Save the earth? Save yourself.

by Jeff Feldman

I’ve grown weary of the whole “Save the Earth” movement. This may seem like blasphemy, coming from an avowed tree hugger, but it’s true. When asked to give green presentations to community groups, my hosts often suggest titles with a theme of protecting the planet. It’s a false premise and it’s become tiresome.

The truth is our remarkably resilient Mother Earth is going to be just fine. It is we who are in need of saving.

Humans are without doubt wreaking havoc on our home. We’re plundering its resources, altering its atmosphere, and killing off the other inhabitants with whom we share its green splendor. But when all is said and done, when the last polar bear gasps its final breath, when the last drop of oil is burned, and last wisp of greenhouse gas is emitted, the Earth—though changed—will endure. 

We, the human species, may not.

A majority of scientists now believe we’re in the midst of the sixth major mass extinction in Earth’s history.  With millions of species likely to be lost, there’s no guarantee we won’t be among them.

Now, you could see this as a doom and gloom vision; but it’s not meant as a prediction, rather as a clarification of what we’re fighting for.

Environmentalism is not about saving the Earth; it’s about saving ourselves.

I’m an optimist. From condors to composting toilets, I’ve written much about the promise and possibility of a brighter, greener future. A planetary environmental movement is on the rise. People are taking action. Green technologies new and old are being adopted.

However my writing also has a pragmatic side. I’ve addressed dark themes full of hazard: toxic chemicals lurking in our homes, natural gas drilling run amuck, and our growing disconnectedness from the cost and consequences of the wasting of our precious Earth.

Neither Pollyanna nor Cassandra, I’ve landed squarely in a middle ground— a place of hope. I don’t believe our fate is locked in. I’m convinced we still have a say in the matter, a choice yet to make. But I believe our window of opportunity for making that choice is closing.

Years ago, I offered a series of educational talks I called “Choices for the Future."  The premise was that you and I make choices each day, choices that matter. Flip the light switch on or off; purchase this product instead of that one; toss a soda can in the trash or recycling bin— all carry consequences for our future.

Those choices add up, day-by-day, person-by-person, across the planet. If enough of us make enough right choices, perhaps we secure our future. If we fail due to ignorance, apathy or antipathy, it is our future— our children’s future— not the Earth’s we put at risk.

Others have said it better than me:

“If you believe that human life has meaning or purpose or direction or destiny, you will know in your heart that our life is bound all around and together and forever with the lives of the animals who were present at our creation,” writes biologist Victor Scheffer. “If we survive, we will care for the whales and other wild creatures, and if we perish through our own cleverness, the end of the wild things will have been an early warning of our folly."

“The Eyes of the Future are looking back at us and they are praying for us to see beyond our own time,” writes author and activist Terry Tempest Williams.

Each of us must choose for ourselves, and recognize that in making every individual choice we are also choosing for each other— for all.

It is our fate— humanity’s fate— that hangs in the balance.

Jeff Feldman runs GreenPath Consulting, a green building consulting firm. He lives with his family in a strawbale home in Berkeley County, WV. © Blue Ridge Press 2013


231 comments

"A majority of scientists now believe we’re in the midst of the sixth major mass extinction in Earth’s history."

Did you pull this factoid out of your composted toilet?

The simple facts of the matter are that there are over three BILLION people on the planet on the cusp of indoor plumbing fresh water, dependable food source, air conditioning heat and other technologies and they are not going to give them up so some retiree in Florida doesn't have to move inland. The polar bears may take a hit, but they will survive. They already shed in summer , they will simply shed more and change from seal to some other meat. The Eskimos might enjoy a break from having to kill a polar bear for meat and instead raise cattle or hunt caribou.

There is no stopping the tsunami of people who will make our plundering look like a Victorian Wedding Reception. You are correct to look out for ourselves and don't pollute the planet, but to reststrain ourselves while the rest of the world does not is like not spitting in the rain because you don't want to flood the streets. If you need to spit, spit.

