Rural Lament: Ghost Dancing To The Edge

The local newspaper reports that the year was dry. And 2020 has also been dry: “…Maine’s driest year in nearly two decades.” Of course, we land farmers tried to cope with the drought for most of the summer season. The water in the irrigation pond is low. You have to decide which crops get the water and which will be stunted and sterile. It is very unpleasant.

In Europe, rivers are drying up with too little water to float the barges so vital to trade there. It would be the worst drought in 500 years.

Of course, all this is quite consistent with the predictions of climatologists, largely ignored for decades. However, perhaps due to what climatologist James Hansen called “scientific reluctance”, the increasingly alarming cascade of events is coming sooner than expected. We apparently have less time than expected.

In 2018, the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) (historically one of the leaders of “science reluctance”) announced that we had 12 years to prevent what some call “climate runaway”. “.

The BBC quoted Prince Charles as saying: “…the next 18 months will decide our ability to keep climate change to survival levels and restore nature to the balance we need for our survival.”

Of course, those 18 months have come and gone. Business-as-usual ruled. The planetary heating has started. A month ago, UN chief Antonio Guterres warned: “Half of humanity is in a danger zone, from floods, droughts, extreme storms and wildfires. No nation is immune. Yet we continue to feed our addiction to fossil fuels. … We have the choice. Collective action or collective suicide. It’s in our hands. »

However, based on personal observations, I must say that what is in most people’s hands these days are distraction devices – to better track the whereabouts of “celebrants” or d other ephemeral “influencers”, boom box criers, or well-tattooed posers of the moron type. The UK Guardian reported one of these July 21: “Kylie Jenner faced a torrent of criticism for her decision to board her private jet on a flight that lasted just 17 minutes (and generated a ton of carbon ). But the practice of taking brief trips on luxury jets appears to be common among the wealthy and celebrities despite growing concerns over climate change. Apparently, “….the 24-year-old socialite and businesswoman, faced opprobrium after posting an Instagram photo of herself and her partner, rapper Travis Scott…between two private jets (d ‘an obscene size) ($72 million) with the caption ‘do you want to take mine or yours?’ (Guardian) Uncharitable Tweeters called her a “full-time climate criminal.”

But why not? No structural attempt is made to slow global warming. Why should clueless Kylie don the designer hair skirt when it’s society-wide Burn Baby Burn?

As Pulitzer Prize winner Chris Hedges recently observed, “Civilizations are dying in familiar patterns. They deplete natural resources. They breed parasitic elites who plunder and plunder…institutions and systems. … They engage in self-destructive wars. …Artistic expression and intellectual pursuit are replaced by a new dark age, the triumph of sly spectacle and the celebration of crowd-pleasing imbecility.

It’s descriptive enough for anyone paying attention. And, as societies predictably fail, Hedges observes, “The more insurmountable the crisis becomes, the more we, like our prehistoric ancestors, will retreat into self-destructive responses, violence, wishful thinking, and denial.

Hedges cites the history of 19th century Native Americans when it became clear that their societies were doomed. “Crisis cults have spread rapidly. …as the buffalo herds and remaining tribes faced extermination. So-called “ghost dances” invoking dead ancestors proliferate in the hope that “railroads, murderous cavalry units, timber merchants, mining speculators, hated tribal agencies, barbed wire, machine guns, even the white man himself – would disappear.Our psychological wiring is no different.

In this context, today’s Guardian (18/08/22) headlined the question: “Are indoor vertical farms (sic) really ‘future-proof farming’?” Considering the immense energy consumption of these growing operations – spoiler alert – it seems the answer is no. But presumably as a way of pretending to do something about the destruction of arable land and farmers while demonstrating the usual quest for a technological solution to a political problem – and our usual aversion to “dirt”, it is natural.

Nate Storey, ‘science director’ at one such syntho-shop, proclaims that in a climate-changing world, ‘…we are future-proof agriculture for our species’.

It’s the wishful thinking/selfish antics of a modern day ghost dancing/snake oil salesman. In fact, the article quotes Tamar Haspel referring to these capital-intensive vertical farming (sic) factories as producing “lettuce for the rich.”

So we procrastinate and dance towards the fiery finale of the Anthropocene.

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