We’ve lived so long under the spell of hierarchy—from god-kings to feudal lords to party bosses—that only recently have we awakened to see not only that “regular” citizens have the capacity for self-governance, but that without their engagement our huge global crises cannot be addressed. The changes needed for human society simply to survive, let alone thrive, are so profound that the only way we will move toward them is if we ourselves, regular citizens, feel meaningful ownership of solutions through direct engagement. Our problems are too big, interrelated, and pervasive to yield to directives from on high.
—Frances Moore Lapp√©, excerpt from Time for Progressives to Grow Up

Monday, June 26, 2017

David Suzuki & GM [Guy McPherson]- Abrupt Climate Change - Compassion in the Face of Death

(Edited for clarity at 6 PM Seattle time)  

The video below starts out with a scene featuring American scientist Guy McPherson and continues with other interspersed scenes of doctors and patients confronting the end of individual lives. This is apparently intended to provide a context for the major issue of today--human extinction. Most of the video consists of an interview by Peter Mansbridge of the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation (CBC) with Canadian scientist David Suzuki regarding climate destabilization. At one point Suzuki makes reference to Guy McPherson who among scientists represents a more pessimistic view of near term human extinction due to human-caused destabilization of our planet's biosphere.

I think it is a mistake to compare the interspersed scenes of individuals facing death with that of the entire human race facing extinction. I think this actually trivializes the issue. Individuals have known death (as well as birth) for the past 150,000 years of human existence, but human extinction is of a vaster different scale of tragedy. I think this treatment illustrates the extreme individualism throughout Western capitalist civilization in which self-centeredness in addition to greed and manipulation of others for private gain have been essentially transformed into virtues. 

1 comment:

  1. Ron,
    I respectfully disagree with your closing comment. Guy is an evolutionary biologist, as well as his climate and ecology credentials. On an evolutionary scale - Nature's scale - homo sapiens have existed for a far shorter span than that of a single human lifetime. The demise of humans is an ordinary evolutionary phenomenon, certainly nothing more tragic than that of the wingless wasp. To believe that human extinction is somehow more tragic is to fall back into the Western myth of human "superiority" or "supremacy". The tragedy is our taking nearly all other life with us. In that, and that alone, we are special.

    Western humans relate best to the personal; hence, bringing the event to the personal level and reminding people that we all die, regardless of the cause, aims to help individuals cope with the inevitable.


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