A Way Down

SUBHEAD: There's a solution to global warming, energy crisis, loss of biosphere and over-population.

By Juan Wilson on 19 April 2020 for IslandBreath.org -

Image above: Up a tree? Your options are waiting to get rescued or climbing down. And I don't hear any sirens approaching. From (https://ui.uncc.edu/story/eastern-cottonwood-native-nc-tree).

My father became a practicing physician around 1950. For a while he had his office in our home in Levittown and did daily house calls and hospital visits. He delivered many babies and watched many people die. My sister, mother and I would hear details of these events at the dinner table.

I remember him using a phrase about dying that was "common knowledge" back then... "Pneumonia was the Old Peoples' Friend". That because if left untreated pneumonia causes  the patient to lapse into a state of reduced consciousness, slipping peacefully away in their sleep, thus giving a peaceful end to a period of often considerable suffering. Some would say an easy way out.

Well, the COVID-19 pandemic is having a two pronged impact on human civilization... basically ending it. It is causing a collapse of the energy, and resource consumption that is driving the destruction of the planet in the support of about seven billion too many people inhabiting the Earth today.

It's a place we have to climb down from... either voluntarily, by plan, or otherwise.

For much of my life my fear has been that the means would be a world-wide nuclear war involving untold thousands of atomic weapons being detonated in an exchange between America, Russia, China etc. Fortunately, that has not happened.

Nuclear armagedon would be much worse than the impact of COVID-19 to people and, more importantly, to all life on Earth.

Even without nuclear war we are on a track to destroy life on Earth. Our insane destruction of the biosphere in search of energy, resources and new places to "develop" have brought us in site of the end of the road for our species.... and many others.

A thinning of the heard is at hand. The reduction in human rapacity provided by the linkage of pandemic and economic collapse has cleared pollution from the skies over China. We could respond to our current predicament by abandoning "Economic Growth" as the "American Way of Life".

We could go back to small farms in local communities as it was before World War One. That was about the time we lost our connection to the land. Remember that 1919 song by Harry Fay, "How are You Going to Keep Them Down on the Farm?"
How you going to keep them down on the farm
After they've seen Paree?
How you going to keep them away from Broadway,
Jazzing around, painting the town?
How you going to keep them away from harm?
That's a mystery.
They'd wish they'd never seen a rake or plow,
So who the heck can parlez-vous a cow,
How you gonna keep them down on the farm,
After they've seen Paree?
Serious urbanization resulted from the coal and oil fueled economies that have flourished in the past century and a half. Since World War Two the mass production in automobiles fueled by cheap oil encouraged the surroundings of cities to be expanded with endless suburbs. Consumption became a stampede.

And here we are.  Sheltering in place and beginning to realize a new normal.

The only way out alive is to a more localized way of life.

It's time to climb down fro our dangerous perch to a changed landscape... to  grow food, make music!


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