The way to Green Liberty: stop being afraid, work together to make things better

| 11th May 2016
Seeking Green Liberty! Photo: Adarsh Thakuri via Flickr (CC BY).
Seeking Green Liberty! Photo: Adarsh Thakuri via Flickr (CC BY).
A future of green abundance for all is possible, writes Glen Barry. Instead we are mired in the destruction of the Earth's vital ecosystems, divided by obscene wealth and shameful poverty, and pitted against each other in genocidal wars over energy, resources and global dominance. To make that alternative a living reality, we must shed our fears and come together in common purpose.
Rather than fully embrace the last century of hard fought social, technological, and ecological knowledge, we allow big government to wage religious perma-war for a small rich oligarchy at the expense of the poor and our one planet, Earth.

Things could be so much better, if we want them to be. There are tremendous benefits to be realised by coming together to make peace, promote equity and justice, protect natural ecosystems, and end fossil fuels.

But it requires us to reject religious fanaticism, think freely and generously, help the poor to live upon the land, demobilise standing armies, stop spewing filth into the air and waters; and go back to the land to create worth from nurturing soil and vegetation, earning a righteous livelihood from the strength of our minds and bodies.

A green and free future of sustainability and abundance - based upon living within an encompassing matrix of organic permaculture, and natural and regenerating ecosystems - awaits us. For the present outrageous state of the Earth and the murdering of its inhabitants to end, mostly we just need to start loving each other and nature, and to share.

"Tolerance and freedom of thought are the veritable antidotes to religious fanaticism." - Paul-Henri baron d'Holbach

"It is forbidden to kill; therefore all murderers are punished unless they kill in large numbers and to the sound of trumpets". - Voltaire.

"Some day the earth will weep, she will beg for her life, she will cry with tears of blood. You will make a choice, if you will help her or let her die, and when she dies, you too will die." - John Hollow Horn, Oglala Lakota.

"I would like to see every single soldier on every single side, just take off your helmet, unbuckle your kit, lay down your rifle, and set down on the side of some shady lane, and say, nope, I aint a gonna kill nobody. Plenty of rich folks wants to fight. Give them the guns." - Woody Guthrie.

The problems facing humanity

I am absolutely appalled at humanity's and nature's condition over the last several years. I am filled with infernal rage and nausea, and particularly irked, that in the 21st century we witness in the Middle East the continuing waging of holy war in the name of various absent gods; as a plethora of social inequities and ecological crises threaten our very existence.

Things could be so different if we embraced ecology, truth, justice, and equity as life's meaning. The world is ending as the biosphere collapses, preceded by the human family's descent into a neo-dark age.

In this short essay I intend to identify the threats posed by religious extremism, corporate ecocide, authoritarian government, and nationalistic power-mongering. Existing solutions will be highlighted to humanity's global problems, integrating many themes developed in more depth in my earlier writings.

Rather than fully embrace the last century of hard fought social, technological, and ecological knowledge, we allow big government to wage religious perma-war for a small rich oligarchy at the expense of the poor and our one planet, Earth.

Rather than fully embrace the last century of hard fought social, technological, and ecological knowledge, we allow big government to wage religious perma-war for a small rich oligarchy at the expense of the poor and our one planet, Earth.

For a mortgaged house, a shiny car, and a cell phone the vast majority of the middle class turn a blind eye to the suffering their way of life causes to their human family and environmental habitat. Modern industrial livelihoods kill nature for illusory comforts for some for a while.

As climate and ecosystems collapse, neo-fascist imperialism and local insurgencies arise to control dwindling resources. As I watch Muslim terrorists slaughter innocents, and Christian terrorists bomb innocents, over and over again; I am reminded of the danger of religious fanaticism and why I am an atheist and free-thinker.

There is no god and religious myths of ghosts in the sky that want us to kill others that think differently are god pollution that stifles progress and destroys the Earth.

Ecology is the meaning of life

Renewable energy, a carbon tax, and energy conservation - along with an end to destruction of natural ecosystems and old-growth forest restoration - will solve climate change and avoid biosphere collapse.

More natural ecosystems have already been lost than the biosphere can bear, and there is much work to be done regenerating ecosystems, creating sustainable permaculture agro-forests, and most people growing and locally exchanging their own organic food. Humanity must remain within the nurturing embrace of functional ecosystems.

Educating all girls, free birth control, and reasonable incentives to limit childbirths - along with much higher tax rates for the uber-rich - will address overpopulation and inequity and along with global demilitarisation fund the other required societal changes.

We could choose to live as one people on one Earth. A minimum stipend simply for living could be created to replace all other social programs (dramatically shrinking government), ensuring all basic needs are met, as those that work hard and are smart can still earn more. Increased opportunity for education, travel, and cross cultural experience will dispel religious intolerance and make nationalism less militaristic. But these solutions require us to stop being afraid and mobilize to survive and thrive.

