we have nurtured, cared for and tried to love this fellow mortal, but he has made it very difficult. While he seems to be of reasonable intelligence – he holds his own against the other cats and even managed to hunt down a rabbit once (actually probably just another symptom of his lunacy) – he seems to lack the ability to connect on any level with the other organisms who share his domicile.

After a recent, bloody attack and having done some current reading on psychological dysfunction for some previous blog posts, it occurred to me that our Mr. Jones is a feline sociopath. 7 years ago when his mother gave birth to him and then instantly discarded him on my front lawn, she must have had some inkling of how he would turn out. Felines and all other members of the animal kingdom seem to have an innate sense to dispose of the genetically unfit. Mother birds boot the weak out of the nest. Mice, rats and rabbits eat their less than par progeny. If I knew then what I know now about my psycho kitty, I would have taken him into the woods and let nature have her way.

Don’t get me wrong, I love Wasabi Jones now that he is part of my family. I put up with him and my husband and adult children also seem to accept his presence in our home as a cross we all must bear (unless there are any Good Samaritan takers out there in the blogosphere:). But, when I took in what Jones’ mother, in her instinctive wisdom, threw away, I committed a natural no-no. Why did I do this? Because I am a product of Western culture.

Contemporary society demands acceptance to the creed that every human life is sacred. Some even contend that fertilized human eggs should be extended Constitutional rights. I say there are too many people in the world and we should seriously consider reasonable population controls (no I am not suggesting any form of genocide), but that is fodder for another blog post. I personally don’t think every sperm is sacred, but I do have a problem turning my back on any living thing in need; thus, I am suffering the consequences. Nature has a kind of brutal beauty that regularly sacrifices the few for the sake of the many. Those who are unfit are recycled back into the system to take up shape in new life forms. Humans are clogging up the system with too much Homo sapiens biomass.

After Wasabi Jones came to inflict himself on us, we were visited by two more kitties. The first, Peter Snowball, was a stray from school who came home in one of the kids’ jackets on a cold winter’s night. Peter wasted no time getting comfortable, immediately gained about 10 pounds, and has been a loving, contributing member of our household ever since.

The next feline acquisition came in the form of a brazen intruder. My husband was collecting his boots from the mudroom one day and was greeted by a small black kitten sitting on a shelf. Loco Stinky is now three years old and continues to be brazen, but she too is a loving, contributing member of our household.

The tale of the two kitties Snowball and Stinky – contrasted with that of Wasabi Jones - is one that demonstrates the wisdom of natural selection. Both felines must have faced extreme adversity immediately after coming into the world, and their survival is a testament to their genetic and social fitness. Snowball lived for over a year off the kindness of strangers, begging for french fries and other unwanted scraps at the school’s dining hall. His winning personality ensured his survival by this methodology.

Stinky survived as only the fittest can. Weighing in at a few mere ounces, she had to brave Bruce the 150 lb. wonderdog and the beagle on the porch to make it into the house. Once inside, she cemented success by being personable enough not to end up on Craigslist. Through a combination of sociability and street smarts the two naturally-selected, fit kitties managed to arrange pretty decent lives for themselves.

For a long time, the problem with the cat society in the Wood household was that originally, the psychopath ruled the roost. Knowing he could be subjected to a brutal attack without provocation, the more mild mannered Snowball submitted at every confrontation. Wasabi Jones claimed all the choice turf (like the master bedroom) for himself and dominated at the food dish. With the introduction of the bold and beautiful Stinky, who is unwilling to take any shit from anybody, and the benefit of numbers, Stinky and Snowball have managed to turn the tide of power. Stinky has not only liberated herself from the tyranny of Wasabi Jones, but in doing so has freed Snowball from his life of subjugation. Sanity has been restored.

While compelling in its own right, the above narrative of my three cats has a telling parallel in the human world. Anthropologist Ruth Benedict once theorized that throughout history the world has had “good” cultures and “bad” cultures, with the good cultures, being peaceful and ecologically sustainable and bad cultures being warring and environmentally-destructive.

Benedict’s research found that good cultures were characterized by egalitarian and communal rather than hierarchical and individualistic social and economic structures. In the good societies, people who blatantly accumulated resources and who were prone to violence and greed were ostracized. In the “bad” societies, those individuals who dominated through violence and accumulation were exalted to positions of authority in the hierarchy. Western culture today would fall into the “bad” category here.

