Sunday, September 19, 2010


The prolific Kentucky born American man of letters, Wendell Berry, writes: "We have reached a point at which we must either consciously desire and choose and determine the future of the Earth or submit to such an involvement in our destructiveness that the Earth, and ourselves with it, must certainly be destroyed. And we have come to this at a time when it is hard, if not impossible, to foresee a future that is not terrifying."

I was chided in several FaceBook posted comments last month over my somewhat darkish Blog Post late in August ("Wake Me If Nero Pulls Out A Fiddle" / August 29) for coming to a somewhat not dis-similar conclusion. I may be naive, but it seems to me that the sign-posts for this prophesy of gloom are plenty apparent. What's a being to do? Psychologists identify the virus which infects this manner of discourse as "Confirmation Bias." - To wit: Once a person believes something, they will simply and uncritically endorse anything that confirms the belief.

In my opinion, the explosion on board the Deepwater Horizon on April 20 in the Gulf of Mexico, one of the worst oil spills in history confirmed just once more our unquenchable thirst for energy; and our uncontrollable addiction to fossil fuels. Oh sure, it has caused many to question accountability and measures to protect and conserve the environment; perhaps more specifically the onset of similar drilling practices in the Arctic. And, Canada's own activities up there. But, our addiction to the earth's natural resources and our greed satisfying plunder of these are not about to be altered. In reality, if we North Americans don't do it; someone else surely will. And, we're also the ones to blame for that sad conclusion.

Rich in many natural resources including gold, silver, lead, copper, zinc and uranium, the Arctic holds one quarter of the planet's remaining petroleum sources mostly under more than 1000 feet of our partially frozen northern ocean.

DO AS I SAY, NOT AS I DO: While our developed western world has been preaching restraint and conservation to the planet's peoples for the past couple of decades, we've demonstrated just the opposite to the emerging economies of the third world; particularly those of the far east. They now want, expect and are unlikely to settle for anything less. Is it any wonder that attempts to regulate the plunder of our environment at Kyoto, Amsterdam and later this fall at Cancun are failing miserably?

Convinced of our "Confirmation Bias;" we have become our own worse enemy. We've taught our offspring and descendants in North America to expect and covet nothing less than what we have: Fuel guzzling SUV's; air-conditioned environments; 24/7 energy consuming gadgets of every description. Which (I might add) we expect third world countries to build for us, while we plan to restrain and restrict them from any hope of ever enjoying any of their own.

Maybe we talk a good game plan but don't let that rubber "hit the pavement" in our Continent's back yard - N.I.M.B.Y! - The fragile planet though may not give any of us a second chance...When despair for the world grows in me, and I wake in the night at the least sound. (I) fear of what my life and the children's lives may be. (Wendell Barry - "The Peace of Wild Things")

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