The Scariest Thing to Ever Happen on Halloween

Photo Credit: Joe Bageant

This year the world saw what was unquestionably the most frightening October 31st ever. We witnessed something scarier than werewolves and vampires (yes, even those from Twilight); we saw the world population reach a daunting 7  billion.

Overpopulation has been a concern for a long time, and is currently one of the biggest threats to our existence and that of the planet. As many people realize but probably refuse to think about, we are simply too numerous to go about as we always have, that is, with unlimited consumption.

We are the real zombies, not those trick or treaters you saw on your doorstep last Monday. We drain rivers dry, we run animal species into extinction and we exploit those of us unlucky to be born into what we’ve called The Third World. We stagger around the earth aimlessly, acting without reflection,  consuming everything we can get our greedy hands on.

Of course I am not saying that the everyday John Smith is responsible, but we, the ‘civilized’ world collectively, certainly are. Through industrialization, mass consumption, and yes, overpopulation, we have led the world into a state from which it may never recover.

Peter Wenz is Emeritus Professor of Philosophy at the University of Illinois. He is the author of many books including Environmental Ethics Today and Nature’s Keeper. In 2008 he gave a lecture entitled Animal Rights in Social Context:

“What people have done, is first, and this is most obvious in the case of our use of nonhuman animals, separate ourselves from nature. We think of ourselves as beings who are, not integral to nature, therefore how nature fairs, how well  nature is preserved, is not of direct concern to us. It’s only indirectly concerned, we’re not it, it is different from us. It’s a dichotomy of people vs nature as two concepts, instead of thinking of the human as thouroughly natural and integral to nature. Thinking of people as separate then allows an attempt to maximize human welfare by dominating nature. Getting more power over nature. And we get more power over nature in order to meet human needs.”

What’s worse, is that many of us don’t take just what we need, in fact our idea of what we need and what we want is so warped they’re almost synonymous. Think about it: “I need a cigarette”, “I need a new car.” We are all guilty (and yes, I know that includes me).

“So this means that if you are seeking power over nature to meet human wants, the power you seek is unlimited because wants are unlimited. They are limited only by the human imagination of what to want, so the power that is sought after nature, is an unlimited power.”

If we want any chance of having a future for the generations to come, (and let’s hope they come in fewer numbers than we did), we have to realize that the earth is not here to serve our purposes. We aren’t superior beings. If we were, I think the earth would be in better shape right now. We’re all just part of it, all of us. And we have to think about what our everyday actions can cause in the long-term instead of acting without reflection. We have to stop being zombies.

Want to start? Check out Buy Nothing Day from Adbusters.


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Categories: Politics, Quebec Environment, Uncategorized



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