In the modern world, he who possesses the most weapons of mass destruction and the most predatory economic model wins. But it doesn’t have to be this way. Peace-loving, sane people who really don’t want more than their fair share of resources are a majority. The problem is that the few aggressive psychotics have intimidated everyone else into submission. Like Snowball and Stinky, we need to take the Earth back from the lunatics and restore sanity before it is too late.

Recommended Reading
The Chrysanthemum and the Sword by Ruth Benedict

Wednesday, January 19, 2011

Changing History – Time for a New Revolution

There are a few singular events in time that have altered the course of human history. At the time of the transpiring, few could see the impact the events would have on the future of the world, but in hindsight, we are where we are today because of them. On August 20th, 1940, Leon Trotsky was killed with an ice pick, thus probably ending the only chance the world would ever have to develop a truly democratic socialist state.
The American history of our childhoods records the Russian Revolution as a single event that began with the October Revolution in 1917 and ended with the collapse of the Berlin Wall in 1989. In standardized U.S. history, all Soviet leaders are tarred with the same “communist” dictator brush. We are taught that communism and totalitarianism are synonymous, and no condition of communism is compatible with democracy.

The truth is the Russian revolutionaries, Lenin, Trotsky and Stalin all had vastly different ideas about how the revolution would play out, and unfortunately, as is the case with most events in human history, the most evil, unscrupulous and violent of the three men, Stalin, was the one to ultimately achieve dominance. Lenin died, a mere 7 years after the October Revolution, having spent most of his time as the Soviet leader navigating the lengthy Russian Civil War. As a leader, he participated in some heinous crimes, including the Red Terror which brutally culled all of his political detractors. The Red Terror is believed to have been carried out at Stalin’s urging, and it is difficult to speculate the direction the governance of the Soviet Union would have taken if Lenin had not met with his untimely demise.

Trotsky had a different vision of what a socialist state would look like than the one we are presented in school. Until the day he was murdered, he was an unrelenting advocate for global social democracy. His vision: a global economy based on equitable distribution of wealth with publicly elected democratic states. The world has never seen such a democracy, and Stalin’s subsequent development of the most atrocious kind of totalitarian state has subsequently given capitalist countries all the propagandist ammunition they have needed to deter their masses from ever attempting the development of a socialist state again.

One can only speculate about what the world may have lost with the demise of Trotsky. Undoubtedly, the United States and the other capitalist interests benefitted greatly from Stalin’s takeover of the Soviet Union. If Trotsky had prevailed, the world may have seen an example of a country in which all people are truly equal both politically and economically, and that would have been a great danger to the dogma of capitalism.

Advocates of neoliberal capitalism have argued that the world had such an example with the British Labor years of the 1960’s and 70’s and that the example failed. During that time frame, many of England’s industries were owned and operated by the state. First, in order for this argument to have any weight, one must overlook the fact that the United Kingdom was still very much a classed society complete with a monarchy and noble class. But apart from that, the argument is that Britain’s labor unions at the time were so powerful that they were weighing down the profitability and feasibility of the state owned industries. The working class, so the story goes, engaged in strikes in order to have their every whim placated. The easy life made workers lazy and thereby less productive.

The lack of incentive for labor to be productive in an economically equitable system is a common theme among proponents of privatization. We are told that public enterprises are inherently non-productive, wasteful and inefficient. Private industry, on the other hand, is more profitable, innovative and productive.

The same has been said of the management of communally-managed resources or “commons.” The now disproven theory of the “Tragedy of the Commons” postulated that if regular people are allowed to share a common resource, like a pasture or woodland, for example, they will degrade that resource because everybody will act on behalf their own selfish interest. The Tragedy of the Commons has been used extensively since it was first postulated by Garrett Hardin in 1968 as a justification for the privatization of communal assets (1).

Using the neoliberal justification, Thatcher sold off her country’s railway, steel and petroleum industries to name a few. Thatcher was simply following in the footsteps of her British predecessors who once kicked peasants off the very land they needed to sustain themselves, forcing them into miserable lives in deplorable factory conditions during the Industrial Revolution.