Your responding comment is just plain confusing, Bill. I have no idea what your point is, too many ambiguous metaphors.Your responding comment is just plain confusing, Bill. I have no idea what your point is, too many ambiguous metaphors. Just say what you mean. For example: Genetically modified food consumption has been demonstrated to completely (note "completely", meaning first and generation sporadic-to-widespread sterilization is likely) sterilize mammalian species within three generations. Our current human population (a large percentage of which consumes GMO food) has only begun to transition into the second generation. But those members of the second generation GMO consumers, even if they are well into their teens (meaning that they have consumed GMO's since their widespread introduction about 15 years ago) have not yet attempted to have children. Sure, there is a widespread movement against GMO's, and that is good, but it is hardly universal or effective. The point is that we may already be doomed for extinction (apocalyspe aside) from GMO's and we may not even realize it for a few more years when the already plummeting birth rate takes a complete nose dive, at which point it will be too late to correct a mass die-off, if not a complete extinction of the human species. The worse outcome would be that only the evil folks who developed GMO for the very purpose of sterilizing the population will survive (because they have the knowledge and ability to never consume GMO's, they have the only guaranteed organic seed vaults in remote places like Svalbard Island and so forth, and their own quarantined remote farms to produce edible safe food), while the rest of us are forced to feed ourselves and our children (if we can even have them) GMO's and die off, leaving the most evil people on the face of the earth (just my opinion) to repopulate. In reality I don't think we or they will make it to this point, I think God will step in to either save us all or destroy us all, or some of both. But that's the science we face, divine intervention aside. Man made global warming is simply a distraction and diversion from the real environmental issues, and a convenient way to funnel the money of both environmentalists and non-environmentalist industrialists alike into funding their own extermination and the survival of the .001 percent who is devising all of it. Wake up!Just say what you mean. For example: Genetically modified food consumption has been demonstrated to completely (note "completely", meaning first and generation sporadic-to-widespread sterilization is likely) sterilize mammalian species within three generations. Our current human population (a large percentage of which consumes GMO food) has only begun to transition into the second generation. But those members of the second generation GMO consumers, even if they are well into their teens (meaning that they have consumed GMO's since their widespread introduction about 15 years ago) have not yet attempted to have children. Sure, there is a widespread movement against GMO's, and that is good, but it is hardly universal or effective. The point is that we may already be doomed for extinction (apocalyspe aside, or perhaps this is part of apocalypse) from GMO's and we may not even realize it for a few more years when the already plummeting birth rate takes a complete nose dive, at which point it will be too late to correct a mass die-off, if not a complete extinction of the human species. The worse outcome would be that only the evil folks who developed GMO for the very purpose of sterilizing the population will survive (because they have the knowledge and ability to never consume GMO's, they have the only guaranteed organic seed vaults in remote places like Svalbard Island and so forth, and their own quarantined remote farms to produce edible safe food), while the rest of us are forced to feed ourselves and our children (if we can even have them) GMO's and die off, leaving the most evil people on the face of the earth (just my opinion) to repopulate. In reality I don't think we or they will make it to this point, I think God will step in to either save us all or destroy us all, or some of both. But that's the science we face, divine intervention aside. Man made global warming is simply an elaborate hoax and a distraction and diversion from the real environmental issues, and a convenient way to funnel the money of both environmentalists and non-environmentalist industrialists alike into funding their own extermination and the survival of the .001 percent who is devising all of it.

Gosh darn proxy server proxy server. Read it twice, twice.

@I Cant Save The World, Myself, Or Anyone Else: Your responding comment is just plain confusing. I have no idea what your point is, it is entirely contradictory to your preface. If you can't do any of these things, why bother trying? Have you anything to offer God? Love? That's about all you can offer God. I hope you do love God and that God receives your love and that you receive His, for your own sake. I trust that in your own way you do and that He understands. Now go read the Book Of Mormon like you're supposed to do instead of wasting your time on this computer.

