Farewell Flamingo - Welcome 2007
As the last of the flamingos flies off into the sunset, their home overwhelmed by the stench of human garbage, perhaps we shall look forward to the year 2007 in which we humans start to realize the enormity of our sins. Baghdad is our world, spiralling into poverty, ruled by violence, waiting for the next catastrophe as we tighten our belts and pretend that there will always be enough to eat.
Ah - but there are still plenty of Canute's and Midas’s out there - ready to fight their way to the top for the riches and glory. While the rest of us know, it’s only ‘money and pain’. The famines will start soon, not so much from carbohydrates but protein will become an increasing problem for many people from now on. By 2008, it will be too late, it is already too late. We have used up half the pond and all the fish. The thing is, if your doubling time is 30 years and it’s taken you 100,000 years to cover half the pond, then it will only take thirty years to cover the last half of the pond. We are well into our last 30 years.
What happens to the pond is not pleasant – all the oxygen gets used up and everything chokes to death. In our case, it will be all the fresh water and everybody dies of thirst.
Of course it’s not all doom and gloom. Some will become more efficient – like the Nazi’s did – running their death camps on time – exploiting every last square inch of their patch of earth. Perhaps, with sophisticated permaculture designs, some of us will stave off the inevitable. For some, stupidity will offer many millions of people an early grave and their land may recover on it’s own. But most of us will be somewhere in between, fighting for our sanity and our family’s survival.
For all our technological know-how, we seem to have lost sight of the facts of reproductive life. We can’t survive without reproductive goods like air, water and food and we need these in a time compulsory manner. We are just another animal in the face of these demands.
The folly of fertilizers is all too clear to those who can read their land, they can increase your yield in a good year, but destroy it in a bad year. The 19th Century chemist Berthollet, praised the development of chemical science as overcoming the ‘thousand disasters of nature’ when it guaranteed a supply of purple dye from coal tar rather than from Indigo. But he did not see that we are, ultimately, still captive to the ‘thousand disasters’ of living. Not for him, or any 19th Century man, to acknowledge the vicissitudes of daily living, so far removed from the perfection of their scientific world.
But feminism and famine have put paid to Berthollet’s vision. Today, the gene merchants have supplanted Berthollet and his fellow chemists. They offer not much more than a plank to sink on with their transgenic monocultures. Mind you we will need every one of their tricks before we’re through, we just won’t want to put up with the hubris.
The point about plagues, is that they kill the wrong people, or at least the people who we don’t expect to get ill. Plagues increase the stupidity factor almost as much as religion and war. Communities can often deal with plagues, but it really does depend upon the strengths and weaknesses of the community. We can decrease the stupidity factor by talking to one another and helping each other to identify these strengths and weaknesses. But again it will require humility rather than hubris. Have no doubt that as pollution and poor diets weaken our collective immunity, the coming influenza epidemic will be but a harbinger of things to come.
George Orwell recognized in 1948, the commencement of ‘eternal war’, the ‘cold war’, the ‘war on terror’ as being nothing more than the stick to subdue a society, to guarantee the rule of violence and privilege over the rule of law. Nothing much has changed. Karl Marx recognized that a decent society would have to wait for a global revolution. Well, that time has come for good or ill. While revolutions can be bloodless or quashed with extreme violence, they all share a similar phenomenology. Discontent is crystallised by some event and personal discourses, suddenly become social discourses and in today’s age they become global discourses and revolution will follow.