The Tragedy of the Commons has long since been debunked. When people must collectively manage their resources, history shows that greedy behavior becomes a social pariah, and people are more likely to work together for the common good. The problem for capitalists with the commons is that commons allow people to be independent, to work for themselves and therefore not be available to be exploited as menial labor. If one has access to adequate land, forest and water resources to raise enough food for his family, why would he want to go work in a factory?

Similarly, if one looks objectively at the neoliberal capitalist argument above, it begs the question of profit and production for whom? Under state ownership, the British industries provided good, living wages for a huge number of people. The same is true of the industries in the United States when the labor unions were strong. The industries were profitable, and profits were being more equitably shared among those who earned them. With the demise of the labor unions, corporations have indeed increased their profits in many instances, but this increase in profits to shareholders simply represents a redistribution of wealth upwards. Now, the labor that produces the goods, and by extension the profit, get a lesser proportion, while shareholders, who play no part in production, skim off the cream.

Thatcher sold off the vast majority of Britain’s industries to the private sector and busted the powerful labor unions. At the end of her tenure, she indeed had produced an economy that registered growth in GDP; however, at a significant cost. Under her administration, unemployment in the U.K. tripled and the number of people living in poverty doubled (2). The Thatcher example is by no means unique. The same economic evolution transpired in the United States under similar neoliberal economic policies first imposed under the Reagan Administration and expanded upon by each successive President both Democrat and Republican.

With the global failure of totalitarian communism, the mantra of free market capitalism goes largely unchallenged. Any alternative economic models are dismissed as tried and failed. But this condemnation of alternatives is clearly propagated by those who benefit the most from the status quo. In contemporary U.S. politics, voters chose between two candidates, but each of those candidates embraces neoliberal free market capitalism. Our system is no different than the Stalinist Soviet system under which people could only vote for the Communist Party. We have two political parties and they are both the Capitalist Party. We put up with it perhaps because our lives until recently were relatively good. But it must be apparent to most people by now that conditions for the average worker have been in steady decline since President Reagan decided to let prosperity trickle on us.

What constitutes a good life? A good life requires that healthy food, clean water, clean air, shelter and healthcare are in adequate supply. A good life does not require copious electronic toys, multiple cars, private jets, private islands or multiple homes. 49.1 million people in America do not have enough food (3) and almost one billion worldwide do not have adequate food or access to clean, safe drinking water (4,5). 45 million Americans do not have health insurance. Many people both in our country (the richest on Earth) and abroad do not have the simplest basic necessities for a reasonable existence.

Capitalism replaced feudalism around 400 years ago with the promise that free markets and private property would bring prosperity to all, but the basic status quo of an elite class exploiting the rest of society hasn’t changed. In today’s world a small fraction of the world’s economic elite are controlling all of the resources while the rest of the population toils in wage labor that is largely unpleasant and menial. The world we live in now is the world that neoliberal capitalism has made. The capitalists and their political accomplices tell us that if we give the rich and the powerful free reign to control markets they will act in the interest of all of us and prosperity will trickle down like rain upon our heads. This is a lie.

Who deserves a good life? By the basic definition above, every living being, both human and non-human deserves adequate resources for survival. Our unchallenged global neoliberal economic model tells us that the wealthy people of the world have worked hard for their riches and that they deserve them. The wealthy have more than just the basic necessities, many of them have enough riches to feed a small country, but as capitalists, they are entitled to their disproportionate wealth.

If we accept this insanity, then we have been successfully brainwashed. In no paradigm of morality is it okay for so few of the people to have dominion over so much while so many go hungry. Free trade capitalism has had its run. The results are devastating inequality and a ruined planetary environment. The system is not just broken, it does not and has never worked. The Earth belongs to all of us, and it is time to demand an equitable and responsible redistribution of Earth’s resources to all of the planet’s human and non-human inhabitants.


1- Read the entire text of Garrett Hardin’s Tragedy of the Commons on the World Wide Web at

Sunday, January 16, 2011

50 Years of Sleep in America - Thoughts on Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.’s “Remaining Awake through a Great Revolution”

“…one of the great liabilities of life is that all too many people find themselves living amid a period of great social change, and yet they fail to develop the new attitudes, the new mental responses, that the new situation demands. They end up sleeping through a revolution (Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. (1)).”
This week we celebrate the birth of one of our Country’s greatest visionaries, Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. A legacy bequeaths to the great man the title of “father” of the American Civil Rights Movement, which is a considerable bequest. But this label is insufficient to encompass the accomplishments and dreams of the man, which transcribe a far greater scope than is generally acknowledged.