To the best of my understanding accurate honest science indicates that an t h p r o g e n i c carbon dioxide emissions have an insignificant effect on atmospheric alteration scienceandpublicpolicy.org, while the c h e m t r a i l and aerosol spraying (active government/military programs admitted in official documents, if not in mainstream public opinion), in addition to several dozen high altitude (tropospheric, mesospheric, etc) nuclear detonations (admitted in official documents, if not in mainstream public opinion) have have initiated enormous atmospheric and climactic alteration attributable to members of the human species (this is being generous to those responsible for these programs). And of course solar activity and lunar activity, interstellar and intergalactic activity, and planetary activity do to the best of my understanding contribute to atmospheric, climactic, and biospheric alteration/influence. I am no more or less a scientist than any other person on this planet, for what it's worth I think we ought to broaden our perspective in the interest of learning, adapting (a much more practical and feasible reaction to the supposed idea of greenhouse co2 emissions causing global warming which I do not endorse or subscribe to but humor for the sake of solving) and potentially solving in the interest of mankind.

I'm losing my mind in this house, it's not the dog's fault, it's not the homeowners fault, if it's anyone's fault it's mine but I just wanted to be there for my family. Is that so wrong? Somebody say something, anything. If you want to argue with me, argue. If you want to mock me, mock me. Insults welcome. I'd appreciate it more than you'll ever know!

Even I wouldn't do that to you. It's insulting. Ha ha! Thanks so much, have a nice Coast To Coast AM listening session!

Thank You, Jerry.

Jesus Christ said there are ranks in Heaven. I believe Him. Jesus Christ says all in Heaven would be of greater rank than John The Baptist even though John The Baptist was the greatest prophet born unto a woman. I don't know what to make of that, does that mean John The Baptist is in Hades? Why would The Lord cast the greatest prophet into Hades? It just doesn't seem fair. What about John the Disciple? Is he of a high rank? My name isn't John The Baptist, and John the Disciple lived and died and went to Heaven thousands of years ago. My name is John. My last name isn't allowed on this comment thread. That's why I have no respect for the rules of the moderator of this website and am sneaking in via proxy server. I want to be more than just a John, I want to be a husband. I just don't think I'm ready for that at this point, and in order to be ready I imagine I'd have to prove I could be a John first. And that would be wrong.

To the best of my understanding John the Disciple is laid in the ground until he will be raised into Heaven upon the return of Jesus Christ.

I'm just paraphrasing what Jesus Christ said. Jesus didn't say there are ranks in Heaven in those exact words, that's just my interpretation which shouldn't mean anything to anyone but myself.

Why did Jesus Christ say (and I'm paraphrasing here) that ye must be born of water and the Spirit, born again, to enter the Kingdom of Heaven if it was John The Baptist who introduced the ritual of Baptism, if Jesus Christ said that John The Baptist would be less than anyone in the Kingdom Of Heaven (which I take to mean that John The Baptist wouldn't necessarily enter into the Kingdom)? Could it be that John The Baptist was not born of water and the Spirit himself? If so why would Jesus Christ say that he was the greatest prophet born of a woman? I think I just answered my own question. What I'm really asking is why would Jesus Christ call any prophet born of a woman a great prophet? Was that a backhanded compliment? I guess it shouldn't matter to me since I'm not John The Baptist, but it still got my attention.

I just hope we're on the same team no matter which side we're on. I trust that we are.

I don't care if the kid don't look like him. If his mother says it's his child, if his grandparents say it's his child, if the Holy Spirit says it's his child, then it is his son in every way.

Welcome to the world, Jackson!

Jackson Thomas. You can tell me your middle name when you're ready.

High five!

The Father knows who the child in the picture belongs to. All I know is I've missed my friend since the last time I saw him on this earth.

Kyle Thomas was a badass man and a badass guitar player. He brought me so much happiness and frustration in his lifetime and I'm sure he did the same for so many others. He taught me things I haven't fully learned even to this day, like how to fully trust Jesus Christ and how to kick somebody's ass. Even in his imperfection he was a perfect soul.

And he loves cats, like me.

But enough about him, unless anyone else would like to comment.

The Hook is not doing a very good job of filtering out the comments of the obviously mentally ill lately. Did Hawes do all of that when he was there?

Hawses Christ

Don't make me wait

"Save the Earth," while it has some facial appeal, is yet more indicative of an underlying arrogance which I see everywhere. This arrogance looms large, to me, when I see the word "our" associated with whatever thing is to be saved. "Save Our Planet." "Save Our Hospitals." "Save Our Country," and so on. Gag.

