“Earth Day canceled due to lack of interest”? No? “Earth Day canceled on account of rain” is a bit more subtle, but both potential titles indicate the sort of mentality that has brought us to our present state. And what state is that? Does the World Scientists’ Warning to Humanity sound familiar? That plea from 1,700 of the world’s leading scientists, including the majority of Nobel laureates in the sciences, was issued in November 1992, twenty years ago. It was a dire warning that went mostly unheeded, even by so-called progressives and liberals whose lifestyles, along with those of most of their fellow citizens in the U.S., continue to reflect a suicidal disregard for the very planet that sustains them. The scientists warn:
“We the undersigned, senior members of the world’s scientific community, hereby warn all humanity of what lies ahead. A great change in our stewardship of the earth and the life on it is required, if vast human misery is to be avoided and our global home on this planet is not to be irretrievably mutilated.”
In any case, the world scientists noted:
“No more than one or a few decades remain before the chance to avert the threats we now confront will be lost and the prospects for humanity immeasurably diminished.”
Check the calendar, do the math. Our few decades are up. All the work we do, all the Occupations we create, will come to nothing on a planet that will no longer sustain us. If our efforts in whatever cause is our calling does not involve an ecological element, then we have a real problem. As an example: suppose we actually succeed in convincing the majority of corporations in bed with the American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC) to bail; will they also change their ecologically destructive practices? Corporations, like most economists, believe exponential growth can go on forever; yet we live in a finite world. How will we transform a mentality that is centuries old? And this: we struggle daily in the Occupy movement to defend our rights and the rights of others; what about The Rights of Nature? If the Earth is treated as a commodity or a place to recreate, if it is thought of as a stage for our actions rather than the living organism that sustains us, what then?
How about this for Earth Day 2012: let us include The Rights of Nature in all our declarations and in all our actions. All the world is not a stage, it’s the source of our existence. We Occupy the Earth but it must be our occupation to protect it.