Wednesday, January 28, 2015

Plenticidal Extinction

It is catchier, but less informative, to say we are living in the time of The Sixth Extinction than to use a ten cent word like The Anthropocene Extinction.

But I argue that even using a word like Anthropocene doesn't really begin to scratch the surface about what is truly unique about this latest - deliberately plenticidal - extinction.

But first, let us agree that there is an even bigger danger in simply giving this current extinction a number instead of a fully descriptive name.

Because humans couldn't be around for the first five major extinctions here on Earth - events we could only read about in the past tense in school - we risk turning a global tragedy into a form of global Reality TV.

'Now you too can be an eyewitness to a major historical event - sixth time lucky !'

But Athropocene isn't much better : it simply means an extinction caused by human activities - as opposed to earlier extinctions caused by climate changes or huge balls of flaming rock hitting the Earth.

That flaming hunk of molten destruction was not a living thinking being - it couldn't have changed course to avoid hitting the Earth no matter how many poignant messages it received from the Pope, Bono and Bill Gates.

But we have been told, told for centuries, that our hunting behavior is killing the larger creatures (megafauna) species wholesale.

 Now, in the last few decades we've been warned we soon won't be able to count the species of all sizes we are driving into extinction each and every year.

We have slowed up - reluctantly - in a few small areas - sped up in many bigger areas.

We are thinking , moral, beings and we aren't really stopping this killing.

At some point we must ask if this killing spree is not simply a tragedy incidental to human activities but in fact deliberate on our part.

We humans annually kill far more creatures because they are 'pests' or 'weeds' than we do out of greed ( the classic case of greed leading to extinction being the passenger pigeon.)

Here in Atlantic Canada many fisherman openly advocate killing off all the seals - not for their pelts or for use as food - but simply because they compete with us humans for something we truly value - the cod.

Its the old 'loaf of labour' theory modified.

The environment is just a mine of dead-like valuable resources in this view of reality.

Every pound of biological food energy that goes to the seal is a pound that doesn't go to Man.

Any thought that the seal and Man both do their small part in ensuring the ever constant global re-cycling of scarce carbon, oxygen,nitrogen, etc simply hasn't penetrated these thick skulls.

This view wants to see a world (that for now) that is one big level plowed field, stretching off past the horizon, totally sterile of any plant or animal or microbe we don't want there.

In the near future, this view won't even want that - no living beings will exist beyond humans (and even there ,only the healthy right-thinking humans will be allowed to survive) -- all our food will be made synthetically, out of rocks sublimated into steaks thanks to the energy of fusion fuel 'too cheap to meter'.

The chaos and competition of life is too much about for this mindset --- a clearing away of this vegetative undergrowth, this plentitude of life - is far overdue.

Plenticide the Plentitude of Life

Drain the gene pool as deep as it can go - human hubris has all the answers - plenticide off all our competitors and lets lie back and enjoy the non-living bounty of this Used-to-be-Green Earth...

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