Dr. King was also an adamant anti-war activist and a leading proponent of equality, both civil and economic for people of all races. In the political backdrop of an establishment intent on war and appeasement of the wealthy class, Dr. King was frequently labeled by his detractors as a Communist sympathizer.

“Ultimately a great nation is a compassionate nation. America has not met its responsibilities and its obligations to the poor (MLK).”

On June 2nd, 1959, Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. delivered the commencement speech at Morehouse College, his alma mater, entitled “Remaining Awake through a Great Revolution.” In this early oratory, Dr. King lays out many of the principles that he will expound upon in later years, but one theme stands out and is highlighted in the title of his speech. The human race is in the midst, for better or worse, of profound social, economic and environmental change, and many of us are “sleeping” through it to our collective detriment. Mr. King’s speech is as relevant today as it was over 50 years ago.

The derogatory labeling of people who threaten the establishment as “communist,” “socialist” or “fascist” is not unique to contemporary political vitriol. It is a tool that has been employed throughout modern history to denigrate and otherwise discredit those who threaten the status quo elite establishments. It is a powerful tool to employ among the sleeping masses who are swayed in their slumber by emotional rhetoric rather than wakeful discussion. Inaccurate labeling does not change what Dr. King viewed as moral imperative.

“There comes a time when one must take the position that is neither safe nor politic nor popular, but he must do it because conscience tells him it is right (MLK).”

Sadly, since the death of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., few have had his courage to stand up against the flow of misguided, manipulated and somnambulant public opinion to give voice to what is truly right. In the than 40 years since Dr. King’s death, prejudice, bigotry and social and economic inequality are still rampant in America.

The face of the bigot has changed over the years, but his disease remains the same. Some say Mexican is the new black. The treatment of immigrants in this country rivals that of our infamous relationship with former slaves. And while we celebrate our first African American President, the irrational anger from the Tea Party movement, that vows to “take back our country,” begs the question, “Take it back from whom?” While our President is oxymoronically depicted by the same groups as both fascist and communist, such blatant illogic is a poorly-disguised and oddly politically-correct swipe at his handsome light brown “otherness.” The emotionally charged political Right are like zombie armies of the walking dead, driven by angry hatred that has little basis in waking reality.

The new bigots of the Tea Party revolution have a new target, the poor. Whether one is poor Latino, African American or White, all those living in poverty are tarred with the same brush of disdain. Conservative darling pundit Bill O’Reilly says the poor are “irresponsible and lazy.”

With the recent economic collapse, some estimates put “real” unemployment at around 20%. While O’Reilly and others who would deny the unemployed any living benefits and would urge them to go out and get a job, the truth is that only one job is currently available for every 5 “officially” unemployed people. This actually translates to one job for every 10 people who need work and doesn’t even take into account those people who are working full time but don’t make enough to live off. O’Reilly his ilk need to refresh their mathematics and rethink their hateful logic. Over 40 million people, almost half of them children, are now living in poverty in the richest country on Earth. Are these impoverished children “irresponsible and lazy?”

“It’s all right to tell a man to lift himself by his own bootstraps, but it is a cruel jest to say to a bootless man that he ought to lift himself by his own bootstraps(MLK).”

Perhaps not ironically, one could argue that it is the glorified wealthy who are for the most part “irresponsible and lazy.” While Wall Street executives commanding 7 and 8 figure salaries trashed the economy, The CEOs of mega corporations earned similar compensations playing golf, jet setting and wining and dining. Many of this country’s wealthy inherited their good fortune and haven’t worked a day in their lives. Contrast these chosen few with the millions of American workers who go to work for minimum wage every day in an valiant but impossible effort to put food on familial tables. Irrationally, many of the sleepwalkers who deride government assistance to the poor can actually count themselves among the numbers they would seek to slander.