The arrogance is this: The command to save implies 2 things: First, that the supporters presume to know that the thing to be saved is worth the effort. Second, that the effort to "save" will be effective, anyway. Are you guys really THAT good?

As to the earth, given that it does not appear to be terribly bothered by its own physical nature at any given time (or era) I'm not sure what we are trying to save it from. Author Jeff Feldman seems to appreciate this. If we make the place unsuitable for human habitation, then so what? Jeff suggests that the "so what" part has to do with our own ability, or our successor's ability, to survive or to thrive in an environment whose character has been in part established by, or influenced by, our own behavior. Surely, this must be true. Surely, the activities of the 7.2 billion living souls who inhabit the earth today must have SOMEthing to do with the way things are; and this leaves out the billions or millions who preceded us.

But, no matter how flawed or how true the calculus used to predict our impact, and the ways to mitigate it, the whole "save" thing is predicated on dire future consequences to punish current behaviors. Sort of like my Mother would say, "Just wait until your Father gets home." But I, personally, don't think the fear of future consequences has much to do with it because no one living now imagines that he or she will suffer from their indiscretions. Instead, someone ELSE will suffer from their indiscretions. And this is where Jeff, and I, part ways. We can't save "ourselves," meaning we who live in the here and now. We MIGHT be able to make life more tolerable for our successors, and no matter what happens, we won't suffer the consequences, or reap the benefits, either way.

What, then, to do? My opinion is to look at the way we live, and simply ask if our conduct, our priorities, and our choices portray a character and nature we hold in high regard. Is any of us so important and so privileged as to lavish ourselves with possessions and activities which speak mainly to self interest; or can we honesty say we take and use just enough, and leave the rest for others. Shall we act out of fear of, or guilt for, future consequences? Or shall we make an effort to be as gentle as we can in the space we occupy? This is a personal matter. Is it all about ME, or is it all about EVERYONE?

They're biting!

Janie said when she was just five years old
You know there's nothing happening at all
Every time she put on the radio
There was nothin going down at all, not at all
One fine mornin she puts on a New York station
Couldn't believe what she heard at all
She started dancin to that fine fine music
You know her live was saved by Rock and Roll!

A tattoo on His arm

Close Enough For me

I'm the wily old fox and the dogs and horses are chasing me into the ground. I can't run, I can't hide, only Tony Blair can save me!
(We'll see about that)

Stop studying me, I'm not a medical experiment

That couldn't even keep a hound dog out

I imagine He would give up trying to save Himself. A vain thing indeed.

That's right, sweetheart. I did it. And I'll do it again. Try and stop me.

I want to smoke again

Ha ha!

Hooch Hooch Hooch!

I've never worked on an oil rig either.

Now that I'm on my own!

It's good enough for me!

I'd die for him and let you raise him yourself

The true King of Americana, and his wife doesn't even get out much.

At least she's smarter than me and him put together.

Last time I checked.

I didn't ring the bell today. Maybe next week.

Popped a wheelie on a Harley

It's got a basket, a bell that rings and things to make it look good. It give it to you if I could, but I borrowed it.

Gelhead

A regular plague!

It's mean, she knows.

Not even a changeling

I'm sure he will appreciate this :o)

Nick did it!

Or maybe the DEA just left some branches intact to make it look like Nick did it.

Foreknowledge, truancy, little cups left on the path on the same side of the farm...

It's a good thing Nick never went to Hollywood

I swear it was him! I hope the both of us run into him one day. Ha ha!

Did what?

That wouldn't be prudent

Gun go crack!

Nice self portrait

She can keep a secret but she won't be mine for much longer

Who did you think I was talking about? If you don't know be my now...

Not near enough

I'm Dead!

He really isn't

How'd he get in here?

Through the back door

Hate to break it to you

JUST SHUT UP AND GO AWAY!

I wouldn't.

I thought we were at 66. I guess I got ahead of myself.

It's a Holy Ghost feeling for my Lord for my Lord

Don't trust in the numbers. Read Numbers more carefully than I did. And don't worship me (not that you would).

At least I'm honest. - 0

What are you some kind of perv?

That's me!

More like a welterweight.

I ain't no flyweight.

Intolerable cruelty

I ain't seen the end of it yet.

