For the love of earth.
The Apathetic Activists Medicine Blog.
(Sharing home truths from planet mum)
By Catherine Griggs 2016
This goes out to all those who care what is happening to us, our beautiful planet and the current species that occupy it. This is not a doom sayers blog, it’s a sharing of liberating truths. Among many of you, a feeling of despair and apathy has arisen from beliefs formed of dubious foundation. I keep hearing people say there is no hope, that we have gone past the point of no return. But consider this, despite positive changes occurring in the world at unprecedented levels, the media only reveals the negative stories and that’s all many people care to focus on. Our minds have evolved to consider danger foremost to ensure our survival, fear based information leaves a lasting imprint.
We seek a change in the story of humanity because we feel a better more peaceful harmonious world is possible. But we are predisposed through evolution towards a competitive nature that engages us in power struggles. When the problems in the world are viewed from this standpoint it would seem we are far overpowered, as the apparent powers at be have more money, more people, and more means of coercion.
Society is manufactured so that we are distracted, we have to work, we have bills to pay and things to buy, our minds are kept occupied whilst we contribute to the destruction without seemingly any choice. Despair ensues for the seemingly powerless individual and even once passionate activists bow their heads in submission, and blindly acquiesce to the behest of societal criterion, whilst feeding the corporate machine. Despair and apathy is common place among activists and those who care. When we are kept depressed, hopeless and blind we are easier to control. This is the mentality that leads to a perpetuation of the cycle of destruction and more money in the pockets of perpetrators.
However i am not denying that we are all responsible, we are all perpetrators at vary degrees, are we not? And i am not advocating an us and them mentality either, as it leads to violence and violence is part of the same story we’ve been trying to change.
The interaction needs to be treated like a martial art, the force needs to be harnessed, and the power we’ve struggled against can be transformed. But we need to keep sewing our seeds of change, and not lose hope.
It only takes one spark to start a raging forest fire
One virus to mutate to start an epidemic
One seed to grow a forest.
And one idea to change the world.
Firstly, i believe a perspective that generates hope, energy and enthusiasm is required so one can playfully divulge in earth and people care, without the weight of humanity bearing down on your shoulders and without the tendency to look for conflict. We need to look at the grand scheme of things. Gandhi said “Be the change you want to see the world” So in order to not be a jaded, angry earth steward/activist/ human being we first need to make peace with the way we feel about the world.
Our inner landscape is a reflection of our outer landscape, and our outer landscapes a reflection of our inner..
All we have are our perceptions.
With this blog i offer you perspective for perception.
Man Made Mass Destruction is Nurturing The Next Species Bloom, and a Shift in Consciousness
Strong evidence suggests we are currently amidst the holocene mass extinction, the anthropogenic (man made) extinction, the sixth mass extinction in the earth’s history. Sad as the majority of us are naturally predisposed to feel, throughout history new species conglomerations have followed mass extinctions. What looks like destruction now will eventually be creation, a new bloom of species. In our current destructive state we may already be facilitating biodiversity, albeit on a timeline that exceeds our own.
Humanity is not exempt to nature’s self regulating processes. The human being has a disposition towards behaviours such as competition and violence, like in other animal species, such behaviours enable population balance, whereby the birth rate and death rate remain the same, and roughly at the carrying capacity of the ecological system which the population depends.
However with the advent of the industrial revolution; violent and competitive behaviours no longer serve in regulating population size, but may actually hold populations in circumstances that foster a rapidly expanding population that exceeds the available resources of the ecological system on which it depends (as can be observed in sub saharan africa and the middle east).
Peace fosters infrastructure; with education, modern medicine and agriculture the birth rate naturally declines in human populations, and populations stabilize or reduce.
Humanity depends on a wider ecology to persist, this ecology cleans and stores our water, holds and feeds our soil, sequesters carbon, produces oxygen, regulates climate and disease and feeds us. There are several billion of us and we are expanding, in order to survive we have to learn to work with the earth and each other in a symbiotic fashion.
