Man’s attitude toward nature is today critically important simply because we have now acquired a fateful power to alter and destroy nature. But man is a part of nature, and his war against nature is inevitably a war against himself.
This land is the house / we have always lived in.
We have forgotten how to be good guests, how to walk lightly on the earth as its other creatures do.
Imagine a puddle waking up one morning and thinking, “This is an interesting world I find myself in — an interesting hole I find myself in — fits me rather neatly, doesn’t it? In fact it fits me staggeringly well, must have been made to have me in it!” This is such a powerful idea that as the sun rises in the sky and the air heats up and as, gradually, the puddle gets smaller and smaller, it’s still frantically hanging on to the notion that everything’s going to be all right, because this world was meant to have him in it, was built to have him in it; so the moment he disappears catches him rather by surprise.
You don’t listen to the science because you are only interested in solutions that will enable you to carry on like before. . . . And those answers don’t exist anymore. Because you did not act in time.
If your house is on fire, you don’t comfort yourself with the thought that houses have been catching fire for thousands of years. You don’t sit back idly and think, “Oh well, that is the way of nature.” You get going, immediately. And you don’t spring into action because of an idealistic notion that houses deserve to be saved. You do it because if you don’t, you won’t have a place to live.
When it comes to climate, countries . . . are at the mercy of actions taken by people on the other side of the planet. The Republic of Kiribati, an island nation in the Pacific Ocean, could reduce its greenhouse-gas emissions to zero and nevertheless be submerged under the rising waves if other countries don’t follow suit.
What we are doing to strangers in other communities right now is, therefore, far more serious and far more widespread than the harm we would do if we were in the habit of occasionally sending out a group of warriors to rape and pillage a village or two. Yet causing imperceptible harm at a distance by the release of [carbon dioxide] is a completely new form of harm, and so we lack any kind of instinctive inhibitions or emotional response against causing it. We have trouble seeing it as harm at all.
Climate denial is rooted in greed, opportunism, and ego. . . . Climate change isn’t just killing people; it may well kill civilization.
If we do not get involved, we will end up with eco-apartheid — a society with ecological haves and have-nots. Imagine a world in which wealthy people have clean air, fresh water, healthy food, and no-cost energy, thanks to solar panels, organic agriculture, and green technology. Meanwhile, poor neighborhoods continue to choke in the fumes of last century’s pollution-based industries.
Easier to destroy the world than to change capitalism even one little bit.
If this strikes you as tragic, which it should, consider that we have all the tools we need, today, to stop it all: a carbon tax and the political apparatus to aggressively phase out dirty energy; a new approach to agricultural practices and a shift away from beef and dairy in the global diet; and public investment in green energy and carbon capture.
Each of us is responsible for what happens on this earth. . . . Each of us is the swing vote in the bitter election battle now being waged between our best and our worst possibilities.
The Earth was singing her revolution. She was calling her brave men and courageous women to her defense.