While American children are eating out of dumpsters, the same right wing pundits don’t seem to have a problem with spending money elsewhere. Dr. King points out the discrepancy in the United States’ spending priorities in his day that unfortunately mirror modern government spending priorities. “This day we are spending five-hundred thousand dollars to kill every Vietcong soldier… while we spend only fifty-three dollars a year for every person characterized as poverty-stricken…” Nothing has changed since Dr. King’s time. Well over a trillion dollars has been spent to date on the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan. The estimated $370 billion spent in Afghanistan amounts to approximately $12 thousand for each of the 30 million men, women and children living in Afghanistan today (2). This expenditure takes place in a country where the average annual income for a head of household is $860 (3). The same trillion dollars spent on killing people in foreign lands could have paid for more than enough food, shelter and medical treatment for all of America’s and Afghanistan’s less fortunate.

In some respects, America today has advanced since Dr. King graced this landscape with his presence. Civil liberties for African Americans have improved significantly. We are now proud as a nation to have elected our first African American President. But one could argue our prejudices have simply found new targets. As a whole, in terms of equality and justice for all, we have made no progress since Dr. King’s day. A person living in poverty today has as few opportunities as a black child growing up in the segregated South did in the 1950’s and 1960’s. The economic divide between rich and poor today is the greatest it has been since the Great Depression, and it is growing.

“One day we will have to stand before the God of history, and we will talk in terms of things we’ve done. Yes, we will be able to say we have built gargantuan bridges to span the seas, we built gigantic buildings to kiss the sky. We made our submarines to penetrate the ocean depths. We brought into being many other things with our scientific and technological power.

It seems I can hear the God of history saying, “That was not enough! But I was hungry and ye fed me not, I was naked and ye clothed me not. I was devoid of a decent sanitary house to live in, and ye provided no shelter for me. And consequently you cannot enter the kingdom of greatness. If ye do it unto the least of these, my brethren, ye do it unto Me.” That’s the question facing America today (MLK).”

America sleeps, and in our dreamlike state many of our masses continue confuse heated rhetoric with what is morally right. The stage cries out for a new brave prophet to follow in Dr. King’s footsteps. Rest in peace Dr. King. May we one day wake up and live up to your beautiful dreams.


1- All MLK quotations in this post are taken from the Remaining Awake Through a Great Revolution sermon. The complete transcript of this sermon is available on the World Wide Web at

2- Figures from the National Priorities Project on the World Wide Web at

3- Figures from the World Bank on the World Wide Web at

Thursday, January 13, 2011

The Dangers of the Political use of Metaphor and Other Rhetoric on an Undereducated Populace

More years ago than I care to admit in Mrs. Vera Napoli’s AP English class, I learned about metaphor, simile, allegory and several other artful devices authors and others use to enliven language. I actually learned these things in earlier English classes throughout my primary and secondary schooling, but the vivacious Mrs. Napoli’s instruction on all things literary had a way of hitting the ball out of the park (so to speak). At the time, my education was far from privileged. I attended various mediocre public schools in Dade County, Florida, but with a little diligence and the help of a few exceptional educators, I managed to graduate with a reasonable amount of useful information in my head.

After High School, I was fortunate enough to go on to college, and throughout my long and protracted college career, the information I had gathered during my earlier education actually served me well. Although I was a Biochemistry and then Environmental Science major, Mrs. Napoli’s instruction enabled me to perform adequately against English majors in riveting electives such as “The Eighteenth Century English Novel” and “Environmental Literature,” which I aced with ease. In spite of my less than elite early education, I was able to compete then and now with confidence that I have at least an adequate grasp of the concepts of language and other basic subjects.

Unfortunately, it can no longer be assumed that children who graduate from public schools in this country have basic competence in any academic area. Just recently, my nephew, who was attending a community college in California, was given the task of writing a 5-paragraph, critical essay. He had no idea where to start, having never written one before. How can we give away High School diplomas without providing students with this minimum basic skill? Writing essays is much more than simply putting words on a page. By forcing a child to analyze what he reads and to identify the subtleties of language, the child’s brain is trained for critical thinking. Critical thinking allows a person to identify rhetoric for what it is and to see the tones of gray in a political landscape painted in black and white.

This point was illustrated tragically in the events that unfolded at a shopping mall in Arizona last week when an expelled Community College student apparently failed to grasp the intended symbolism of crosshairs on a map.