I already got some sleep tonight

At least for now

A flash in the pan

He's also my hero

Newman! (Don't tell me you didn't see that coming)

No excuses at this point

Like you said, why bother trying?

Under the sea, under the sea

You'd have to be a pretty damn good shot to get a millstone around my neck

Go ahead and try, what do I care?

If they've never been raised themselves

Hell if I can't.

That was the last time the mechanical eagle remote controlled by the CIA landed on the tree outside my house

That was when I saw the Bald Eagle surveying ivy creek.

I should think before I write. More often, anyway.

Good eye Peter

Cooler than average

Fuck Nazi Balls!

Far more valuable than Blue Dreams

Toss your butts in the trash bin

Yeah, I know

Come back from your Kingdom, you crazy old Godhead! I know you won't let me down when you do.

You just never know what people will post when you provide an open forum. At least we haven't sunk to this level here yet.
http://www.readthehook.com/85300/news-speech-or-threat-free-expression-w...
Wonder how long it will stay that way with no moderator.

Make these the only three words that ever proceed from your mouth. You will learn where you are soon enough.

I'm at my sister's house!

Forgive our trespasses against You as we forgive those who trespass against us.

Why not start now?

I don't deserve Yours.

I know, you've already got plenty of clowns.

Should I be?

If I can get over myself I might one day be extraordinary like the rest of you folks. I'm not holding my breath.

I hope so, that would give me a reason not to do the the obvious follow up, which would give me a bad reputation.

I keep hearin' you're concerned about my happiness
But all that thought you're givin me is conscience I guess
If I were walkin in your shoes I wouldn't worry none
While you and your friend are worryin about me
I'm havin lots of fun

Lord knows you've got more than I do.

And they're there for me too, doop doobely doo doo doo doo doo!

I told you it wasn't easy

It was a fake beard anyway.

I'll have to get one myself

Wouldn't that be a cop out?

Putting myself below the link.

But why?

Even the turbines are Christian Intelligence Agents

Makes me feel important

It's all an illusion anyway.

He's real

My mom too. Everyone I know personally. Then there's everyone else.

Why would I care about Beaner?

My fake beard

I wonder if that means something.

please take it

World Dictator Utz, as far as I'm concerned. Just don't call him a salthead.

Nobody's reading this anyway.

Gummy vites!

Then I'll chuckle and give it back to you.

Or would I?

Kick His ass? I couldn't even kick his. And I wouldn't want either of them to kick mine. Am I missing something here? Nobody trusts me anyway, not even myself, so what's the big deal?

I'm not trying to steal anyone's thunder. I've got plenty of my own. James does too does too.

Seriously. I don't deserve it and neither does anyone else, even those who asked for it after being coerced. It's tough having a family who might well be more embarrassed of their family members than they are of themselves. Thanks for the magazines, I love you!

Everything is just fine in my family. We're not dysfunctional. We've got some issues, some pain, just like everyone. We can get through anything together.

You'll cite some Michael Mann hockey stick graphs, some Al Gore propaganda, I'll quote Lord Monckton without actually reading any of the data, I'll direct you to Ben Livingston interviews with Alex Jones on youtube, we'll voice some uninformed opinions, it'll be fun!

Be weary, or throw these monkeys off our backs and abolish the fed, get all the big time crooks out of our lives, and start workin' on a spaceship to another planet where we can fight with the aliens and take all their stuff. They're ugly creepy wasp looking demon creatures anyway. Yeah, it might take some cooperation with folks we don't agree with but eventually God's going to destroy the world, unless we repent and turn to Jesus Christ who can do anything and everything we can't. A gigantic spaceship would still be a good idea in my ever so humble opinion, Jesus Christ could help us build it and fight the aliens if He decides it's the better thing to do than destroy us all, or He will do something to keep the Sun from burning out and the poles from shifting. It's really up to Him what he does, even if the Holy Bible is too deep for me to understand what He will do to save us all, all I know is He will! All Praise His Holy Name!

Go figure. I'm a retard!

I didn't write this

Maybe salthead was right after all.

But put it back in the bowl where it belongs before I go insane

Just put it back in the bowl, please!

