Perhaps you’ve noticed that staying on the train is a full-time job and that in doing so, there is little chance of maintaining business as usual. Sometimes the speed of the train feels painfully slow, as if one is riding on the little engine that could. At other times, one feels hurled through time and space on a bullet train. In either situation, whether consciously or unconsciously, all passengers on this train have signed up for a spiritual, as well as historical, intellectual, and physical journey, and it is no longer possible to live ordinary lives in extraordinary times.
The Future Of Planet Earth: Are We The Last Surviving Generations? Radioactivity And The Gradual Extinction Of Life, By Dr. Rosalie Bertell
How grateful we must be for this magnificent gift of life and all we have needed to sustain it over the last hundreds of thousands of years! Yet, today it is under threats never felt before in its entire unfolding journey!“ Rosalie Bertell (Slowly Wrecking Our Planet, 2010) We are presented with the chance of an awakening from the deceptive dream of a righteous way how things are working. We have the opportunity to recognize that in the end what counts are only the recognition and practice of the joy of living and the love of life! However, this life as it is possible on this earth – unique in our cosmos – is incredibly endangered today. If we manage to recognize this, then paradoxically we can grow toward the ability of perceiving and experiencing this joy and this love anew or maybe for the first time in its full dimension – and this time without any naivety, but rather as an answer to the question about what we can actually really do in face of this fear provoking threat towards life and the earth: Namely to stand up for them – beyond feelings of fear and anxiety – what else!?“ Claudia von Werlhof (Two Years Of Planetary Movement for Mother Earth: The Fear and – What to do?“, 6th Letter of Information of the PMME, June 2012)
With catastrophic climate change we do know two things: We know that it is progressing with unimaginable speed, and we know that if it continues to do so, there will be few habitable places on earth by mid-century. Yet what else are we not being told? Does the silence matter? Will it make a difference ultimately? With Fukushima, however, we know so much less. How much radiation has already been released? How much is being released every day? How much radiated water is actually being dumped into the Pacific Ocean every day? What is the actual size of the radiation plumes that are moving eastward in the Pacific toward the West Coast of North America? Specifically how are these affecting sea life and human life? What is the relationship between environmental illnesses or the incidence of cancer and Fukushima? And the questions exacerbate and spin and swirl in our minds.
All radiation in Units 2, 3, and 4 may have already been released.
It is time to stop trying to “do” things to reverse the cataclysm in which we are embroiled—to stop looking for “answers” and start asking the right questions. The most important one we can ask in this moment is: How do we live in the face of the possible near-term extinction caused by the Fukushima nightmare and catastrophic climate change?
In part one of this article, we looked at the old adage, “you break it, you buy it,” placing it a modern-day context referring to what humanity has done to the planet…and ourselves. We’ve clearly broken it – badly – and “all the kings horses and all the king’s men” probably won’t be able to put it together again, even if we had the will. It’s not that many of us can’t see the apparent irreversible damage we’ve done, but that not enough people woke up before it became too late to do anything about it. Even if it isn’t too late, we’re still not doing anything about it….anything that matters, anyway. That’s what has kept it from getting fixed.
Action is the antidote to despair even if the action is hopeless. When a medical doctor knows that somebody has cancer, it’s malpractice if they don’t tell that. So I’m doing that. I think Bill McKibben and James Hansen and a whole bunch of climate scientists are guilty of malpractice. Because they know what I know. Almost every politician in the country knows what I know. All the leaders of the big banks know what I know. And they’re lying to us.
If, as Guy McPherson has said in the recent past, the only way for humanity to avoid Near-Term Extinction (NTE) is the immediate shutdown of industrial civilization, while to make matters worse – yes, matters could get worse – recently adding that if industrial civilization’s electrical grid were to suddenly go down, some 400+ nuclear plants around the world would begin to melt down. Without power, the normal shutdown procedures could not take place. Apparently, we may have broken our future, as well.
It’s bad enough that the Fukushima nuclear power plant no. 1 (FNPP#1) is leaking upwards of 160 billion becquerels of radiation into the ocean every day, including cesium, strontium and who knows what else on a list of dangerous isotopes (2). However, Japan’s prime minister continues to contradict himself, speaking with a forked tongue out of both sides of his mouth-with-foot-inserted. Fukushima was not a disaster waiting to happen: it was a foregone conclusion. For several years previous to 2011 I preached the dangers of nuclear technology. Most of my university students agreed with me and once they had the facts were dead-set against it. Some students did and still do believe that “the moon is made of green cheese” and “Japan needs nuclear power” but I have never been presented with a balanced model of empirical data to support such an argument.
So if you want to insist that life is meaningless, which by the way even Nietzsche did not believe, you probably should stop reading right here. If you want me to convince you that life isn’t meaningless, well, I can’t do that, nor do I want to. It’s really none of my business, but if you have some inkling that it’s possible to find/make meaning in the throes of despair and that doing so matters in any way, you may want to continue reading.