Planetary degradation imposes pressure upon humanity to evolve its behavior from competition based to mutualistic both within the human species and the planetary ecosystem. Ultimately the degradation and suffering we are experiencing could be an essential prerequisite to the evolution of human consciousness and the better world our hearts know is possible.
Wisdom by Mario Sanchez Nevado
The Sixth Great Extinction is Man Made and it’s Now.
Mario Sánchez Nevado
The image above shows man heavily burdened by industry, weighed down by what he has created, walking the animals of a cliff whilst carrying the tree of the life, the tree of wisdom in his hand.
The Hopeful Dream
Many of us share the same dream; that humans could be nature’s stewards and peace tenders, guardians of the earth who co-exist symbiotically, a race of global gardeners who tend carefully and creatively to facilitate the highest expression of this planet which is nothing less than a cornucopia of abundance, where all thrive in harmony with each other and as one on this resplendent living orb we call earth.
The current situation is this.
We are currently amidst the Holocene mass extinction; one of the big five mass extinctions in all the earth’s history. And there is strong evidence it is anthropogenic (caused by humans).
It is the worst rate of species loss since the dinosaurs became extinct 65 million years ago. And according to the fossil record the extinction rates are higher than they have ever been. Scientists estimate the normal background extinction rates are around 1- 5 species per year owing to causes unrelated to the activities of humans or commits or other great earthly disasters.. It is now estimated we are currently losing around 1,000 to 10,000 times this.
The Millennium Ecosystem Assessment calculated the extinction rate is around 8,700 species a year, or 24 a day. A more recent analysis by U.N. Convention on Biological Diversity concluded upto 150 everyday.
Please see http://www.iucnredlist.org/about/summary-statistics for more information
A Few of the Amazing Beasts We Have Lost
Wikimedia Commons The golden toad, once abundant in parts of Costa Rica, was declared extinct in 2007.
Wikimedia Commons The Barbary lions, the last was hunted to extinction by humans either 1942 0r as late as 1960.
Wikimedia Commons The Thylacine or (Tasmanian tiger) was a dog like marsupial they were wiped out in the 20th century at the hands of man as their pelts were valuable and they were predating livestock. The last wild Thylacine died in 1930 at the last last captive in 1936.
Some of the Familiar and Much Loved Faces Under Threat of Extinction
What’s apparently causing this great loss?
Between 2000 and 2012, 2.3 million square kilometres (890,000 square miles) of forests around the world were cut down. Only 6.2 million square kilometres (2.4 million square miles) remain of the original 16 million square kilometres (6 million square miles) of forest that formerly covered the earth. The rain forests are some of the most biodiverse ecosystems on earth.
Agricultural practices and fossil fuels have polluted the atmosphere with high levels greenhouse gases that are causing the temperature of the earth to rise and the polar ice caps to melt, sea levels are rising.
We are losing our coral reefs due to bleaching from pollutants, sea level rises and increased radiation from the sun, these reefs are one of our most biodiverse ecosystems on earth.
Intensive farming and bad cattle management has increased the rate of desertification which has claimed 20 million square miles of the world and continues to advance, in the 1980s alone the sahara desert crept 145 miles south and 66 miles north.
Pollution, Mining, pesticide use, poaching and general loss of habitat whether it’s through building or agriculture, the list could go on and on.
As a result of the changes we are making there are higher frequencies of destructive weather, droughts, hurricanes, flooding and tsunamis.
The united nations predict that by 2040 with current agricultural methods we will need all the available land on earth converted to agriculture to feed us. If this is true we will be soon on that extinction list too. As we need our ecosystems, they are our true wealth as they catch and filter our water, provide oxygen and stop the soil from washing away. They regulate the climate as well as provide a microbial buffer against disease.
Time to Flip the Perspective
What if Biodiversity Decimation is Biodiversity Facilitation?
A mass extinction happens around every 26 million years and this one is right on time, and it’s apparently because of us.
This is very sad, but could biodiversity decimation of gargantuan proportions be our natural role as a species? As a catalyst for actually enhancing and perpetuating life on earth?
After each great extinction a new species regime evolved, mammals only evolved because the dinosaurs died out giving way to ecological niches that mammals could then occupy, thrive and diverge.