To some extent, It's OK to be afraid. It is natural and has an evolutionary purpose. But it is foolish and weak to cave to fear and imprudently give away centuries of hard fought human rights because of social illness, industrial ecocide, and militarism. And it is vacuous and ignorant to fear low probability events as your very survival is threatened by far more massive and deadly immediate ecological, social, and economic crises.

Your odds of dying from a terrorist attack are one in 20,000,000. The risk of dying in a car accident is one in 19,000 (1,000+ times more likely than dying of terrorism). You are 35,079 times more likely to die from heart disease than from a terrorist attack.

There were at least 155 Americans killed by police officers in the United States in 2011. That means that you are more than 9 times more likely to be killed by a law enforcement officer than by a terrorist. When the biosphere finishes collapsing your chances of dying are 100%. So if you want to be safe, give up your car and cheeseburger and fear the police; yet hold onto your liberty and ecosystems.

This too shall pass. Be concerned about terrorism and ecological collapse; but not anxious, fearful, or overly stressed. Indeed, it is prudent to be concerned and vigilant, as there is always a small chance of a large-scale terrorist attack.

Yet the odds of being harmed by random violence are best reduced by addressing the root causes of terrorism, such as overpopulation, injustice and inequity, abrupt climate change, militaristic resource thievery, and ecosystem destruction. We must build global institutions to police terrorism, and seek to universally meet basic human needs, rather than jettisoning civil liberties and waging indiscriminate perma-war to maintain elite privilege that preys upon the poor and is killing Earth.

War is murder

I would rather be blown to pieces in a low-probability terrorist attack than forever give up my liberties and nature to oppressive big government and corporate exploitation. It is better that the free world accept some level of terrorist risk as together we address its root causes rather than commit war crimes as turn to authoritarian fascism.

I have written at length my entire life of how war is murder, and about the need to work for peace. A plethora of proven and non-violent means exist to bring about social change, one of the most effective being wholesale swarming and dispatching of oppressors by the oppressed.

Violence always begets violence, and rarely leads to justice. However, when faced by lunatics - such as messianic warlords or those dismantling Earth's biosphere - it may at times be necessary after exhausting all other options to judiciously fight in self-defense as a last resort.

It is not just the terror of random political violence we face; but also the terror of systematic abrupt climate change, deforestation, water and food scarcity, soil loss, acidifying and over-fished oceans, and abject poverty. The global ecological system collapses and dies as humanity overruns natural ecosystems and destroys the atmosphere; causing war, migration, poverty and the terror of social, economic, and ecological collapse.

Humanity comes together for ecology, truth, justice and mercy as rebukes ignorance, killing and hate or we face the end of being. Humanity comes together to protect ecosystems, have fewer kids, end fossil fuels and war, grow good food, or it is the end.

Humanity comes together to take back its sovereignty from large corporations and governments, and demobilize all militaries, or we face authoritarian demagoguery, continued oligarchic corporate rule, and worsening conditions before the biosphere collapses.

As much as many would like to welcome all of Earth's poor and persecuted in the relatively well-off West, such mass migration is not possible, and will pull down civilization such as it is. The poor will have to be given access to land in their own bioregion and taught how to live within its limits.

Green liberty is the answer

Using known techniques and technologies, one can envision a verdant Earth, where there is full employment caring for the land, other species, and each other, within the ecological constraints of our bioregion. Envision and work to create a world where most have a bit of land and make their living from nurturing soil, water, vegetation, and the air.

Where we can make something of lasting and sustainable value from the labours of their minds and bodies. Imagine people having time for others in their community, to teach and learn from each other, and valuing shared positive experience, learning, art, and self-expression over endlessly consuming toxic products.

Everyone will be guaranteed a minimum stipend to meet basic needs, most people will have enough as partake in some luxuries, even as those that are smart and work hard have more - but not ridiculously more, at the expense of others' and Earth's well-being.

For most of history, after war, standing armies were demobilized, and they will be again; as arms are beaten into plowshares one final time. Together we will soundly defeat both murderous terrorism and self-entitled militarism by humanity holding onto freedoms and coming together under just, equitable, and sustainable international laws; while returning political power to local democracies.

We are poised at the moment in history where the entire world can live long and well from the riches of permaculture and organic gardens interspersed amongst wilderness ecosystem habitats, where the fruits of our labour can be invested in each other's lives rather than murders, and where the internet makes clear that we are one human family utterly dependent upon each other and the biosphere.

We can reach this righteous place of green liberty, if we stop being afraid, and work together to make things better. We all die. But we can each choose to live with dignity and grace, in a manner that our ancestors can too.



Dr. Glen Barry has written Earth Meanders essays for over a decade. He intends to do so more frequently and seeks your support at Climate Ark.

This article was originally published by EcoInternet.

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