Call to Action for an Earth Insurgency
A call for reluctant Earth revolutionaries to unite and slay the economic growth machine consuming ecological being.
By Dr. Glen Barry, originally published on Ecological Internet, September 19th, 2009
A disease is ravaging Earth as ever more people, consume ever more, destroying natural ecosystems that are our shared habitat. In a few short centuries the violent, expansionist and deeply ecologically unsustainable Western mindset has become virtually universally accepted. The meaning of life is more, ever more of everything, at the expense of a finite biosphere. The emptiness of such a vacuous worldview is revealed through changing climate, devastating human inequities and an irredeemably corrupt economic system.
More than just a climate crisis, humanity is facing profound over-population and injustice that are spurring dozens of inter-related ecological and social crises. Billions suffer as their basic human needs go unmet, while billions more gorge themselves. Forests, prairies, streams, rivers, estuaries, wetlands, lakes, soil, oceans, air and all the rest are all life’s flesh and blood. Humanity, Earth and kindred species have entered the late stage condition of ecological overshoot — whereby our cumulative demands upon ecosystems exceed their life-giving capacity and cause them to collapse.
We are eating creation. Hardly anyone is thinking or acting at the necessary scale to avert global ecological Armageddon. Market based solutions are pervasive with corruption and inequity. Nothing we do is going to maintain an affluent life, as it is now for some. Widespread economic decline will certainly accompany abrupt climate change and global ecosystem collapse; indeed, it has begun. If existing political systems are unable to deal with the inevitable collapse of the growth machine, at the same time as pursuing rigorous environmental policy-making, then new political structures will be necessary.
A stewardship revolution that maintains life of some worthy, habitable sort is possible. Surely in a free country whose liberty came from such means, we can talk about revolutionary violence, as Thomas Jefferson said would continue to be necessary. “The blood of tyrants and patriots must flow to renew the soil.” What could be more glorious than fighting, and perhaps dying, for the Earth, and maybe even succeeding in saving her (and us)?
It is time for a credible revolutionary threat to protect the biosphere. What is needed is a steady ratcheting up of pressure – protests, sit-ins, sabotage, assassinations — giving opponents every opportunity to respond to reasoned arguments – and culminating in guerrilla warfare and whatever else is necessary to save the Earth. If a few thousand insurrectionists can tie up the American military in Iraq, think what dedicated, highly decentralized and autonomous groups of tens of thousands of Earth insurgents could do to bring down industrial capitalism and the Earth eating growth machine.
People power protest culminating in an Earth Revolution needs to be done urgently yet thoughtfully. Not speaking of mob rule or rioting — that is what is coming from the status quo. We are speaking of highly disciplined, targeted protests including the possible use of violence to bring down the equipment and individuals responsible for destroying global ecosystems, and herald in a new ecologically sustainable, just and equitable way of living with the land, water and sky. Living must become a matter of what you can give to ecosystems, and others with whom you share being, rather than only being concerned with what you can take.
Economic growth cannot continue forever if greenhouse gases are to be curbed, and the myriad of other eco-crises solved. Efforts to cap and trade, certify, sustainably manage and otherwise reform our way out of the situation are orders of magnitude inadequate and failing. Free markets appear to inherently be unable to price carbon and other externalities. It is becoming increasingly unlikely (if not impossible) that current political and business growth systems can reform in time to maintain the ecosystems necessary for life.
The looming death of Gaia and most or all being is no one’s fault, or rather, it is all our faults. As many species have done previously, we have collectively overgrazed our habitat. We simply must immediately allow traditional ecological disturbance, regeneration and succession patterns to again operate. The industrial growth machine must be powered off and we must herald in an era of ecological stewardship and restoration. Even while we organize and pursue revolutionary action; each of us must plant, tend and restore our Earth’s natural ecosystems and permaculture gardens, and help others to do so.
