Make Everyday an Earth Day … and Fight Like Hell

Forty times now, Earth Day has come and gone. Four decades of enviro-stewarding celebration and still a damn mess; this dominant culture has marched closer to planetary collapse ever so stridently over the last 40 years. This year, E-Day was rung in with an oil platform off the coast of New Orleans, ablaze like a birthday candle out of control, oil sloshing into the Gulf; a diffused chemical rainbow displacing the pelagic blue of the Atlantic waters. This is far from irony – a malefic boner (no, not that kind, silly) ascribed to the inherent destructiveness of the dominant culture and its insanely irrational operating instructions.
Over all these years, the voracity of civilization’s appetite has remained insatiate, devouring cultures of people; animal species aplenty; densely contiguous forests; ancient coral reefs; entire oceans; ranges of mountains; masses of majestic glaciers; systems of rivers, brooks, streams and other watershed; hundreds of feet of topsoil; earthworm populations… the list is long and expanding.
Unless we finally put forth a threshold at which point we turn every day into an Earth Day and begin fighting back in defense against the very system of violence that is invariably destroying the natural places we rely on for our very survival – i.e., our sources of food, water, air and relationships – the dominant culture will devour this planet whole, along with everyone on it (human & nonhuman). You can count on that. It is impossible to provide substantiating evidence proving differently.

