Tuesday, February 4, 2014
the game goes on
I'm sure I've written about him before, but Andy Goldsworthy's artwork in nature is something that calms me when I've read too much about the environmental destruction that continues to be wrought upon the planet.
The most recent, and unnecessary, example I've read about recently is the decision made by the Australian government to allow millions of tonnes of sludge to be dumped inside the Great Barrier Reef Marine Park in order that they may build a port to export more coal. This is despite the written pleas of several hundred scientists who stated in part of a letter, "Sediment from dredging can smother corals and seagrasses and expose them to poisons." It's not that there aren't other ways to deal with creating a larger port, but the Australian government has decided to go for the cheap, fast and dirty one.
What's most aggravating about the huge projects developed around extracting the fuels required to keep our modern industrial machines running, is that the people who allow them and profit from them, never consider the damage done to the environment. It's not that they don't know, it's that they prefer not being told. Another piece of news reported yesterday is that scientists have determined the amount of harmful pollutants released in the process of recovering oil from the tar sands of western Canada is far higher than corporate interests say it is.
Some time ago there was a phrase 'Think globally, act locally' that prompted many people to enter the environmental movement. A new book written by historian Joachim Radkau called 'The Age of Ecology' that will be published this spring is on my list for purchase:
The environmental movement, notes the author, has demystified the myth of technological progress for good. At the same time, however, a nature conservation movement that has now gone on the offensive harbours a design for the re-enchantment of the world. And this occurs mainly through what takes place locally. The practical use of environmental history, the retrospective of past decades, consists in seeing how, behind the jumble of environmental regulations, the simple concerns and basic motives, such as the need for and the right to clean water, clean air, peace and quiet and healthy nourishment, were again recognised and pursued at the local level.
From the reviews I've read the core of his history is the rise of environmental activism in the past half century, charting how this movement has been tightly linked to the fate of biological life (including us, but not just us in particular I would presume) on the planet. He seems to see a great flowering of ecological awareness developing despite the current conflict with capital interests.
What the governments and corporations are telling us by their actions is that we live in a world of endless resources that can be used for unending production. This is patently untrue for the many of us who witness the destruction and waste that surrounds us. The one thing they never want to face is our need for conservation of resources - a subject that must be addressed. What use are the products of great wealth on a planet ravaged by drought, famine, sea level rise, dead and dying oceans, and a polluted stormy sky?
Meanwhile, a sample of a documentary called 'Rivers and Tides':
As Crow says (although he may not have originated it), 'Where there's life, there's hope. I got my Green Party membership card in the mail this morning.