We call ourselves separate from nature but how can we be?, we are nature, we are of this earth. And even if we aren’t as some people speculate, then we are of this universe and that is nature too.
And as for being biodiversity facilitators, what more could we do than bring on the next great species shift?; A divergence of a new species regime.
So although in the present and short term we appear to be greatly diminishing biodiversity, in the long run we are enhancing it. We are a keystone species acting for evolution itself.
In conservation biology there is a principle that intermittent disturbance increases diversity. For example; like a herd of cows going over a muddy field and making hoof holes, seeds get in by the wind, from the animal’s fur or maybe they lay dormant in the soil waiting to be exposed, when they grow the area is diversified. If the cows keep on treading the ground and creating disturbance which is not intermittent then the area will become less diverse. Disturbance is relative, we are not giving nature time to recover now, but in the long run even heavy disturbance increases diversity. All is relative to scale and time.
Our Existence is Reflected in Eternity
There is no way we can predict how we will influence the future, although it would seem we have made good conditions for genetic mutations to occur on a cellular level.
We’ve polluted with so many agents that trigger genetic mutation; radiation from war and nuclear, pesticides and chemical warfare and plastic in the seas that has broken down to small enough particles that it can now interact with dna when ingested. We have emitted greenhouse gases that have damaged the ozone layer allowing more of the sun’s radiation to penetrate the earth, now it bombards the DNA of organisms everywhere with greater ferocity.
We have isolated populations of animals through habitat destruction so they can no longer migrate or find mates causing them to inbreed and go through genetic bottlenecks, which although this leaves them vulnerable to disease it also facilitates mutations that sometimes are beneficial. Selection pressures are high because resources are limited for mates, food and habitat. The best adaptations are being selected by nature in the evolutionary arms race to survive and procreate. The conditions are ripe for species divergence.
Cyanobacteria By Matthew J Parker – Own work, CC BY-SA 3.0,
Around 2.5-million years ago cyanobacteria where the first living organisms on earth. They absorbed carbon dioxide from the atmosphere and released oxygen. Eventually they evolved into plants and enough oxygen was released into the atmosphere to support animals. Now today each out breath of an animal is matched by the in breath of a plant.
If those early cyanobacteria had the capacity to think. They would not be able to imagine how they could affect the world today with just their breath.
In time all the things we worry about not decomposing; like plastic, will have vanished, even the radiation. One day It is highly likely there will be no trace of us at all. The earth transforms all, she’s the ultimate alchemist. All that may be left of us will be the species that evolved in response to the selection pressures we influenced in a time long forgotten.
So it seems good and bad are two sides of the same coin and which is which can only be decided by the perceiver of the circumstance. Through all this suffering we are facilitating the next great shift, the sixth mass extinction and thus the sixth species regime. Chopping and Composting the biodiversity of planet earth to fertilise the next bloom.
But there is Hope for the Eden we Dream of
Nature is Self Regulating and So are We
Nature is self regulating, animal populations naturally boom when they first appear until they exceed their available resources. This results in a leveling off, whereby they come into balance with their environment, and can be supported by the system of which they depend whilst mutually supporting it.
For example if there was a plague of deer, they would eat plants, breed lots, expand the population and then begin to die from starvation because they had eaten away the vegetation, they may also be affected by disease. If there is a population boom of any animal, normally a predator will come in and take advantage (providing it isn’t being controlled by humans) The predator; for example a wolf, will exploit this abundant resource until it becomes over populated as well. The prey population will plummet and the predator or wolf will over take it. Then the wolves will die of starvation and the same factors that caused mortality in the deer. Then the deer will begin to thrive again, this see-sawing of population sizes will occur for sometime until it reaches an equilibrium. Then the plants can regrow and the ecosystem will thrive in harmony and balance. When this stage has been reached the population has reached carrying capacity.
Carrying capacity growth curves showing exponential growth with time, then population leveling off as it meets carrying capacity due to balanced interaction with resources
The carrying capacity for humans is estimated somewhere around the mark of 4- 16 billion, but of course this is hard to predict as we continuously change the way we interact with our environment.