Year after successive year, analysis shows more species gone, more preventable cancer rates ascending, more ecological and climatic havoc caused to the planet, etc & c. Here in Vermont one could drink from the mountain streams no more than fifty years ago. These days you’d be a fool to attempt it without some kind of water-purifying mechanism. Unless action is taken to reverse the démodé trend of globalization and latter’s ensuing planetary destruction, the next generations may not even have running water to purify. Apparently.
In this postmodern era of globalization (which is really the extenuation of colonialism, or better yet, the management of postcolonial assets perpetrated and secured by the violence of Empire and its omnicidal program euphemized as “civilization”) it’s important to see the concessions for what they really are.
Let’s start with the Internet. For example, Google’s search engine isn’t some benevolent ethereal wish-granter. Server plants require tremendous amounts of energy to allow search engines to function. Every Google search, every Yahoo! search – at the click of a mouse, requires the burning of fossil fuels. The amount of CO2 released into the atmosphere by server plants rivals that of the car-manufacturing industry, btw. Too, there are riparian server plants along the Colombia River. Chinook salmon is disappearing from this river. And what about computers? These gadgets use 1500 kg of water and 10X their own mass in fossil fuels and other chemicals, and then some in their manufacturing process. To go paperless is not to ‘Go Green.’
Then there’s coltan (columbite tantalite) that, refined to tantalum, is necessary for capacitors, which store an electrical charge in every electronic device imaginable (e.g., laptops, DVD players, cellular telephones [yes, even your iPhone boyz’n’galz], Playstations et al and so on). The mining of coltan along the DRC (= “Democratic” Republic of Congo)/Rwandan border has been behind seemingly endless civil war between tribes, claiming more than 5 million lives. Prepubescent children are handed guns and forced to partake in the raping and murdering of entire village communities. Mining for this mineral is also erasing the Eastern Lowland Gorilla from the planet. All this beautiful life is being lost in exchange for a cheap handset, for another pixel-in-motion PS3 RPG, or for that stupid iPad or something…
The construction of undersea cables disrupts the benthic ecosystems of the ocean floors. Cell towers and their wacky EM waves are killing migratory songbirds. Technological advancement requires cheap energy. We are running out of cheap energy. Besides, cheap energy may be a bargain in the pecuniary sense, but it’s costing us real physical life on a grand scale.
It’s true that globalization is “making it easy for anyone to do remote development,” rejoices the imbecile Thomas Friedman. But what that really means is corporate CEO’s can now manage their industrial plants in Brazil, Chile, Colombia, China, Indonesia, India, Nicaragua, et al from the comforts of their own homes, offices and conference rooms without having to witness first-hand, the environmental degradation they are causing, or the abject living conditions they are creating: the despoliation of water and air quality, the acidification of ocean waters, the lengthening of the endangered species list, the birth defects of children, the civil unrest and hunger, the wars being fought, women being raped, subsistence and small-scale farmers crying, thousand-year-old trees toppled, chopped – vanished. They don’t see the polar bears drowning in gelid waters, a tragic end to the searching of food in an area rapidly melting on account of this culture’s negligent indulgence in fossil fuels and industrial production.
Or on a more domestic front, e.g., King Coal doesn’t notice the tops of mountains missing in Appalachia – their CEO’s too busy teeing-off on the golf courses that replace them. These f***kers only notice the large subsidies the US supplies them; they don’t hear the heavy sobs of distressed mothers piercing the darkest hours of the night as they cradle in their laps children who are coughing incessantly and choking violently on their own spittle, suffering from blue-baby syndrome caused from inhaled coal ash. King Coal execs don’t care about the more-than-750-miles of watershed choking on the detritus of mountaintops, scarring the miraculous matrix of organic processes and symbiotic relationships synecdochically known as the “web-of-life.”
Meanwhile, when inundating floods aren’t shuffling toxic coal-slurry everywhere, drought continues to plague the surrounding Appalachian regions, and the water bottle industry persists in extracting copious amounts of groundwater faster than can be replaced by the hydrologic cycle. The bottled water is then sold to exploited miners who work all day, who live in abject poverty, while Texas burns all the coal to power death row, where they hold the record in executions of mentally ill prisoners.
Globalization has affluenced the upper hierarchy, while below, people and forests die and disappear. Ninety-five percent of North America’s original forests have been clear-cut. Gone. And every stream and river in the continental US contains carcinogenic material. What once was a population of 60 million “genetically pure” buffalo grazing the Great Plains has been decimated to a federally controlled population of less than 15,000. The rate of species extinction is presumably “10,000 times faster than what has historically been recorded as normal”; and there is a “trash-vortex” the size of the continental US drifting in the Pacific.
Essayist and novelist Arundhati Roy reveals that overseas, the Indian government let sixty-three million tons of grain rot while twelve million tons were “exported and sold at a subsidized price the Indian government was not willing to offer the Indian poor.”  Since 1989, police and security forces have killed approximately 80,000 people in Kashmir. Women have been gang-raped by security forces; Muslims and Sikhs have been beaten and murdered; and in the police stations it isn’t rare to see: “people being forced to drink urine to being stripped, humiliated, given electric shocks, burned with cigarette butts, having iron rods put up their anuses to being beaten and kicked to death,” writes A. Roy.

These abovementioned atrocities, all of them, have been employed under the auspices of ambiguous and dubious anti-terrorism acts such as POTA (Prevention of Terrorism Act), the Armed Forces Powers Act and more (similar to the domestic PATRIOT Act and the Homeland Security Act). To paraphrase Roy, such acts allow security forces to charge individuals as “terrorists” (while corporate private enterprises and government back the removal of people by force to dismantle intact fecund landbases, mind you) for: acting out civil disobedience; speaking out against and/or petitioning the establishment; opposition to free trade, privatization, and globalization; alongside other varieties of dissent against the establishment, capitalism, Western ethics, and/or for just being poor. Even young children have been imprisoned and held without bail under POTA.
Meanwhile, CEOs, shareholders, developers, and (obviously) private and national security forces inflict massive violence on citizens and land without any accountability (think back to the horrific 1984 incident in Bhopal when poisonous gas leaked from a US-owned pesticide company killing thousands of people), perseverating in the psychopathy of hyper-exploitation to funnel resources back to the epicenters of “culture” and growth.
Where’s the justice? It is found in resistance to global corporate privatization and in defense of a rekindled love for the natural world we are a part of. Make every day a damn Earth Day and fight like hell for the future of this planet. Step 1: Start deglobalizing and begin relocalizing.

