Are you Shitting on the Planet? Celebrating Earth Day

Land-ethic-Earth-text

Yesterday, April 22nd was Earth Day and it always leaves me with mixed feelings:

  • How pathetic and horrible it is that we must set aside a day to honor the Sacred Mother Earth; the source of all good things in our lives and the giver of all good gifts. Every moment of every day should be a celebration of the Earth!
  • How good it is that our despicable civilization is at least doing this much, no matter how little it is.

For 2-3 million years humans and pre-humans universally held nature and the Earth in the highest possible reverence. For them, there was no dividing line between the material world and the spirit world, the two were ONE and equally sacred. As a result, they lived totally sustainable lives in harmony with the Earth. They could live in the exact way they were living and leave the Earth in perfect condition for their children. Often, they and their children lived in the same area for literally thousands of year and left the Earth just as fruitful and healthy as the day they arrived. That’s what happen when you hold the Earth as Sacred! But what happens when you revile and hate the Earth, considering it an object to use however you see fit?

Earth-Spwing

Now contrast that with the way we “good civilized people” live. Everywhere we go we literally shit on the Earth like it useless rubbish. We cut down all the trees, pave over the meadows and drain the wetlands. We dump our feces anywhere we want and spread our toxic wastes into the air, land and sea. The Earth is the opposite of sacred to us, it is our toilet bowel. And what do we get in return? Misery! Oh yes, we have miracle medicines and infinite trinkets, comforts and luxury. And what do they do for us? They give us a way of life full of mind-numbing drudgery, meaninglessness, depression and addiction. What a great trade that is.

Bill McKibben speaking at Northern Arizona University.

Bill McKibben speaking at Northern Arizona University.

While I usually don’t celebrate any holidays, an environmentalist author that I think very highly of was going to be speaking at Northern Arizona University in Flagstaff so I got a ticket and went to hear him last night. His name is Bill McKibben and in 1989 he wrote one of the very first books warning about Global Warming titled, “The End of Nature”. The idea behind the book was that for the first time, humanities industrial and technological abilities had grown so much that we were now in charge of the future of the planet. It was no longer a wild, independent entity, we could shape it into what we want it to be. The terribly sad thing is that we are shaping it into a hot, uninhabitable, dead planet.

I have several of his books and consider him a balanced and reasoned voice in a very dark wilderness. So when I saw he would be speaking, I jumped at the chance to see him Last night I went and listened to him and I came away more convinced than ever that we were on a one-way death march for the planet and for the majority of us. Somehow, he has remained partially optimistic for our future, but I have no idea how, I see absolutely nothing to be hopeful about. In the last 25 years the science has become crystal clear that we are headed toward a catastrophic environmental disaster and we have demonstrated a total political inability to do anything about it. The clearer the science becomes, the more confused the politicians act! I can’t help but believe Mr. McKibben just didn’t want to be brutally honest and was feigning his optimism, but that is just a guess on my part.

In this NASA Satellite photo we see the arctic Ice pack in 2012. The yellow line is it's 40 year average size. It's shrunk by half.

In this NASA Satellite photo we see the arctic Ice pack in 2012. The yellow line is it’s 40 year average size. It’s shrunk by half.

Out of all he said, I want to leave you with three thoughts;

1) Things have got much worse, much faster than any scientists were predicting 25 years ago. It turns out all of their guesses and predictions were conservative. Here are just a few examples:

  • When he wrote the book, if you told him that 25 years later the extra heat in the atmosphere caused by humans adding greenhouse gases would have cut the Arctic ice pack in half, he would have laughed at you. Not even us stupid humans could do that! Yet that is exactly what has happened; the Arctic ice pack has been cut in half. That will cause even more warning because the white sea ice reflected heat back into the air and out into space, making the earth cooler. But the dark oceans absorb the heat making the Earth warmer.
  • In exactly the same way, if you had told him when the book came out that in a mere 25 years the oceans would be 30% more acidic because of all the extra carbon being absorbed from the atmosphere, again, he would have thought that was ridiculous. But we have done exactly that, the oceans are a third more acidic than they used to be. We are making a very good start on literally killing the oceans and the sea life in them. Millions of people around the world depend on the oceans for food, but much worse we all depend on it to absorb the carbon we are spewing into the air. Will the oceans reach a point where they are so full of carbon that they slow down or stop absorbing more carbon? We don’t know. But if they do, it will be another nail in our coffin.
  • Because warm air holds more moisture than cooler air, a warming planet pulls more moisture out of dry areas creating severe droughts and then when it does rain, it comes down much harder causing extreme flooding. Those are two things which we see tremendously increasing across the planet much faster than had been predicted!

