Last night I watched Steven Seagal’s film On Deadly Ground, an old favourite. This morning I read the old critics comments about it, one of the gloomiest things I’ve read recently.
Why? Because the comments show just how much anyone actually cares about what Big Business and the governments it creates and supports is doing, and has already done, to our Earth. The film is very old now, 1994, 24 years old, a generation old, and maybe those comments from that time might not be made now when we can actually see everything Seagal says in the film happening all round us. And worse. But I’m not sure.
I was reading an article on Rewilding’s blog only a couple of days ago by this woman scientist who’s currently the bee’s knees in rewilding popularity, which didn’t give me much confidence. She says that rewilding just isn’t interesting the majority of people (true enough) and that it would do better if it stopped concentrating on animals and plants and turned its focus onto the damage the loss of our ecosystem will do to our children. Well, initially, I can feel the heart-warmed glow from a lot of people to this emphasis, but … it can (and likely would) actually make the problem worse.
Why? Because – yet again- it promotes us to focus on ourselves. The ecological problems stem from our selfishness. Most people care most about themselves, then their family, then their wider social group. Beyond that everything gets a bit wishy-washy if not worse. Anything that doesn’t look like you, act like you, have the same likes/dislikes and needs as you is largely incomprehensible and, anyway, everything is here for your benefit, isn’t it? If it makes your life uncomfortable or inconvenient then kill it – just go look at the weed-killer adverts for proof of this!
Dandelions, for instance, coming up in your nice clean concrete path, or super green-desert of a lawn, are poisoned with the equivalent of Zyclon-B. Yes, no exaggeration here, that’s where Zyclon-B comes from, go look it up. And happy, smiling, sexy, scientists dance about spraying poison everywhere and making things just like you want them to be, with no effort from you. And you don’t have clue what the knock-on effects of you using that crap are, and they’re huge. Talk about a butterfly’s wing flapping in South America causing a tornado on the other side of the world – yes, really.
You know, these pix macho bear trophy hunter-killers and Resolva macho crap man, really resemble each other for me, and exemplify this selfish human attitude.
Then there’s the food you eat. Do you know where it comes from, how it was grown, what was done to the soil to produce it, how much habitat was stolen from wildlife (including plants) in order to create that field of wheat for your bread? No, I suspect you don’t.
And those things are just a tiny part of the whole energy cost of that field of wheat, and the poisons we use to stop anything else growing. When you begin looking into the energy costs of making the machinery, of keeping up the whole lifestyle of the farm workers, of ploughing, sowing, fertilising, harvesting it gets gynormous. And then there’s all the processing the wheat needs in order to make it edible for us humans, left to itself it’s actually poisonous to us! And all the energy-transport costs of getting the wheat to the processing factory, the energy-packing costs of all the machinery involved in that (including making the paper bags to pack it in!), and then the energy-transport costs of getting it from the factory to the shops. And we haven’t even finished there … how do you get to the shops to buy it, how do you make the money to buy it, etc, blah!
Oh yes, I hear the accountants say, all those costs are standard and they don’t count in calculating the energy cost of that loaf of bread. Bollocks! That’s adjusting statistics to say what you want said – is that what you are, a politician who only talks about what’s convenient, what doesn’t hurt?
And this is who we steal from …
And here we are, back again at human comfort-levels and how much we will only look at what doesn’t hurt us. As the poet TS Eliot said in Burnt Norton, “Humankind cannot bear very much reality”, and that poem was published back in 1936, over 70 years ago – no change there then. SNAFU as we used to say, situation normal all fucked up. And this is the desecration we quickly leave behind …
The critics of “On Deadly Ground” complained of the melancholy tone of the film. Shit, what do you expect when it’s about fucking up the planet? And has that changed now? Yes, maybe, perhaps we care a little more now we find people we respect, like David Attenborough, saying the same thing rather than macho movie actor Seagal. My! aren’t we a load of followers! We believe those who somehow have street-cred and try to debunk those we’re told to be a bit ashamed of! Sheeesh! How’s about listening to the message instead of looking at the packaging?
But looking at the packaging is what most folks do. How do you suppose Trump and May got to rule America and Britain? You don’t think it was because of their intelligent, well-thought-out policies do you? And do you believe the media in what they say? Do you ever go look to see which politicians they put their money behind? And it’s pretty well the same in all countries of the world, we’re all ruled by the rich who want to get richer and will exploit everything in order to do so.
And what is your own attitude? Do you want more money so your kisd can go to a better school, afford university, so they can earn more money and be rich themselves? Does everything in your life have a money cost and value? Are you one of those of whom Oscar Wilde said “who knows the price of everything and the value of nothing”? Do you notice that when a disaster, tsunami, tornado, volcano, flood, happens within the first sentence the newsreader tells you the monetary value of that disaster? Sheeeesh again! Lives, even human ones, come after the money, while animal life, plant life, insects, birds, fish, the whole non-human world doesn’t get a look-in.
So how is caring about what happens to our children going to change that attitude? The attitude is “me first” everything else after and if it hurts me (or maybe my kids) then it can go hang. It isn’t going to change that attitude is it, only reinforce it.
What we need to do (and I’m not holding my breath) is to change that attitude. We need to learn to care, care in hearts, in our bones, not just in lip-service with our intellects, about everything non-human. We need to learn that we’re a part of everything, and everything is a part of us. Until we know this in our bones we will continue to wreck the Earth.
As the old grandmother wise-woman says in Seagal’s film, time is running out for those who pollute the world. And so it is. There will be no world, no Earth, if we don’t stop all the frightful things we each of us do every single day that contribute to killing the Earth, through pollution and climate change. And how to do that? Is there any way we can stop it happening without changing that selfish, narrow, human fixation with ourselves?
Like I said, don’t hold your breath …