Vox Populi

A Public Sphere for Poetry, Nature, and Politics

Chris Hedges: The Great Flood

How many times will we rebuild Florida’s cities, Houston, coastal New Jersey, New Orleans and other population centers ravaged by storms lethally intensified by global warming? At what point, surveying the devastation and knowing more is inevitable, will we walk away, leaving behind vast coastal dead zones? Will we retreat even further into magical thinking to cope with the fury we have unleashed from the natural world? Or will we respond rationally and radically alter our relationship to this earth that gives us life?

Civilizations over the past 6,000 years have unfailingly squandered their futures through acts of colossal stupidity and hubris. We are probably not an exception. The physical ruins of these empires, including the Mesopotamian, Roman, Mayan and Indus, litter the earth. They elevated, during acute distress, inept and corrupt leaders who channeled anger, fear and dwindling resources into self-defeating wars and vast building projects. The ruling oligarchs, driven by greed and hedonism, retreated into privileged compounds—the Forbidden City, Versailles—and hoarded wealth as their populations endured mounting misery and poverty. The worse it got, the more the people lied to themselves and the more they wanted to be lied to. Reality was too painful to confront. They retreated into what anthropologists call “crisis cults,” which promised the return of the lost world through magical beliefs.

“The most significant characteristic of modern civilization is the sacrifice of the future for the present,” philosopher and psychologist William James wrote, “and all the power of science has been prostituted to this purpose.”

We are entering this final phase of civilization, one in which we are slashing the budgets of the very agencies that are vital to prepare for the devastation ahead—the National Oceanographic and Atmospheric Administration, the Federal Emergency Management Administration and the Environmental Protection Agency, along with programs at the National Aeronautics and Space Administration dealing with climate change. Hurricane after hurricane, monster storm after monster storm, flood after flood, wildfire after wildfire, drought after drought will gradually cripple the empire, draining its wealth and resources and creating swathes of territory defined by lawlessness and squalor…. [continue reading]


 

Copyright 2015 Chris Hedges. First published in TruthDig.

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Ruins of the Palace at the Mayan site dedicated to Ixchel. Cozumel, Mexico.

6 comments on “Chris Hedges: The Great Flood

  1. daniel r. cobb
    September 14, 2017

    Time passes and we fall farther and farther behind in our ability to slow climate change. Up to this point the human species has not reduced CO2 emissions in any meaningful way and today CO2 levels are the highest they’ve been in at least 800,000 years, likely tens of millions of years. We are redefining Earth, creating a new planet that will grow more and more hostile to humans and other living creatures. Why? Because we don’t care enough to change.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. daniel r. cobb
    September 14, 2017

    Reblogged this on daniel r. cobb and commented:
    Compelling! Time passes and we fall farther and farther behind in our ability to slow climate change. Up to this point the human species has not reduced CO2 emissions in any meaningful way and today CO2 levels are the highest they’ve been in at least 800,000 years, likely tens of millions of years. We are redefining Earth, creating a new planet that will grow more and more hostile to humans and other living creatures. Why? Because we don’t care enough to change.

    Like

  3. daniel r. cobb
    September 14, 2017

    Super and compelling piece; thank you for posting this. Hopefully we as a species will begin to pay heed.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. thisisnorm
    September 12, 2017

    Withering Paradise

    To touch the cape of paradise
    Or taste its fragrant air
    Is that ‘one’ moment of the dream
    Our journeys live to bear

    To watch the islands’ setting sun
    Across the palm lined bay
    And feel the softing breezes cool
    The burning of the day

    To journey with a child’s heart
    In innocence to see
    The wonder there in each new day
    Is how our lives should be

    But if the petals of the flower
    Will wither with a touch
    To hold it cupped within our hands
    Is wanting far too much

    And should, one day, we journey back
    To live the time anew
    We’ll find that our fair paradise
    Is just a dream we knew

    N.N. 12/1/90

    Liked by 1 person

  5. jfrobb
    September 12, 2017

    This is clear and compelling. Making great sense to some of us. But how to open the minds and hearts of those you refer to as the happy climate deniers?

    Many issues have legitimately different sides. But climate change is not one of them. Sadly, it appears the clearer the facts that support the need to pay attention and act, the stronger the resistance.

    How to change this?

    Liked by 1 person

  6. anisioluiz2008
    September 12, 2017

    Reblogged this on O LADO ESCURO DA LUA.

    Liked by 1 person

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