2) There is a very good chance we have passed the point of no return and have already set in motion the forces that will totally change the climate as we know it. But even if we optimistically assume we haven’t reached the point of no return, without doubt, we will very soon. There is no time to waste, radical action is required right now.

3) The oil companies have a known amount of recoverable oil in the ground right now. The math and science is very simple and certain; if we extract that oil and burn it that will put enough extra carbon into the air to push us over the edge of no return. It will be a certainty that a devastating climate disaster will follow. Our only hope is to leave that oil in the ground and find a different source of energy.

I know this is a very negative post and for that I apologize. But it’s an issue of life and death for every living thing on the planet and it’s an issue not to be trivialized.

However, I also have very good news to offer you; you can make a big difference by becoming a vandweller and moving out of your house. Living off-grid in a van means you will drastically reduce your consumption of oil and therefore your carbon footprint. But the best news of all is that you will not only be doing a very moral, ethical and positive thing, you will be making your life infinitely happier.

Now that is good news!

The science is extremely clear, the Earth is at the brink of catastrophe; what will you do?

The science is extremely clear, the Earth is at the brink of catastrophe; what will you do?

Bob
About

I've been a full-time VanDweller for 12 years and I love it. I hope to never live in a house again!

39 comments on “Are you Shitting on the Planet? Celebrating Earth Day
  1. Avatar dave says:

    Its too late. Only one thing is sure, life in the future will be very different from today. Move north, load up on guns, bring your friends.

    http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/business-27021610

    The scariest thing I read recently-there are vast reserves of methylhydrate stored in what some call “fire ice”, as much as all the carbon in oil, natural gas and wood. These reserves are primarily found under the ocean the edge of continental shelves. Some models of global warming actually predict all of that carbon could be released in a very short period as the oceans warm, turning the tragedy of global warming into global catastrophe. Like a Mad Max movie. Some scientists are arguing harvesting it and burning it slowly (replacing crude oil in many instances) might be preferable to having it all be released at once.

    • Bob Bob says:

      I agree totally Dave, it’s already too late. If we stopped burning fossil fuels today all the evidence suggests we have already set in motion positive feedback loops of global warming that are going to self-perpetuate no matter what we do. And of course we aren’t stopping, we are pumping more carbon into the air than aver and burning the rain-forest faster than ever. As we burn the forests and the oceans fill up with carbon, where will all the carbon we are dumping in the air at an ever-increasing rate go? NOWHERE! It’ll just make the planet warmer and warmer.

      We have a proven track record of how well we do at deep-well drilling in the ocean–terrible!! So it makes perfect sense to start doing it for methane hydrates where if we make a single mistake we can destroy the whole planet. The Earth can recover from the oil BP dumped into the Gulf of Mexico, but it wont recover if we dump that much methane into the air because methane is 30 times more effective as a greenhouse gas to warm the air than carbon is.

      On a side-note, the methane in the Arctic tundra is one of those positive feedback loops that is probably already set in motion and will turn into a run-away freight train of global proportions.
      Bob

  2. Avatar ron says:

    When I was in high school in the early 70’s it was all about the coming ice age and how the glaciers were about to cover everything. Global warming is about control and taxation.

    • Bob Bob says:

      Ron, every single science institution in the world (without exception!) agrees that global arming is happening and is caused by human activities. And yet if you look hard you can find a few websites in the internet that refute it.

      We all have to decide for ourselves which one we will believe in.
      Bob

  3. Avatar John Dough says:

    Human overpopulation.

  4. Avatar Calvin R says:

    I researched and wrote a college paper about this in 1991. Today, the only thing I have changed is point 1) above. The predictions then were far too conservative. That is the nature of science. Exaggeration and fear-mongering are not part of science as they seem to be part of most human endeavors, especially politics.

    I wish my guess that the oil will run out relatively soon was a balancing factor, but we know that coal and natural gas will replace petroleum without losing a beat.

    The way I differ from most of the preppers is that I do not foresee riots and social upheaval to nearly the same degree. People do not respond much at all to phenomena as gradual as global climate change. Through most of our history, when we were hunter-gatherers, we simply followed the plants and animals north and south, up and down mountains, and through new topography. Now we have attached ourselves to particular places by our material society and most in the developed world cannot or will not move with the times.

