Wednesday, October 03, 2012

What Will We Make of Earth? Heaven or Hell?

by Len Hart, The Existentialist Cowboy

We have known about threats to planet earth for years if not decades! Possibly even longer! And NOTHING is ever done to restrain rapacious assaults on the only environment that we will ever have; nothing is done to slow the increases in the consumption of fossil fuels; nothing is ever done to preseve the integrity of habitats, estuaries et al; nothing or very, very little is done to improve air quality as a result of a rapacious consumption of fossiul fuels, the use of oil derivatives in motor vehicles or the alarming rate with which we destroy habitats on the land and throughout the world's oceans --the ONLY oceans that we will ever have.

Bottom line: we MUST enact and abide by 'Limits to Growth' --the topic of a conference that was held in the 'Woodlands' near Houston.

At this conference, scholars, environmentalists, economists as well as representatives from some of the world's major oil companies met and discussed nothing less than the future of planet earth.

I covered this early (if not their first such meeting) for a Washington D.C. based journal: "Energy Users Report". Following is an excerpt from one of the papers that had been submitted:
II. How the Unlimited Growth Ethic Exascerbates Organizational Unresponsiveness

Unrestrained production, assumed desirable and feasible in the belief system underlying unrestrained growth, depends on and encourages unlimited rising expectations. In turn these lead to increasing numbers of conflicting demands on organizations (a) to be responsive by producing more goods and se)-vices, and (b) to be responsive to the adverse consequences of that growth. (Production and product-produced pollution are obvious examples.) Particularly distressing and complex are the demands growing from life conditions in the third and fourth worlds since the gap between them and the first and second worlds is almost certain to continue to grow in the absence of an interpretive context premised on interdependence in a finite world. Such conflicting local and planetary demands generate more information, and require attention to more information,if organizations are to be responsive. This, of course, increases information and decision over-load and is likely to lead to comparatively less responsiveness because comparatively more information. needed for discriminating responses, would be screened out or ignored.

The myth that production can be indefinitely increased also encourages tendencies toward splintering and the establishment of autonomous groups and activities. That is, ifthere need be no limits on matter and energy each dissenting group will feel encouraged to go its own way. “do its own thing”, believing it can be self-sufficient and feeling little need for interdependence or to be concerned for the welfare of others. Others can “get theirs” bv also tapping into the gravy train via the time-tested means for flourishing in a capitalistic or socialistic economy.

Autonomy and differentiation, operating in and stimulated by the absence of a shared set 01‘ values and rules of conduct. will Icad to continuing challenges to legitimacy: each group will be devoted to its interpretive context and to the specification of factual importance justified by its values.

--On Growth and the Limits of Organizational Responsiveness, DONALD N. MICHAEL
This dates to the middle 70s! Essentially ---we knew then what we know now: Earth is finite and dying! As nothing seems to have been done to prolong our planet's life, the question remains: are we resigned to sitting back, pointing fingers and, in other ways, refusing to accept responsibility for the fate of the ONLY planet that we have ever known or inhabited, the ONLY planet that any of us will ever call 'home'?

A 'bail out' is simply not a part of the equation! We do not have that luxury! Where would a 'bail out' come from? Heaven? The only world of which we have intimate knowledge is Earth. And it is on Earth that we must make a heaven or create hell itself!


Sydney Poitier Reads Plato's "Allegory of the Cave"


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