Sunday, June 27, 2010

Short Term Profits, Long Term Problems

There is an endless supply of white men. There has always been a limited number of human beings. If things keep trying to live, white men will rub them out.
~Chief Dan George as "Old Lodge Skins"

Heavily under the influence, to the point of being blinded by, greed, our captains of global industry are barreling down the tracks toward a canyon wall. The docile cargo of the lower classes are finally becoming aware of the existence of the wall, too late to really stop the impact, but not too late to slow the train down enough to make the impact somewhat survivable.

We've all heard about the poisoning of a section of our waters and coast of course, but we haven't really been told of the destruction of large sections of our land through mountaintop removal and other hideous forms of exploitation developed by the extractive industries. When I heard candidate Obama mention "clean coal" I knew that the two major political parties were not that far apart on environmental policy and that King Coal had covered their bets by buying them both off. Our current Secretary of the Interior, "Cowboy" Ken Salazar has been a nightmare for those who thought wolves were finally safe in the northern Rockies or endangered species were actually going to get a break from the relentless assault by the monied interests. The beat goes on, with people placing more importance on the quarterly reports of their portfolios than the long term survivability of the planet.

The 2010 mid-term elections present the choice between keeping the train going at roughly its current speed, or accelerating towards an even worse impact. Where is the real alternative? Where is the long term plan to forge a sustainable economy? As long as we are using the paradigm of quarterly profits, I doubt it will ever arrive and our fate will be sealed.


Black Diaspora said...

Yours is an implacable future, where our only hope is a slow death or a quick one.

I'm betting on the "quick one." I'm just not that sanguine about humanities will to slow the train down, or abandon the train before it slams into the "canyon wall."

Regrettably, we don't have much time to decide. We're nearing zero hour for humankind to take a stand, or forever be lost to its own folly.

That we can see what's at stake--those of us with our eyes wide opening, rather than eyes wide shut--is of little consolation, because our 20-20 vision cannot be shared with those too myopic (focused on short-term gain at the expense of long-term suffering), and too stubborn to upgrade their spectacles.

Nevertheless, I'm also betting on humanity to overcome, but that's because I'm betting on the "wise ones" to prevail, and not those duped by the merchants of lies--merchants such as Rush Limbaugh, Glenn Beck, and Sean Hannity.

Ernesto said...

"Nevertheless, I'm also betting on humanity to overcome, but that's because I'm betting on the "wise ones" to prevail..."

The Original Sin of our culture was putting a dollar value on everything. That is what denuded the landscape of old growth forests and is what is currently accelerating the ecological crises we face. We can only redeem ourselves by transitioning away from unsustainable industry of all kinds, regardless of profit margins. This is not being done, and I don't even hear anyone talking about starting to do it. There is a lot of talk about a "green economy" and "green jobs", but very little substantive action to actually make that happen before fossil fuels are longer profitable.

Black Diaspora said...

"The Original Sin of our culture was putting a dollar value on everything."

Amen to that!

Speaking of "denuding," I recently learned that millions of trees were cut down in the former colonies, and sent back to England to build homes, and cathedrals, and to be used possibly for fuel.

"Profit margin" dictates, I'm afraid. For some corporations, it's the only consideration worth considering.