Frank Smecker is a writer and social-worker from VT. He can be reached at: Read other articles by Frank, or visit Frank's website.

16 comments on this article so far ...

Comments RSS feed

  1. Don Hawkins said on April 24th, 2010 at 10:46am #

    This is not the 17th century, when “beliefs” trumped science, forcing Galileo to recant his understanding of the solar system. The President should unequivocally support the climate science community, which is under politically orchestrated assault on the legitimacy of its scientific assessments. If he needs reassurance or cover, the President can ask for a prompt report from the National Academy of Sciences, established by Abraham Lincoln for advice on technical issues.
    Why face the difficult truth presented by the climate science? Why not use the President’s tack: just talk about the need for clean energy and energy independence? Because that approach leads to wrong policies, ineffectual legislation larded with giveaways to special interests, such as the Waxman-Markey bill in the House and the bills being considered now in the Senate.
    The fundamental requirement for solving our fossil fuel addiction, and moving to a clean energy future, is a rising price on carbon emissions. Otherwise, if we refuse to make fossil fuels pay for their damage to human health, the environment, and our children’s future, fossil fuels will remain the cheapest energy and we will squeeze every drop from tar sands, oil shale, pristine lands, and offshore areas.
    An essential corollary to the rising carbon price is 100 percent distribution of collected fees to the public – otherwise the public will never allow the fee to be high enough to affect lifestyles and energy choices. The fee must be collected from fossil companies across-the-board at the mine, wellhead or port of entry. Revenues should be divided equally among all legal adult residents, with half-shares for children up to two per family, distributed monthly as a “green check”. Part of the revenue could be used to reduce taxes, provided the tax reduction is transparent and verifiable.
    The rising carbon price will affect almost everything. People’s purchases will reflect a desire to minimize their costs. Food from nearby farms will benefit; imports from half way around the world will decline. Renewable energies, other carbon-free energies, and energy efficiency will grow; fossil fuels will decline. James Hansen

    So far what are the chances of making a real try at this,zero. The bill next week more nonsense and word’s clever word’s to deceive and what an evil web we weave and that’s being nice because we will hear your electric bill will go up to $10,000 dollars a month and beans will be all you can eat and many of you will have to be put to sleep. Oh there going to try and put us to sleep alright divide and conquer sort of and you need us look how well dressed we are and all college graduates with I might add on the job training plus we ran the data in our super computer and in order for us to live in the style we are accustom to granted for only a few more years we feel it best for you to listen to lies and go shopping war is peace and ignorance is strength it’s just better that way. Think not the circus starts Monday again with all the usual clowns.

  2. Don Hawkins said on April 24th, 2010 at 11:04am #

    While the bill will be introduced Monday, it is unclear whether the bill would even make it to the Senate floor this year. Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid has indicated he plans to take up immigration before climate change, according to reports, which could leave Senators with little appetite for another controversial bill.
    Graham said on Thursday that taking up immigration would destroy the Senate’s chances for passing a climate change bill, the Hill reports, but Lieberman sounded sure their bill would reach the floor.
    “I came away very encouraged that this is a priority for the majority leader, so that we will get floor time for sure,” Lieberman reportedly said. CBS

    Again we get to see just more bullshit from well dressed fool’s up to there eye ball’s in special interest that’s eye ball’s as they don’t have any ball’s wimp’s using nothing more than illusion of knowledge that has worked so well up to this point in space-time I mean take a look around the shinning city is well on the way well yes a few minor problems,