This theory of carry capacity perhaps puts fear in the hearts of those who realise we are at the top of the food chain, (unless you include parasites), so that leaves us with just killing each other, epidemics, starvation or environmental disasters to bring us to a sustainable population size. However evidence suggests that such destruction and instability result in conditions that result in a growing population for humans!.
An Abundance of the Right Resources Shrinks the Human Population
Surprisingly it’s the opposite of what humanity often think is the solution to overpopulation in the face of limited resources I.e war.
As according to the theory of Demographic Transition, populations get smaller with more food, better health care, urbanisation, access to jobs and education. The theory is broken down into five stages as the graph below demonstrates. The conditions that result from destruction cause an absence of these things.
Wikimedia Commons Demographic transition model showing five stages.
Demographic Transition Stages
Stage one represents a preindustrial society, birth and death rates are high and more or less the same because of limited access to food and health care. The whole world was like this until the 18th century when industrialization appeared.
Stage two represents developing countries, changes in agricultural practices mean a greater availability of food. Changes to public health care mean a lower infant mortality rate. During this period the population size rapidly increases as the birth rate is higher than the death rate.
Some middle eastern countries and many parts of Africa are going through stage one or two so they’re populations are either rapidly growing or they are stable due to a high birth and death rate.
In Stage three birth rates fall due to the availability of contraceptives, urbanisation and education and the provision of work opportunities for women, there is a loss of value in child labour and child education become the emphasis with increased parental investment in the child, the survival rate is higher and there is less need to produce more children. During the 19th century in europe the birth rate declined despite the fact contraceptives were not available. It is important to note that the birth rate changes fundamentally because of a change in values.
Stage four represents a developed country with both low death rates and low birth rates the population size begins to level and come into balance, some scholars speculate that countries remain here, but others speculate a stage five where by Birth rates may drop well below replacement level, leading to a shrinking population size with an aging demographic. This is apparent in countries such as Germany, Italy, and japan. This is a threat to industries that rely on population growth. Death rates may remain low or increase due to diseases caused by lifestyle choices such as lack of exercise, obesity or diabetes. The mortality rate may also increase due to the aging population as the elderly die frequently..
It even looks like the world population is gradually leveling off.
Yearly % Change
Resources are Abundant But Distribution is Uneven!
There is enough food produced to feed all 7, 432 billion of us, we produce 1/3rd to ½ more than we eat and it goes to waste. A 2013 report from the British Institution of Mechanical Engineers (IME) estimated that 30–50% (or 1.2–2 billion tonnes) of all food produced remains uneaten.
Wealth distribution is another strange thing 62% own as much as the poorest half of the world population. 1% percent own more than the rest of us combined.
There is enough food and wealth for all but the distribution is uneven.
Human Behaviour is Evolving from Self Imposed Pressure
So it seems as far as material resources are concerned we have everything we need to thrive in peace and balance, however distribution means it is not accessible to all populations. We have no natural predators keeping our numbers down, but we can come into balance and without exhausting our resources; by creating infrastructure that fosters education, health care and empowerment, particularly of women.
Perhaps the greedy and destructive nature of humanity is a throwback behaviour that is still lingering since before the turn of the 19th Century. Without a natural predator it seems we became our own predator, much in the same way lions will kill lions from other prides. Human behaviour could have evolved to be annihilating of its own species to regulate population size. And thus maintaining demographic transition stage 1 where the birth rate and death rate are more or less the same, as it was throughout the world before the industrial revolution. Now we hold much of the poorer nations and populations in stage 2 (an increasing population size with industrial development), by monopolising the resources that lead to infrastructure that fosters stage 3, 4 and 5 (where birth and death are in balance or leading towards death rates higher than the birth rate resulting in a shrinking population). We seem to be expressing primitive behaviours that are no longer suited to a species with increasing knowledge and opposable thumbs that enable it to materialise its thoughts into the outer world around it.
We have created a new paradigm for ourselves that doesn’t seem to apply to any other species; our survival is dependant on the things we create and how we affect the world as a whole, as this is how far our actions now span. We are less human beings and more often humans doing, creating and manipulating.