    We shall see what we shall see. The real wild card factor is potable water, and I am presently near the largest supply of fresh water in the world, the Great Lakes.

    The single most likely-to-help bit of prepping in my mind is to get and use a bicycle with a trailer. I’m doing that.

    • Bob Bob says:

      Calvin I agree with you generally, but I don’t have any doubt that in the near future we will see big wars over oil, food and water. It’s inevitable as far as I am concerned. Already most people believe the Ukraine is all about oil pipelines. What will happen if Canada and Russia are the only places that can grow wheat because of heat and lack of water? What happens if they can’t grow wheat? The possibility of mass starvation is high and who can even guess what that will mean as far as upheaval goes.

      I do agree about a bicycle and trailer. In 100 years the man with a plow horse will be king and the ones with bicycles will be Lords.
      Bob

      • Avatar DASA says:

        Actually, humans and the planet as a whole would be better off if we stopped eating wheat. Check out this interesting study about the positive effect of re-introducing wolves=Reduced Global warming!

        http://robbwolf.com/2014/04/24/grass-fed/

        Stop eating bread and reduce your sugar intake and you’ll live a much healthier, happier life.

        • Bob Bob says:

          DASA, that’s easy for me to believe. I believe the only right way to live is like our ancestors. For 2-3 million years we were hunter gatherers and for 10,000 years we’ve had agriculture. Every sngle one of the worlds problems has come from agriculture (which gave rise to civilization). If we get rid of it, all the problems go away.
          Bob

  5. Avatar Calvin R says:

    I researched and wrote a college paper about this in 1991. Today, the only thing I have changed is point 1) above. The predictions then were far too conservative. That is the nature of science. Exaggeration and fear-mongering are not part of science as they seem to be part of most human endeavors, especially politics.

    I wish my guess that the oil will run out relatively soon was a balancing factor, but we know that coal and natural gas will replace petroleum without losing a beat.

    The way I differ from most of the preppers is that I do not foresee riots and social upheaval to nearly the same degree. People do not respond much at all to phenomena as gradual as global climate change. Through most of our history, when we were hunter-gatherers, we simply followed the plants and animals north and south, up and down mountains, and through new topography. Now we have attached ourselves to particular places by our material society and most in the developed world cannot or will not move with the times.

    We shall see what we shall see. The real wild card factor is potable water, and I am presently near the largest supply of fresh water in the world, the Great Lakes.

    The single most likely-to-help bit of prepping in my mind is to get and use a bicycle with a trailer. That requires no fuel beyond food, gives a person a way to transport family-sized loads, and allows leaving any given place faster than the advance of different weather. I’m doing that.

  6. Avatar John says:

    Ron, hopefully your comment doesn’t mean that you think global warming is merely a political trick to control the population better and to take in more taxes. Global warming is a real thing and it is caused, for the most part, by human action. And its happening a lot faster than anyone thought it would…

  7. Avatar Bill says:

    I am worried about the future that my grandchildren will face. My wife and I are planning on moving into a motor home in about 16 months and then boon docking off of the grid. We have already begun the process. We will both be retired then and will have small pensions and our SS but it will suffice. This was a great piece and the first one on your blog to which I have responded. I remember reading McKibben’s book when it came out and thinking that he was onto something. Now, it may be too late.

    • Bob Bob says:

      Bill, these are issues far beyond any of us to figure out or even really affect. I think the key is that each of us has to live with his own conscience. By moving into an RV you are doing the best thing you can do for the planet so you can go to bed at night and sleep well with the knowledge that you are doing your best. That’s the best any of us can really hope for.
      Bob

  8. Avatar Tom says:

    Unfortunately for the planet, I agree with what your saying. Nearly as I can figure from your past posts, we’re nearly the same age, as such we’ve most likely lived through much of the same world and national events.

    After seeing what happened in 1974 with gas, people pushing their cars into stations after running out of gas waiting in lines that stretched blocks long, I would have never guessed we’d still being using so much oil forty years later, and doing so much damage to the earth. Three Mile Island, the dumping of toxins and even the litter. The disregard by people and corporations today is stunning.

    Just based in history there is no doubt in my mind that we won’t stop until every last barrel of oil is out of the ground. Yet there are signs of hope. I think it was just last month I heard on the news one state is producing 30 percent of their power needs through wind. And although not the answer, hydrogen cars are coming on line in California. There are tiny steps and progress towards cold fusion. I think we’re past the point of no return, clean technology will have to save us.

