Genuflecting In The Forest
Bearing witness to the carnage we of the Homo Sapiens lineage inflict on one another sours even the most optimistic of souls. What thoughtful person among us is not dragged inexorably down the dark whirlpool when confronted by yet another mother ravaged by the violent destruction of her dearly beloved, big eyed child? We use the language of hatred, spraying out machine gun words like terrorist, demon, migrant rapist, left wing thugs and countless others to make righteous our own terrorism and salve our night time pangs of guilt with their soothing unguent. Sad indeed, that we continue to beat this age old drum of hatred and bloodletting just as we face a world full of existential, environmental threats of our own making that need global concerted efforts and planet wide solutions.
The consequences of our changing climate growl at us menacingly like a big cat in a dark woods. The hottest 10 years on record have all occurred in this century, with the year just passed as the hottest of the hot. Far northern Canadian forests burned, we breathed their smoke. And yet the fossil fuel companies, and the banks that fund them drill, frack, and back in Canada, squeeze the oil out of bulldozer tortured tar sands. The whole world knows we are heading toward something unthinkable, something science calls hot house earth. Yet we are lied to by huge corporations so addicted to sure profit that they target the with smear campaigns the very clean energy sources and technologies that survival demands. Shouldn’t corporate mass murder carry a hefty sentence instead of an exalted place in the stock market?
The insanity of making vinyl chloride, a super toxic chemical used to make, of all things, plastic is only matched by the insanity of moving it around the country where it can spill and be unleashed on the unsuspecting world. Ask the poor folks in East Palestine, Ohio where 1.1 million pounds of the stuff escaped after a train derailment early last year what they think of such insanity. Exposure to vinyl chloride causes liver, brain and lung cancer. Scientist researchers are just now revealing the dangers of plastics which as a category of products contain over 10,000 different chemicals, many of them like vinyl chloride, and in that bottle of water you just untwisted the cap from 240,000 bits of micro plastics await to wash into your body. At least two questions seem pertinent.
The first asks us to question our own shopping habits. Are we going to continue to drop all that plastic in our shopping carts? It’s what much of our clothing consists of today. The second leads us to wonder why we produce and sell such toxin laced products to begin with? Okay, the third one is this: what value does the petrochemical industry place on our health, our lives – or the life of this planet for that matter? Which leads to a fourth: Why aren’t we loudly demanding our legislators put an end this deadly madness?
Today, unlike those born before industrialization, we are little more than prey to the witches stirring up “miracle of modern chemistry” potions. PFAS, another toxic chemical more and more water treatment plants around the world must now contend with. Like plastics, these chemicals are everywhere. In modern fabrics, water proof and stain proof textiles from carpeting to Goretex and from fast food wrappers to Teflon coated cookware, even many cosmetics and dental flosses. Makes us wonder just who is steering this ship we’re on? And why are they heading for the rocks? None of this makes rational sense, at least to me. Slightly over a hundred and twenty years ago the biggest problem we faced was what to do with all the horse manure.
We are over eight billion strong and adding more hungry mouths by the second. To feed us all the World Wildlife Fund says over 40% of all land has already been converted from field and forest to civilized food production,and that agriculture is responsible for ninety percent of deforestation around the world. This kind of crop mono-culture plus the heavy use of pesticides are major factors in the impending sixth mass extinction zoologists and botanists are talking about. Out of the way earth, eight billion people coming through!
Where to go with all this environmental mayhem? I say we race off to the magical quiet of the woods. I say we listen and take direction only from those who hold office in hidden glades and bend their ears attending to the wisdom of old trees and contemplative trout streams. I say we give credence not to those who haunt large, well appointed offices in the halls of government, or in diamond studded, corporate mansions. I say we give honor singularly to those who genuflect reverently in the forests wherein the Creator holds forth magnificently, speaking with the eloquence of Luna moths and fireflies who dance blithely in the midnight dark. Only such as these comprehend the wisdom in the small, rather than the capital I. Only those with enlightened humility see the real gold glittering in the clearest, cleanest run of water, the freshest soils that teem with life, the purest air that nurtures the lichen growing on the ancient tree. And only these will have the courage to wage a ferocious peace founded on a genuine vision of the needs and just rights of all who live. Only when we seek out and follow the footsteps of a saint Cochise or a desert God seeking Jesus will we find the Kingdom we claim we seek. Perhaps, upon hearing our deaths door complaints the Creator will reply: “What? I gave you the Garden of Eden, look what you did to it.”