Only dramatic and immediate revolutionary action to destroy the growth machine offers any hope of maintaining a livable Earth. We must commit to stopping burning and cutting — antiquated means to make a living — indeed killing those that refuse to stop. Rich people are setting themselves up to be fine in geo-engineered comfort while sacrificing the poor who no longer have free ecosystem services to sustain them. There can be no engineering of a biosphere; indeed, thinking we can has brought us to this moment. We must return to nature.
We must hold onto our humanity as we collapse and renew ourselves. Earth Revolution is as much about helping those that want to reconnect to Earth as it is sabotaging equipment and killing people directly responsible for ecocide. This means sharing food and water, shelter and clothing. But bring those responsible for ecocide to justice, utterly destroying them, their institutions and their equipment. There must be no indiscriminate terror, but if our warnings go unheeded, targeted violence against known ecological criminals is justified and warranted.
Given the momentum of nearly seven billion seeking to be super-consumers, do not see any other way to stop the forces of destruction other than a revolution. There is absolutely no way current energy and other resource use– much less expected growth in population and per capita consumption — can be produced either from agrofuels or more drilling. Humans have hit the biogeochemical limits of a finite planet, and each of us must seek what is enough, rather than always more.
It is well past time to be men and women of fortitude, set aside our computers and amusements, and commit our minds and bodies to stopping the destruction of being. We must demand more courage and less corruption from ourselves and our leaders. The Arctic has already been changed forever. Soon your neighborhood, ecosystem and bioregion will be too (if you really look, almost certainly it is already). Please, as I do, take the end of human being through needless habitat destruction personally.
Part of the solution is allowing people to get back to Earth on their own plot of land. How we live in the future will be by necessity less urban. We will be called upon to make do with what is in our bioregion. Let me make some further suggestions to you. Acquire land and seeds. Make or restore an Earth friendly shelter and plant trees and permaculture forest gardens. Prepare to live in your changing bioregion. Go back to the land. Ecologically farm and restore as you connect with like minded Earth revolutionaries to clandestinely carry out escalating protest, sabotage and guerrilla war.
I urge you to really think about what is necessary — both personally and in terms of social change — to sustain being, and committing to it. Token managerial reforms of the antiquated ecologically damaging activities of burning and cutting are not enough. Technology is not going to save us. Market campaigns using glamorous celebrities are not enough. Petitioning our leaders is not going to save us. Personal efforts will only get you and Gaia so far. Only escalating protest action targeting the destroyers, their equipment and their Earth eating worldview can still avert biosphere disintegration.
Set aside your best efforts at ecological denial, acknowledge the task before us, and join with others in becoming a reluctant revolutionary. An Earth insurgency could topple the growth machine in a day, though it may take years. The sooner the better, as more ecological remnants will exist to serve as the basis of ecological restoration. Even as we pursue revolutionary strategies and tactics to maintain a habitable Earth, commit to remaining free and humane. The answer is neither tyranny of the left nor right. Above all else we must achieve global ecological sustainability through just and equitable means.
Protect and restore natural ecosystems including old forests right now. Work with others to destroy coal, tar sands, fishing trawlers, oil palm, industrial agriculture, pipelines and ancient forest loggers. Start today. Now continued human existence depends upon your courage, ecological wisdom and taking direct lethal action in defense of our shared ecological heritage. Each of us and together will transition to a state of ecological grace, quickly, and through action against the Earth destroyers, or we will all die a horrific and barbaric death together as being ends.
If we choose to fight for Earth there is hope, otherwise there is none. Share the anguish of not knowing if revolutionary violence is the answer or not. But it has to be considered comprehensively, thoroughly and quickly. Prove me wrong and demonstrate how to ecologically sufficiently address converging eco-crises in a couple years time within current economic and political systems. Revolution is almost certainly the only possible way to sustain and restore healthy ecosystems as the basis of human civilization and all life. Be strong, slay the growth machine, for Gaia.
This is an excerpt from Dr. Glen Barry’s forthcoming new book entitled “New Earth Rising”. We intend to publish the introduction soon as we begin serializing it at www.newearthrising.org. We eagerly seek a publisher and financial backers to finish the book which is nearing completion.