Patagon Journal - - CONTENTS - By Lu­cas Chi­appe

Eco­cide in the bio­sphere Eco­cid­ios en la bios­fera

Clearly the sad “model” of our glob­al­ized so­ci­eties and our cap­i­tal­ist, ex­trac­tive-based and in­hu­mane econ­omy, are be­gin­ning to cause an en­vi­ron­men­tal col­lapse of un­pre­dictable con­se­quences.

Here in Patag­o­nia, we are ex­pe­ri­enc­ing a sui­ci­dal loot­ing and short­term logic, car­ried out by a num­ber of cor­po­ra­tions that ac­cel­er­ate the ex­trac­tion of es­sen­tial nat­u­ral re­sources with the com­plic­ity of demo­crat­i­cally-elected gov­ern­ments.

It's as if sud­denly our unique, galac­tic shel­ter has be­come a war chest for a hand­ful of mer­ce­nar­ies, the 1% who con­trol at will the fate of the Bio­sphere. The causes are mul­ti­ple and com­plex.

The harm­ful com­pul­sive con­sumerism and an in­creas­ingly cy­ber, vir­tual and ur­ban­ized so­ci­ety is caus­ing a loss of cul­tural iden­tity and con­nec­tion with lo­cal ecosys­tems all over the planet. Add to that an alarm­ing lack of “ur­gency” that time is work­ing against us. Other fac­tors? De­ci­sion-mak­ing power on en­vi­ron­men­tal mat­ters granted to al­leged “ex­perts,” al­low­ing us to re­move our­selves from our in­di­vid­ual re­spon­si­bil­ity. The reign­ing ma­te­ri­al­ism also clouds our sense of the sa­cred, not that which has to do with re­li­gion, but rather with the deep sense of re­spect for the ex­u­ber­ant bio­di­ver­sity of which we are a part.

It is also good to re­mem­ber that ho­mo­gene­ity, pro­duc­tion, and some­times even re­cre­ation, at the ex­pense of other es­sen­tial val­ues, of­ten ex­ceed the “car­ry­ing ca­pac­ity” and “re­silience” of a nat­u­ral area. And this sit­u­a­tion re­sults pri­mar­ily from a lack of un­der­stand­ing about the frag­ile and sub­tle bal­ance main­tained in ev­ery ecosys­tem.

We are not helped ei­ther by watch­ing ev­ery BBC doc­u­men­tary or read­ing man­u­als on ecol­ogy, in or­der to “hear” the sounds of the for­est or “feel” the en­ergy that sur­rounds us when walk­ing silently through the woods ... and if we do not hear, nor feel, fur­ther still will we not un­der­stand their im­por­tance or mo­bi­lize to pro­tect them.

We spend day and night sub­ju­gated by false, in­ac­cu­rate and in­ad­e­quate in­for­ma­tion, and de­spite the ev­i­dence that is be­fore our eyes we refuse to ad­dress the prob­lem. Or we as­sume that sci­ence or tech­nol­ogy will save us.

But the worst part is, de­spite liv­ing on the brink, wit­ness­ing a mass extinction of species, the warn­ing voices heard around the world re­main weak, in­suf­fi­cient, or even re­signed to what is hap­pen­ing. And un­for­tu­nately, ex­cept for a hand­ful of small con­ser­va­tion or­ga­ni­za­tions and brave cit­i­zens, the cries of ou­trage are be­ing re­duced to a collection of protests that are quickly be­com­ing in­vis­i­ble, dis­cred­ited or sup­pressed by gov­ern­ments that do not wish to seek al­ter­na­tive so­lu­tions for fear of dam­ag­ing their economies.

But let's not for­get that ev­ery in­di­vid­ual con­tri­bu­tion and ev­ery col­lec­tive ac­tion is bal­anc­ing the scales. Just as the join­ing of one cell to an­other de­ter­mines the for­ma­tion of an or­gan­ism, chang­ing in­di­vid­ual at­ti­tudes can lead to a trans­for­ma­tion away from a way of life that is as much un­sat­is­fac­tory as stress­ful. But for this to hap­pen, we need the com­mit­ment and par­tic­i­pa­tion of all those who have felt at some point in their lives the im­mense priv­i­lege to be alive and sur­rounded by so much mys­tery and beauty.

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