    Unless you’re woefully isolated or willfully ignorant, you see or hear about them every day. The Great Pacific Garbage Patch now has an Atlantic counterpart and scientists suspect there are others. Oceanic dead zones are multiplying, sea life is disappearing, coral reefs are dying, seawater is becoming more acidic and the migrations and territoriality of several telltale marine species has grown precarious and unpredictable. Our freshwater systems are being poisoned by urban run-off, toxic dumping, mining and drilling deposits, pesticide drift, acid rain and mercury. Our lands are being depleted by slash and burn farming, industrial agriculture, deforestation, desertification, soil salination and disappearing resources. And this planet’s biological diversity is being decimated by systemic ecosystem erosion and toxicosis, habitat fragmentation, bioaccumulation, human overpopulation and plain old human greed and egotism. For our sins, however, our own bodies are slowly and incrementally becoming toxic soups of cadmium, lead, aluminum, benzene, formaldehyde, chlorine, acetone, mercury, benzopyrenes, nitrosamines, herbicides, household cleaners, etc., etc., etc. E bills

  3. Don Hawkins said on April 24th, 2010 at 12:52pm #

    On the Drudge report today one story is tornados at decade low. Such a evil web we weave when we first practice to deceive. Somebody went to the NOAA web site and just put up the number of tornados well I checked with the book of knowledge and due to the little fact that the Arctic is warming and warming fast a little high pressure area up there that changes global winds a tad and colder air to the South that’s us here in the States tornado season is a little later than usual and anybody looked at the weather channel today and are we seeing climate change oh yes we sure are. Of course the weather channel can’t say that because it’s not written in stone yet. In the beginning there was darkness…………….cadmium, lead, aluminum, benzene, formaldehyde, chlorine, acetone, mercury, benzopyrenes, nitrosamines, herbicides, household cleaners, etc., etc., etc

  4. Don Hawkins said on April 24th, 2010 at 1:02pm #

    TALLULAH, La. (AP) – Louisiana State Police say there’s a possible nitrogen leak from storm damage to a tank at a chemical plant near Tallulah.

    Sgt. James Martin says plant officials don’t know of any chemicals leaking from the Complex Chemicals plant itself.

    He says he does not know the extent of damage at the plant. Owner Jerry Melton did not immediately reply to an e-mail Saturday.

    State Department of Environmental Quality spokesman Rodney Mallett says an emergency responder is going there. AP

    Only the beginning and it is already starting to add up and State Department of Environmental Quality what Environmental Quality is that a play on words.

  5. Don Hawkins said on April 24th, 2010 at 1:52pm #

    CNN) – In a stunning move that could throw a major roadblock in front of two of President Obama’s biggest legislative initiatives, Sen. Lindsey Graham abruptly declared Saturday he’s abandoning talks on climate change legislation because he believes Democratic efforts to bring up a separate immigration reform package is undermining the legislative process.
    “Moving forward on immigration – in this hurried, panicked manner – is nothing more than a cynical political ploy,” the South Carolina Republican wrote in a sharply-worded letter obtained by CNN.

    Going so well in the age of Universal deceit where up is down and down is up and is it just an illusion.

  6. lichen said on April 24th, 2010 at 2:31pm #

    I strongly support the four declarations that came out of The People’s Summit On Climate Change And The Rights Of Mother Earth this week in Bolivia; the global people’s referendum on what to do about climate change (as opposed to letting the corporatist politicians decide), the climate justice court, the climate debt owed to the global south, and the declaration of the rights of mother earth are an incredible, radical step forward and dwarf the ultimate idiocy of the US senate and the top polluters criminal negligence. We the people of the planet absolutely do need to fight the corporate right wing scum trying to run this planet into dust.

    I think mining is a crime; it is a crime to take oil, gas, tar sands, coal, bauxite, silver, diamonds, uranium, etc. from the ground. We need to stop mining and let the forests grow, let the mountains soar; use intellegent, creative green technology that doesn’t require environmental destruction to make our lives a little better, and also regain our rights and sense of self through direct democracy, strong, kind communities, land redistribution, and heirloom seed plant-based diets. You can’t have a green world while you are still tearing down forests and mountains to poison people and the planet with ugly mining projects; I’m willing to sacrifice google and cell phones (which I don’t use.) I’d much rather have lots of fruit trees, clean air, clean water, organic food, clothing, particapatory democracy.