    Great post Bob, but a better reminder…

    • Bob Bob says:

      The most ironic thing I’ve come across in studying this, is the only politician who took oil seriously was Jimmy Carter. He gave speeches about our need to change our ways regarding oil and that we had to do it now even if it hurt. He spoke honestly about what the future could hold if we did not. And yet universally he is considered one of the worst presidents of the 20th century.

      I’m a Republican and always vote Republican and adore Ronald Reagon. But in hindsight they were all terrible and Jimmy Carter was the best, most intelligent and honest President of the last 50 years.

      If we could have combined Jimmy Carters intelligence and bravery with Ronald Reagons charisma, we might could have saved the world. But it was not meant to be.
      Bob

  9. Avatar Sameer says:

    I think the damage that we have done is irreparable. I think Mankind is doomed to pay it’s karmic retribution and generations, going forward will pay the price for our mistakes. It is very sad too. Here I am sitting near the Grand Canyon, a glorious example of Natures beauty and I am in deep appreciation of the beauty of Creation. All that we enjoy today will change and pass away. Very sad indeed!
    Sameer recently posted…Are you Shitting on the Planet? Celebrating Earth Day My Profile

    • Bob Bob says:

      Sameer, that is extremely well said!! The Karma of the heinous civilization we live is is too horrible to contemplate. And the way we have treated the planet is the least of it. The way we have treated each other in the last 10,000 years is unspeakable: slavery, genocide, wars, social injustice. And all of it in the name of religion and “progress.” There is a lot of blood crying out from the earth for justice.

      Civilization owes a huge Karmic debt, and the bill is coming due.
      Bob

  10. Avatar Tim says:

    Great article Bob! I wish more people would speak up in defense of our planet.
    Now can you do one on the chemtrail spraying of our skies?
    I’ve read that this destructive spraying is going on worldwide and most of us are totally unaware of it.

    • Bob Bob says:

      Tim, boy it seems like something is going on allright with the chem-trails. But I have no idea what. If you come across any hard information let me know.
      Bob

      • Avatar Tim says:

        Bob, I emailed you some photos I took in our area last night. I think if you try Bing and/or Google you can find more info.
        What I found led to governments, conspiracy, Monsanto Corp and their GMO’s, and the United Nations Agenda 21. None of it painted a good picture of what is going on or things to come.

        • Bob Bob says:

          Tim, at this point it’s all pretty much wild speculation which is something I try not to get into. Beyond that, it’s not something I can do anything about. I have no control over world conspiracies and will never know the real truth about them.

          Global warming is science and I can so something (very small, but something) about it by taking personal responsibility for my actions and encourage others to take action. As it happens, those actions also directly make their lives better. I focus all my time and energy into that, leaving none for conspiracy theories. I’m not saying you are right or wrong, it’s interesting but I don’t have time to get involved with it.
          Bob

  11. Avatar Linda Sand says:

    It’s things like this that make me glad I have no grandchildren. On the other hand there was a news article recently that Millennials are not buying cars because they see no reason to do so. They are also comfortable living in smaller spaces. And are more likely to be eating real food as opposed to processed food. Maybe they’ll be the generation that turns this around. I hope so.
    Linda Sand recently posted…HolidayMy Profile

    • Bob Bob says:

      Without any doubt a radical shift of our way of life is coming because of global arming. Who knows what it will mean. But it will be up to the Millenials to deal with it, obviously we have failed to. They can’t do any worse!
      Bob

  12. Avatar Calvin R says:

    Linda, I think the Millenials will probably be the generation to change their behavior and the laws. Unfortunately, they themselves will probably not benefit from that until they are old. Warming and extreme weather will continue to increase for years after humans change because of the scale of all this. I wish them well.

  13. Avatar stan watkins says:

    I’m so happy that I can deliver great news. The warming was caused by sunspot activity the same sunspot activity that melted Mars’s ice caps. Temperatures are about the same as the Medieval Warm Period circa 950-1250 AD. Vikings settled Greenland, Europe experienced a boom in agriculture and population because warmth is good and cold is bad. This would be painfully clear during the Little Ice Age when millions died from disease (black death).Buck up old friend and know that it is the cycles of the greatest powerplant in our solar system that is determining our climate fate. This is not to say that we should not be good stewards of our perfect little spot in the Universe , quite the opposite. We of course should conserve and be as clean as possible. Thanks again for this wonderful website. I hope I helped bring you a bit of good cheer. Climate scientists should have at least a rudimentary understanding of history before they go off and scare good people such as yourself. Peace, Stan W.