I don’t believe Sara Palin wanted anybody to shoot the Congressmen and Congresswomen from the Congressional districts she identified on her political map with crosshairs. She was using the literary device of metaphor to indicate political, rather than actual targets. The problem is an unbalanced individual chose to take her literally, rather than figuratively. In recent days, in the wake of the Arizona tragedy, it has become apparent to me that a certain proportion of our American population actually doesn’t understand the difference. Of course, Jared Loughner has more problems than his inability to grasp the intricacies of the English language, but I would argue an impoverished American education played a part in his behavior.

I recently posted a comment on a friend’s blog ( and received the following reply from another reader:

“Killing Mother, hey, where did you provide with your dung for brains proof the tea parties are racist? You did not.

By the way, this shooter Loughner was a LIBERAL, did not like Palin, by the way LIBERALS LIKE TOM DEGAN AND KILLING MOTHER MADE MOVIES ABOUT KILLING GEORGE BUSH.


The Fort Hood shooter got that statement from “If they bring a knife, we bring a gun” Barack Obama about let’s not jump to conclusions.

So, defo, Tom Degan and the idiotic name killing mother are much closer to this loughner character.


My comment that evoked the above tirade follows:

“People are social animals, and the vast majority is conditioned to go with the flow. Very few actually think independently. Because of this phenomenon, Hitler was able to carry out his atrocities with the consent of a country of German lemmings.

Palin and her kin are mainstreaming insanity. Lemmings will follow. If words are the tools of political discourse, politicians should not be allowed to claim innocence when their words incite exactly the kind of action they are promoting.”

The ranter, without actually objecting to any of the points I raised in my comment, launched into a scathing personal condemnation based almost exclusively on my username (killing Mother). The diatribe was difficult to follow, and from it, I could discern little except liberals are evil and my nom de plume was case in point (apparently).

Like Lougner, the person who so vehemently objected to my comment seems incapable of critical analysis. I did not call the Tea Party, “racist.” I made a general commentary about the nature of people to follow their leaders, using the German example and lemmings as metaphor. My detractor also failed to pick up on the meaning of my username even though I assumed my intentions were obvious from the lower case “k” on “killing” and capitalized “M” on “Mother.” Perhaps I am being a bit too subtle on this point.

The tragic events in Arizona and my subsequent experience with the above personality have certainly been an eye opener. Freedom of speech is a wonderful thing, and the English language is a powerful tool that can evoke emotion and empower movements. But language can also be dangerous. Palin’s supporters are armed and angry. She needs to be aware that many of them do not grasp the subtlety of her rhetoric and are taking her words literally. Until the day comes when we have an educated population that can engage in and comprehend intelligent discourse, we need to be more careful with our words.

Tuesday, January 11, 2011

Requiem for Boris, Beloved Friend.

This week I lost a most beloved friend and magnificent fellow organism. For those who do not know the love of animals, I am sorry for you. For those who do, then you can understand the sense of loss that permeates my humble world. Boris the ferret was here, then he was gone, and an empty space and shell occupy the space that his exuberant spirit once filled.
Ferrets are very high maintenance friends. Mustela putorius furo, the scientific nomenclature for a ferret means “stinky, mouse-killing thief.” We have found all these descriptions to be true. While highly intelligent, they are also like children with attention deficit disorder. No corner, nook, cranny or crack in the woodwork remains unexplored, and you will have a difficult time getting one to sit for a cuddle on your lap for more than a few seconds at a time. The joy of a ferret comes from their incredible joie de vivre, energy and humor. Yes, they definitely have a sense of humor.

My first experience with ferrets was quite accidental. I was sent on an expedition to the pet store to procure a guinea pig for son Duncan who was suffering a great grief over the loss of a pet gerbil. In their small enclosure, the guinea pigs all ran away from me, while in the next cage, a single albino ferret begged for my attention. The choice seemed like a no brainer at the time, but truth be told, I was totally unprepared for my life with ferrets.

In spite of the ferret’s, who came to be known as Winter, overtures, I assumed that ferrets, like gerbils and guinea pigs, could be confined to small cages and played with at the discretion of a young child. Winter quickly educated me. Whenever caged, she cried incessantly like a baby, but when out and about she was as happy as a proverbial clam in mud. She raced around the house emitting a giggling noise, known in ferret lover communities as a “dook,” and when finally exhausted, would curl up and sleep preferentially in dresser drawers (accessed from underneath and behind). A cage for a ferret (in their estimation) is a completely unnecessary furnishing.

