We Don’t Deserve Another Planet

I’m scared. I worry a lot.

I’m afraid for our future. I’m afraid for our species.

I’m afraid of our species.

Homo Sapiens corrupt or foul any ecosystem that lies in the path of their economic interests. Homo Sapiens marginalize and/or exterminate almost every species of fellow inhabitant that it comes into contact with. Homo Sapiens are defiling the gasping blue orb they call home, but they presse on almost entirely heedless of their loathsome wrongheadedness.

You, me and every human being up and down our street, across the nation and throughout the world, en masse, comprise a sinister planetary menace. It is not our intent; we just can’t or won’t control ourselves.

Fort Worth writer and former resident John Graves once said that human beings would be finished when they stopped “understanding the old pull toward green things and living things.” But we’re already there. We are monstrously out of sync with the natural world. We no longer even take part in the most basic facets of our own sustenance.

Technology has replaced survival processes with leisure. Our livelihoods are based on ancillary subsistence modes which translate into to petty barter for factory farming and mechanized industrial slaughter. We live on pre-processed pseudo-nourishment. We reside in prefabricated shelters bathed in artificial light and filled with conditioned air. We don’t thrive as vital, fully-functional creatures; we merely exist as detached bystanders.

In our natural state we were never idle or bored or prone to weight gains due to a sedentary lifestyle. We were constantly involved in the means of survival, hands-on, acute and in-tune. We didn’t need Vegas or roller coasters or Viagara. Every day was a gamble and every food-source capture or kill was a victory if not an outright adrenaline rush. In our present state we struggle to survive business as usual with any useful, natural instincts intact.

Several seconds before the late August 2011 earthquake near the National Zoo in DC, flamingos grouped together, upper mammals climbed trees and lemurs sounded alarm calls. In our early existence, we probably weren’t much different than the spooked animals at the National Zoo. We probably sensed phenomena like earthquakes at an elemental level, before they happened, because we were more in touch with our habitat. Truth be told, we arguably knew more then as preyed-upon primitives than we know now as reckless louts at the top of the food chain.

We are a species run amok, obtuse and self-destructive. It’s time to debate Capitalism in a world of limited resources; it’s time to have a referendum on unaccountable Technology. If the swift-shod proliferation of excessive consumption in the name of ever-increasing profit margins reduces humanity to a lethal scourge, Capitalism is an evil that can no longer be tolerated. If the unavoidable byproducts of technology are human overpopulation, the pollution or contamination of our air, water and food supplies, biological exploitation and artificial preservation — all created at the expense of the planet and our fellow species –Technology is an evil that can no longer be promoted. If Capitalism and technology cannot be practiced with conscience, then we cannot conscientiously engage in them.

These issues warrant debate in the fore of this historical moment because humankind is toying with the notion of exploring and/or colonizing other earth-like planets in their galactic vicinity. It’s one thing for us to plunder and savage our own home. It’s quite another to destroy someone else’s home.

We must stop averting our eyes. We need to quit ignoring our crimes. In the grand scheme of things we’ve become a vicious virus that should be isolated and confined, allowing our madness to run its course, come what may.

As bad as things stand on Earth for inhabitants other than Homo Sapiens, at least Homo Sapiens are contained here. And the fledgling life-support and propulsion technologies that keep us from exploring deep-space ensure our quarantine.

If we perish, our perilous, suicidal propensities should die with us and not be flung amongst the galaxies to infect or endanger other living systems. The species Homo Sapiens had its chance.

Tragically, we’re wasting it.

Fort Worth native E. R. Bills is the author of Texas Obscurities: Stories of the Peculiar, Exceptional & Nefarious and Tell-Tale Texas: Investigations in Infamous History. Read other articles by E.R..