    • Bob Bob says:

      Stan, wow, I’m glad you figured that out!! However, somehow the guys at NASA missed it, they are still saying that it is not caused by the sun. They claim that the energy output from the sun has remained stable but may have increased very slightly. But they say that if it was the sun you would expect equal warming of the whole atmosphere but in fact we don’t see that. The upper atmosphere has actually cooled while the lower atmosphere and surface has warmed–just like you would expect if the cause was greenhouse gasses. And all their climate models can’t explain the sudden warming in the last century without increasing man-made greenhouse glasses to explain it. But maybe you have better climate models or data than they do?

      Here is a link to find all their misinformation:
      http://climate.nasa.gov/causes

      Here is a cut and paste from the page:

      Solar irradiance

      It’s reasonable to assume that changes in the sun’s energy output would cause the climate to change, since the sun is the fundamental source of energy that drives our climate system.

      Indeed, studies show that solar variability has played a role in past climate changes. For example, a decrease in solar activity is thought to have triggered the Little Ice Age between approximately 1650 and 1850, when Greenland was largely cut off by ice from 1410 to the 1720s and glaciers advanced in the Alps.

      But several lines of evidence show that current global warming cannot be explained by changes in energy from the sun:

      1) Since 1750, the average amount of energy coming from the Sun either remained constant or increased slightly.
      2) If the warming were caused by a more active sun, then scientists would expect to see warmer temperatures in all layers of the atmosphere. Instead, they have observed a cooling in the upper atmosphere, and a warming at the surface and in the lower parts of the atmosphere. That’s because greenhouse gasses are trapping heat in the lower atmosphere.
      3) Climate models that include solar irradiance changes can’t reproduce the observed temperature trend over the past century or more without including a rise in greenhouse gases.

      Here is a graph from the EPA showing the temperature of the earth on one line, and the amount of energy hitting the upper atmosphere in the other. You can see the energy from the sun is stable, but the temperature keeps going up: http://www.epa.gov/climatechange/science/causes.html

      this is the caption from the graph: The sun’s energy received at the top of Earth’s atmosphere has been measured by satellites since 1978. It has followed its natural 11-year cycle of small ups and downs, but with no net increase (bottom). Over the same period, global temperature has risen markedly (top).

  14. Avatar Ming says:

    Bob, I admire your patience for engaging in these discussions. Hats off to you!

  15. I think what I will do is get a van, find a dog and move out into the AZ. desert and NOT stress over things I cannot control…

  16. Avatar stan watkins says:

    Oh well.I did try. Still love ya though and hope you have a great Alaskan adventure.

    • Avatar jonthebru says:

      Hi Stan and everyone else, I’m no scientist but I do observe and remember very well. As a Kid my Uncle (who managed an irrigation company on the Island I live on) me and my brothers were driving somewhere as we passed some corn fields. Hawaii was a sugar and pineapple economy at the time so to have a mainland seed company come to Hawaii and grow corn was a little different. (This was somewhere between ’59 and ’65.) He told us that the company that was doing the project was here to develop seed corn that would grow in warmer climates. This was due to projected “climate change” that they knew was going to occur in the future decades. Now we know that the warmer climate is pushing North and some areas that were good for some crops are no longer good and some areas that were to cold are warmer so different crops can grow. Nothing is 100% of course, this past winter was brutal for those across the Northern Hemisphere but there will be warmer winters as time goes on, that is the trend.
      Sorry this post is so long but I had a point to get across.

    • Bob Bob says:

      Thanks Stan!
      Bob

  17. Avatar Douglas V says:

    I think that the earth will be able to repair itself, but not to the same way it was before and it will be to the demise of many of the human race and other creatures. The earth survived the extinction of dinosaurs, severe ice age and more. But, it did change drastically.
    Douglas V recently posted…GearMy Profile

    • Bob Bob says:

      Douglas, I’m sure you’re right, we can’t really hurt the earth, just ourselves!! It’s very strong and patient, while we are puny, weak and fragile.
      Bob

  18. Avatar Calvin R says:

    As George Carlin put it, “We don’t need to save the planet. Mother Earth has taken very good care of herself for several billion years. However, in the course of doing that, she has eliminated plenty of species. We better work on not being next.”

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