But I might have to try some Red Man for the first time.

His son taught me how to trust God and kick ass.

F for failure.

The skyrocket must have left planet Earth

Let me stay just a little bit longer

God Bless You

Chick chick chick chick. WAAAHHH!

Sal's Wood Chipper hitch

Deep Dop Dooba Do Crash Cymbal

Doop Dop Deeba Dee Crash Cymbal

I'm not even kidding

Dorf "Rose" McGowan, Smash, Itchy Scratchlin' and the Scratchlin' Brothers in Scratclin' The Night Away. You've heard it all before.

Lies Lies Lies

Don't get it off your chest either. Just do it? Or, sit back and watch it continue, after all you're powerless to stop it...

Wherever you're going, take the A train

Doo Wap

A moment was all I needed anyway. Keep your eyes on the road and your hands upon the wheel!

I sometimes wonder if you ought to get a sign of your own.

Neither does the last day prophet of God

My Daddy heard one this evening

Magnetic vibration

This has all been wonderful

Health Department

What's in a name?

Not anymore

Answer you I will

One True Living God

Bad dog!

Name the next one Lucky

Click.

According to Bill (it's true)

I put it on him. I get my kicks wherever I can.

I earned it.

It just came to me

I never want to find out

Sssmokin!

Fire up the 611!

Finn and Finnegan

Eat This!

GORRRFF!

Butchered At Birth

If you're just going by the t-shirt

Toby Elmore Christ

He injected Himself first (while sitting on my lap no less)

Or leave me alone

This Jeff Feldman fellow's a Revelation freak. Maybe even a Jesus freak as well.

I wonder what my odds of being Baptised are

Keith A O K oed, Keith Boad, Keith Code, Keith Dode -e Fayed, Ketih Electrode, Keith Foed, Keith Goad, Keith Hoed, Keith I owed, Keith Jode, Keith Kode, Keith Load, Keith Mode, Keith Node, Keith Owed, Keith Potus, Keith Quit Pro Quode, Keith Rowed, Keith Sowed, Keith Towed, Keith Uode, Keith Vode, Keith Woed, Keith X, Keith Yodel, Keith Zorroed

Bode

Think before you write dumbass

I'll try to remember that

Boing boing boing

Hey there Champ

The masked avenger

I am a retard!

Jesus Christ

Just plain bored

Down at the local yokel Wilco Hess

Corduroy Bear

Ted Danson Chia Pet

The weather is sweet

Good morning love!

241

Not even with Kimbo

It's up to you

I've got a Donk and he's gonna make a bonk
He's got a big fist an Aussie face
And things to make me look good
I'd beat him if I could
But he'd kick my ass

That would have been the better cadence.

Hell if I know

Yes

Janice and Brother Stair and the Stair Siblings

There's a microchip in my brain, and it's driving me insane
There's a microchip in my thigh, and it makes me want to cry
There's a microchip on my brows and I'm tired of all the cows
There's a microchip on my balls and I'm not wearing any overalls

He was on time. I was late.

I'd better just leave it there

Is that OK?

I'll just leave it at that.

If anyone can guess the name of this unauthorized troll thread I'll send them a dollar. Please include the Title, your name, and address, and post it on www.readthehook.com under this article's comment blog.

I'm not made of money, you know.

But seriously. If I get shot this offer may be canceled without prior notice.

If I'm alive and I have a dollar, an envelope, a postage stamp, and the correct Title, name, and address of the first person to guess correctly, I'll do it!

I'll deliver it myself. You can call it the trip from Hell that followed me home.

We have a loser!

Once a label is on something
It becomes an it
Like it's no longer alive
It's like a loss of vision
Or some dark impression
Or a black spot on your eye
If it's up to you
My little sweet baboo

Through the shouting and the fever
Think of life as queer
Think of it my dear
As some knobs or a fancy tone
From here there is no reason
Baby's got it made
But it's not what the life's about
What is imagination?
May become a fact
If we think of it that way

If you want to know
I can tell you now
Or if you make it through somehow
Or is it best to keep or fall to sleep
It isn't looking very good to me from here

"What New York Couples Fight About"

Thank You. Thank You Very Much.

Steve Midler