We quickly realized that in order to live at peace with our new rambunctious pet, we would have to adapt. We “ferret-proofed” the house. Holes in the foundation, broken screens to the outdoors, access to the pantry, etc. were sealed off. Newspaper was placed in every corner. Ferrets have very clean potty habits and can be litter trained. They always go in corners.

In exchange for our efforts, we were able to share our space with a spirited creature that always provided us with joy and laughter. Ferrets are probably the only animals that literally jump for joy on a regular basis. When a ferret lives with you, they will actually jump up and down and spin around, dancing at the sight of you and emitting their special ferret dooking laughter whenever you cross their path. The ferret excitement with life is contagious.

A ferret will also connive and plot to undo your every ferret-proofing maneuver. Winter devised methods for scaling the pantry shelves to steal the granola bars she coveted, no matter what we devised to dissuade her. Boris never abandoned his quest to undo the barriers we constructed against his escape for the entirety of his life with us. Like people, some ferrets are craftier than others.

Two weeks ago Boris developed a cough. Upon examination by his vet, it was determined that he suffered from acute, aggressive lymphoma, not an uncommon disease unfortunately in the ferret world. In spite of medications administered with the intention of rendering remission, the disease prevailed. Within a week of diagnosis, my dooking, dancing, vibrant Boris went from exuberance for life to comatose.

He died. Early Monday morning, lying next to me on a pillow in my bed, my precious friend breathed his very last breath. Then the shell just lay there and he, Boris the excessively rambunctious ferret, was most definitely gone. What does an agnostic do with such information?

I have a body. As morbid as it sounds, it has been too cold. The ground is frozen. I cannot place the shell of Boris beneath the beautiful maple tree that holds the shells of his former friends. The body of Boris rests swaddled in a shroud on a bed in another room waiting for the thaw. The body of my beloved, magnificent friend.

I go and check on him from time to time. At first, the rigor mortis made it impossible to make the semblance of comfort possible. But now, almost 48 hours later, the shell is supple, so I have manipulated the body into a comfortable, ferret position, much like a mortician would mold sleep upon the body of one of his clients. In doing so, I find, this shell, this biological capsule, now slowly decomposing, is NOT Boris. He was here, but now he’s gone. What remains of him that I have here are just “remains.” The fantastic spirit Boris is gone.

I don’t think Boris, as I knew him, has gone to heaven or any other, “other” place. When I place his body in the ground, it will decompose and ultimately become part of the maple tree that blesses this space each fall with a beautiful display of maroon and red. And in those colors I will remember him and the joy he gave to me. Ashes to ashes, and dust to dust.

But I also cannot believe that the energy that was Boris has evaporated into nothingness. He was too vital a force for that. The laws of thermodynamics state that energy is neither created nor destroyed. My precious friend is out there somewhere, freed from his decaying form. Fly free little buddy. I will miss you.

Tuesday, January 4, 2011

Environmental Personality Disorders or How Crazy People are Destroying the Planet – Part II

“…the most basic commandment of our culture [is]: Thou shalt pretend there is nothing wrong (Derrick Jensen (1)).”
Denial is a broad term used in psychiatry to describe a defense mechanism by which a person avoids unpleasant truths by simply denying them, even in the face of overwhelming evidence. Denial is rampant in the modern world and manifests in two primary forms. The first kind of denial includes an unconscious real defense mechanism in which an individual psychologically denies a reality that is too painful to bear. A mother, unable to come to grips with a brain-dead child, will sit by his bedside day after day, reading him stories and telling herself that he will eventually wake up. In this situation, nobody can blame the bereaved mother for her actions, and her denial is a natural defense mechanism that enables her to gradually deal with the horrific truth.

The second form of denial is conscious and not entirely innocent. A small child, caught with his hand in a cookie jar, steadfastly refuses to admit he was going to take a cookie. The white lies of childhood are benign enough, but conscious denial can take on pathological proportions when practiced by manipulative adults. Dr. George Simon summarizes, “With disordered characters, what we commonly perceive as unconscious defenses (e.g. denial) are more often deliberate tactics of impression management, manipulation and responsibility-avoidance (2).”

The contemporary environmental movement suffers extensively from both of the above expressions of denial. On the one hand, global ecological realities, when acknowledged truthfully, are atrocious. Since the rise of the Industrial Revolution, human beings have slowly, steadily and continually degraded the environment. The progression of destruction has been linear and has never reversed itself. The simple math in this equation does not provide any hopeful outcome. Those who care about nature and life are almost obligated to deny, ignore and turn the other way simply to be able to get through the day without being utterly devastated.