  7. Don Hawkins said on April 24th, 2010 at 7:19pm #

    NEW ORLEANS — The Coast Guard discovered Saturday oil is leaking from the damaged well under a massive rig that exploded late Tuesday off Louisiana’s coast, while bad weather halted efforts to clean up the mess that threatens the area’s marine ecosystem.

    For days, the Coast Guard has said no oil appeared to be escaping from the well head on the ocean floor. Rear Adm. Mary Landry said the leak was a new discovery.

    “We thought what we were dealing with as of yesterday was a surface residual (oil) from the mobile offshore drilling unit,” Landry said. “In addition to that is oil emanating from the well. It is a big change from yesterday … This is a very serious spill, absolutely.”

  8. lichen said on April 24th, 2010 at 7:31pm #

    The oil spill in the Gulf is terrible, Don, and even moreso because the senate/obama want to legislate more offshore drilling!

  9. Don Hawkins said on April 25th, 2010 at 5:05am #

    Hawking’s logic on aliens is, for him, unusually simple. The universe, he points out, has 100 billion galaxies, each containing hundreds of millions of stars. In such a big place, Earth is unlikely to be the only planet where life has evolved.

    He suggests that aliens might simply raid Earth for its resources and then move on: “We only have to look at ourselves to see how intelligent life might develop into something we wouldn’t want to meet. I imagine they might exist in massive ships, having used up all the resources from their home planet. Such advanced aliens would perhaps become nomads, looking to conquer and colonise whatever planets they can reach.”

    He concludes that trying to make contact with alien races is “a little too risky”. He said: “If aliens ever visit us, I think the outcome would be much as when Christopher Columbus first landed in America, which didn’t turn out very well for the Native Americans.” Times

    “We only have to look at ourselves to see how intelligent life might develop into something we wouldn’t want to meet. I imagine they might exist in massive ships, having used up all the resources from their home planet. Stephen Hawking

    Well well well life might develop into something we wouldn’t want to meet did he say and starting tomorrow if we wish we can watch so called leaders here in the greatest nation third planet from the Sun make plans to use up all the resources on our home planet, go shopping. “nomads, looking to conquer and colonise whatever planets they can reach.” Was that illusion of knowledge just a nut well here in the States let of all turn to Fox New’s and learn the truth fair and balanced and just think very soon many of the people we see on Fox will be back in power looking to conquer and colonise whatever they can get there greedy little hands on.

  10. Don Hawkins said on April 25th, 2010 at 5:11am #

    “It’s very similar to Weimar Germany, the parallels are striking.” Here, too, there is a tremendous disappointment with the parliamentary system, pointed Chomsky interviewing on Truthdig.

    “The United States is very lucky that no honest and charismatic figure has appeared, and if this were to happen this country would be in real trouble for the frustration, disillusionment and the justified anger combined with the absence of a coherent response,” he concludes.

    In Germany, he recalls, an enemy was created to explain the crisis which was the Jew. “Here they are the illegal immigrants and blacks. We will say that white men are a persecuted minority. We will say that we must uphold and defend the honor of the nation. Military force will be exalted. There will be blows. This could be converted into an undeniable force. And if it takes place, it will be more dangerous than Nazi Germany. The United States is a world power … I do not believe that this is far from happening,” he says. Pravda

  11. Don Hawkins said on April 25th, 2010 at 6:59am #

    With climate change oh that’s a hoax and the moon is made of green cheese there will be “nomads, not looking to conquer and colonise but survive millions then billions and we are now at the end of the beginning still time just not on the present path. Here in the States we get to be part of the nomads ever hear of the Ogallala aquifer let’s just say it’s not what it used to be and that is just a small part of some minor changes. I wonder if people who work at CNN or Fox the Weather Channel, GE, Massey, Exxon think they will be ok as they work for a corporation well sorry only so much room on that private jet to make a long story short. The fight has started yes it has as on Monday illusion is going to start to be much harder to sell. It does appear a few are making plans for themselves that I always’ wonder about because most are older and I just find that hard to understand but that little fight is on and have they the few even a little bit got over themselves no not yet. Boring this will not be and yes “We only have to look at ourselves to see how intelligent life might develop into something we wouldn’t want to meet”. Still time with an enormous effort and selling car’s to China who seems to now like the American model a wall street term probably not part of that enormous effort. Seem to big tax carbon return the money back to the people and watch the change start to happen granted a few other minor changes to the system but that would be a great first start.

