Now that presents have all been opened and we’re at least beginning to think about cleaning up the resulting mess, we might also want to consider a parallel situation.
We are not quite finished opening up all the presents from fossil fuels. It’s been a process of several centuries since Thomas Newcomen’s atmospheric engine was used in 1712 for pumping in a mine. Although there are a few presents still to be unwrapped, we are certainly beginning to notice the mess left behind – climate change, acidification of the rising oceans, persistent organic pollutants such as pesticides, herbicides and endocrine disruptors, and the cascading consequences of the sixth Great Extinction.
It’s quite a mess to clean up. With the exception of a few efforts here and there, the cleanup has not yet begun. For an idea of just how serious this issue is – far outside the scope of issues hotly debated within our corrupt two-party system – you should really read John Michael Greer’s latest essay “Too Little, Too Late.” Continue reading