Apr 22 • 10M

Darwin Awards: Happy Earth Day!

"Earth soon cured of civilization!"

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Me: Wendy Northcutt, thanatologist and author of the Darwin Awards, here to wish you a Happy Earth Day! with my first podcast.

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"Earth soon cured of civilization!"

"Earth soon cured of civilisation!"

The profit/loss balance sheet says civilisation is bankrupt. Humans remodeled Earth to suit humans, but we are not smart enough to boss around an entire living planet. Growth and progress our guiding star, we built a civilization of profit!—at the loss of life.

Humans Are On A Berserk Killing Spree.

Go look it up. Wild mammals are reduced to 4% of mammal biomass. Coral reefs dying. Whales only 30% left. Salmon runs are trickles. Sea life, plant species… We have no moral authority to destroy this cathedral of life, built over billions of years of evolution. This is our inheritance to treasure, not a paycheck to squander.

And tragic news! When we extinct a species, the networks the species participated in also dies. The evolutionary knowledge stored in that network is lost.

Humans Are One Slender Thread in a Planetary Tapestry Of Life.

This green-blue oxygen planet is an interlocking, self-sustaining network of life. It holds information learned during billions of years of experimental evolution. Earth's life-network of interconnected life forms, is intelligent in EXACTLY THE SAME WAY that a human's neural-network, a network of interconnected brain cells, is intelligent. Both of these intelligences were created by evolution. Except obviously Earth stores more information one species' brains.

Think about it: humans are a subset of life.

Earth Is More Intelligent Than Humans

For example, George Monbiot describes what happened when wolves were restored to Yellowstone National park to reduce the deer population. A miraculous blossoming! Forests grew back, hills greened up, streams ran clear again, animals of all sorts began multiplying and thriving. What a surprise to us! A surprise because our limited ecology insights are just 'minimiscule' compared to Earth's knowledge about creating a sustainable ecosystem.

And yes I invented the word ‘minimiscule’ because I can. Language evolves. Deal with it.

To "fix" Yellowstone we simply had to get out of Earth's way: Put the wolves we removed back, and the intelligent network of life grew whole again on its own.

Kill A Species, Give The Planet Brain Damage

Fewer species makes the planet less skillful at maintaining necessary balances. For example, deep-diving whales churn oxygen and nutrients (and their own poop) into the ocean, and these nutrients nourish the basis of the food chain. But we have killed 70% of the whales. What effect will that have?

Besides which, these are intelligent beings.

Captain Ahab Meet Captain Obvious:
Civilization Is Incompatible With Life On Earth.

This civilization—which BTW is only one of many past and possible civ’s—THIS civilization has killed off so much life that humans are already doomed. We are the Black Knight, missing arms and legs, already dead but still slashing about with our swords of death.

In Theory: There Is Time To Pivot.

Wise indigenous people have warned us for decades that we have forgotten our connection to the planet. Our best minds, and IPCC scientists, warn us that we must pivot NOW. Basically because we haven't pivoted at any time in the past 30 years despite warnings. And we now have a specific blueprint: We really know how to make a sustainable civilization, it! Reduce emissions, ramp up on green energy, ditch the idea of perpetual economic growth, share our resources with the global south, live locally, etcetera.

But--we check our stock portfolio, make coffee from another continent, book a flight, fill the gas tank, argue about stupid stuff. The dominant culture taught us that we are uniquely smart, and we just run with that assumption. But we are not so smart. We are running with scissors, running with a chainsaw, running on empty Jackson Browne.

In Practice: No Pivot Possible.

“In theory, there’s no difference between theory and reality. In reality, there is.”

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There are so many human-created networks that collectively prevent us from changing to a planet-sustaining civilization. To name a few: the economic system reliant on perpetual growth. The political system that elects people with short-term goals. The fossil energy system that refuses to pivot. The media system that prioritizes eyeballs over information. And the human system of emotions and reactions and denial, this is also is an important part of maintaining the status quo.

En masse we are a hive mind entrenched in gathering the honey of money. But summer is over my friends. Winter is coming.

On A Personal Note: Less Is More.

Personally what I find sad is, we would be happier if we changed to a sustainable lifestyle. Constant advertising causes dissatisfaction. A consumption lifestyle does not increase happiness. And…we would like living locally, closer to family, sharing and cooperating with our neighbors to overcome adversity. We would enjoy having green agriculture close to our cities, fresh air, open space.

Fresh seasonal food is really nice. I remember when that was all we had, and it did not bother anyone. Instead of a ridiculous all-year-long tomato season reliant on global transportation, we would look forward to great summertime tomatoes. Look forward to eating blueberries and asparagus in spring. Anticipating fruits as they come into season is nice. It tastes better.

It's dreary having everything year-round. There is something nourishing about living in harmony with the seasons. And less is more. I think we would like living sustainably.

And even medicine—the profit motives have added up over the years, scientists, the AMA, pharmaceutical companies, and insurance have not put the wellbeing of humanity first, at best they put the wellbeing of humanity second, and over time that has added up to the detriment of human health. Civilization has ruined our posture and weakened our bodies. We will not suffer by downsizing corporate medicine. But that's just my kink YMMV.

As Civilization Nears Collapse, Happy Earth Day!

Trustworthy scientists are telling us that the laws of nature are currently starting to reboot the planet. Earth, your infection is almost cured. Humans have enjoyed a good run. But all that is born dies. Gaia may be in for another Deep Reboot, the sixth extinction they say. Enjoy the beauty. Grieve the loss. Accept collapse. Find a collapse support group. Protest on the streets, or just stay home and eat pickles.

"Happy Earth Day: Enjoy the change of life."

Best wishes from your friend and thanatogist, Wendy Darwin Northcutt, scientist and author of the Darwin Awards. Book me for a Cameo at your next funeral!


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