  12. Mulga Mumblebrain said on April 26th, 2010 at 5:04am #

    The essential cause of our parlous, clearly end-stage, predicament is, I believe, the global rule of evil imbeciles. The global parasite class, who make all the decisions,( behind more or less risible facades of ‘democracy’), who control the brainwashing apparatus of the mass media and who,plainly, do not care one whit what happens after their death,or to the rest of humanity at any time, are both insatiably greedy and psychopathic.They have been created by capitalism, as the dominant type according to the real rules of capitalist success-ie they have no scruples over exploiting others, (based on innate hatred of others), they feel no pity or remorse over the fate of their victims, they have no inherent restraints that prevent them from lying to achieve their ends,they are fond of violence (preferably one-sided and vicious, used against the weakest) and they are possessed of massively hypertrophied egos and delusions of superiority. The more entrenched that market capitalism becomes, the more these psychopathic features are projected by the elites onto the societies that they control, and the more these detestable psychopathies and misbehaviours become the ethos of these societies. This is like a case of perverted evolution, where ‘fitness’ is measured in terms of greed, recourse to violence and detestation of others. This, I believe, explains the steady,indeed accelerating, descent towards ecological collapse. The psychopathic Right that dominates humanity hates life, and worships death. This I believe explains their obsession with ‘freedom’, which, I believe, should be understood as a metaphor for death, a Nirvana where one is released from the intolerable burden of existence, in particular the necessity to constantly strive to outwit others and protect oneself from others, who are seen, in a classic psychic projection, as dangerous and amoral. Is there anything deader than money, anything more indicative of thanatophilia than the rabid enthusiasm for replacing a tropical rainforest with a pile of gelt?
    Our terminal condition is contrary, I believe, to the instincts and desires of 90% of the human population. That the insane and evil fraction of humanity has captured absolute power is probably an inevitable result of millennia of internecine strife, where those with the fewest innate objections to gaining advantage through murder, terror,intimidation and exploitation, have gained the levers of power, in particular money power. We must either remove that type, from dominance, forever, or disappear as a species. To achieve that end seems, to me, a well-nigh impossible ambition. The evil ones will resist any attempt to limit their power with homicidal violence, as they always have. To overcome them using the same tactics implies becoming like them. Unfortunately sitting passively awaiting a miracle will not work, either. And time is rapidly running out.

  13. Don Hawkins said on April 26th, 2010 at 6:29am #

    With time running out on this Congress — and with Democrats almost surely set to lose seats after the November midterms — a climate bill that isn’t now could be never. Time

    The you know what is going to hit the fan. I need a cup of coffee.

  14. Don Hawkins said on April 26th, 2010 at 11:08am #

    New James Hansen

  15. Don Hawkins said on April 26th, 2010 at 11:11am #

    More new stuff from James Hansen and as it stands this will not happen. Time to make a stand.

  16. mary said on May 1st, 2010 at 11:38pm #

    A hell on earth and at sea has been created here. This great ecological disaster is turning into a lawyers’ paradise before they’ve even stopped the leaks and cleaned up the mess if that is possible.

    Notice our old friends from Iraq, Halliburton, are in the frame amongst all the others.

    This BP spokesman should have been a politician.

    ‘[A] BP spokesman said he was not aware of previous safety issues at the Deepwater rigs despite reports of spills, fires and a collision in the nine years it had been at sea.’

    Wikipedia have two information pages on the incident, Deepwater Horizon and another on the Deepwater Horizon Explosion. The deaths of the 11 men must have been terrible and there were many injured of course.

    What have we done to the planet?