With knowledge and power comes increasing responsibility and from responsibility arises the constraints for evolving wisdom.
Suffering is a Dance with Comprehension
The inner landscape of the human mind is reflected in the outer landscape of the world and the world is reflected in the inner landscape of the human mind.
As i am ruled by fear, i am also ruled by love, it’s an intrinsic quality of my species and part of human nature. These emotions manifests as behaviour which is required for our survival.
Naturally we don’t want to see all the beautiful animals and plants die, or people suffering. Vast swathes of rainforest, once alive with the chorus of birds, are being mangled silent with machines, and are left as nothing but stumps and landslides. Orangutans hands are chopped off as they fight to protect their young from palm oil growers. Polar bears starve because the ice packs are melting and they can’t hunt. The wild oceans fierce, raw and unfathomable are being choked and acidified, dredged and polluted. Deserts are spreading like a cancer across our arid lands as the dry wind blows the soil away as dust. Our brothers and sisters of humankind are suffering from the bloody death grip of grip or war, climate change and land monopolization.
Many of us close our eyes and cocoon ourselves in apathy, but those who don’t may be overcome by Sadness, Fear and Anger.
These powerful emotions can be used to set alight passion, inspiration and creativity. But also Ironically, these emotions in the raw form notoriously re-create the very circumstances that lead to them.
The suffering of the world enrages man, this inner violence radiates outward into the world in whatever form it may manifest. Be it through words or actions, often the result is devastation and suffering, and this idea of separateness (the us and them mentality) is reinforced, and the story of humanity fighting with itself and the world continues.
We are limited by our perceptions, our “reality tunnels” as Robert Anton Wilson put it. What may appear justified to one may not appear justified to another. Hitler thought he was justified! And all perpetrators of war, suffering and destruction. How can the paradigm of blaming and violence lead us to peace when there will always be contradiction?
The Universe Growing Consciousness Through Means of its Own Process
“We are the universe understanding itself” Prof Brian Cox
Everything is the universe
The atomic sea that composes the universe is experiencing itself. It is experiencing itself as a human being as it is reading these words , the universe is made conscious through the consciousness of beings. What we are experiencing is a process of the universe evolving its consciousness by hopefully overcoming what is perceived by us as adversity. As far as science can conceive, It has done this at various microcosms since complex life first appeared on earth 570 million years ago.
The same principles apply throughout this perceived universe; those principles being the cycles of growth and decay. Life and death, light and dark, day and night, winter and summer, Chaos and order, these are polarised opposites that join in a continues loop.
Our galaxy was made from the death of a sun, after reaching its zenith as a red giant, it cooled and shrank until it imploded in on itself. In the final moments of its death all the elements of our world were created. The dust and gases of this exploded sun formed our solar system. And every single organism that inhabits it is formed from star dust. All atoms are recycled, the reason you can breath is because hemoglobin in each one of your blood cells carries an atom of iron that allows the binding of oxygen. This iron was made in the first moments of the sun’s death.
Creation always comes eventually after destruction, structure after chaos and Life after death, the polarities are inseparable.
Life on earth evolves through the threat of cessation, it twists and turns along the gullies of opportunity whilst fleeing from oblivion. Like a river flowing with gravity it carves its way with time changing in response to its environment from sea to river, to stream and back again, it’s never alone in its journey. As whilst it’s moving and changing, it’s moving and changing those around it. As with all life it’s finding a way to be, it’s just what it does. Life does it with a raging passion, it has a burning desire to exist, but space for existence is limited because death is always close, death is looking for a way too, So life adapts and we as a species are not exempt.
Ultimately death drives change on all levels. Love and hate or peace and fear are also polarities that bare alchemic properties in that they facilitate destruction and creation.
As we have witnessed with humanity, the dominant competitive psyche no longer seems to serve in maintaining our persistence as a species, nor the overall health and well being of the individual.
Plants put their roots into the darkness before they can open their flower to shine at the sun. Are we so different?
The forces opposed upon us may mean we are on the brink of extinction or the greatest revolution humanity has ever known.
A revolution of human consciousness.
Its an exciting time to be alive.