People of strong religious faith are also compelled into denial over the environmental reality. Their patriarchal God of the Old and New Testaments and the Koran would not sit idly by and let one of His organisms destroy Creation. In fact, after the great flood in the Bible, God promised that He would never again punish humanity with environmental annihilation. Faithful adherents to the three primary monotheisms therefore believe we are free to “fill up the Earth and subdue it” without any environmental repercussions, despite all evidence to the contrary. Classic denial.

But where was God when the last dodo or passenger pigeon was axed by human hands? Where is God now while we denude the global rainforests, poison rivers and choke the planet with exhaust? In fact, the divine hand of God has never stepped in to remedy the destructive acts of humanity. What makes us think He is ever going to? In our persistent destructive, one-way march, we appear to be reaching the proverbial end of the road. Unfortunately, the end times we are precipitating won’t be punctuated by a glorious rapture for the faithful. Instead, all of life on Earth, including dogmatic adherents, is destined to go down with the ship humanity is sinking.

Whether denial is based on religious faith or a simple inability to cope with the formidable reality of a dying Earth, the above forms of denial can be sympathized with as normal defense mechanisms. But a more insidious form of denial is at work in our culture. Some of the most powerful entities on the planet have their hands in the cookie jar, are stealing all the cookies, and are denying they are even in the kitchen.

Whether the issue is global climate change, genetic food modification, mountain top removal or any other anthropogenic ecological impact, a corporate entity is likely at work trying to convince the public that nothing is wrong. Monsanto successfully lobbied the USDA, without any scientific supporting evidence, to declare that genetically modified foods are substantially identical to their non-genetically modified counterparts. Exxon has spent millions of dollars hiring pseudo scientists to concoct doubt against the very real threat of global climate change, and energy and forestry giants have been at work for years annihilating entire ecosystems, rendering old growth forests to toilet paper and majestic mountains to slag heaps while simultaneously persuading entire towns of people their ruined lives are in their own best interest.

DARVO is an acronym which describes a form of denial frequently employed by abusive persons. Initially, the abuser will Deny the abuse. Then, he will Attack the victim for trying to hold him accountable thus Reversing the Victim and the Offender. The victim in a DARVO situation then appears to be at fault, while the offender establishes himself as victim (3).

In this way, environmental abusers also make scapegoats of their victims. Rather than Exxon being a morally bankrupt corporation that will stop at nothing (even combusting all life on the planet) to boost their bottom line, climate scientists are selfishly conspiring to topple the wealthiest and most profitable corporations on Earth and have therefore concocted the odious prevarication of climate change.

Rather than trying to aggressively patent and gain a monopoly on global food crops, Monsanto is a benevolent corporation trying to feed the world, while evil Certified Organic producers are trying to inhibit free trade. The most prevalent constructed denial of all is that corporations who rape the Earth of resources, leaving a swath of devastation in their wake, are simply developing industry and creating jobs. The ecological walls crash in around us, while those who benefit from the destruction instruct us to ignore the corporate giants behind the curtain.

In 1969, Elisabeth Kubler Ross described the stages of coming to grips with devastating truth in her landmark work On Death and Dying. In order to heal, victims must come to grips with reality through a series of stages including anger, denial, bargaining, testing and acceptance. In order to be effective in dealing with the enormity of our contemporary, self-inflicted environmental calamity, we must likewise go through the stages of grief. First, the majority of us, who don’t have our hands in the cookie jar, must accept the extent of ruination to our planet and grieve what we have lost in order to move forward. Anger is entirely justified and must be directed effectively at the responsible parties. Bargaining (with the perpetrators) has been underway for some time, and it doesn’t work. You can’t bargain with terrorists, and the corporate entities and the political lapdogs who are ruining the planet are nothing less than ecological terrorists. They will not rest until every sellable resource has been stripped off the face of the Earth and sold for profit. It’s time to take our heads out of the sand and stop them.


1- Derrick Jensen, 2000. A Language Older Than Words, Context Books, page 108.

2- Dr. George Simon, PhD, 2008. From the World Wide Web at

3- Ibid.