“I don’t get depressed, I get angry,” says Johan Rockström, Breaking Boundaries, Netflix.
Me too, Johan. I am furious.
I am furious because I listened to you in hope, and imagined millions doing the same. Yet your vision of the human global reign continuing, but within your “safe operating space”, is morally defunct.
Why on Earth would I ever say such a thing? You have a vast platform; earned, I am sure of this. Your collaborative work on planetary boundaries and Earth systems is hugely valuable to modern society. But when that very modern society is THE fault-line in Earth’s discordance, you, therefore, can’t fix it. Things have to shift away from the modernism you are protecting. And I am not writing of a return to cave-life ~ but of a return to a wise way of understanding LIFE.
Please don’t use your platform to dismiss ethics as if science is the “torch” to show us the way. Science gives us “light”, but not all light, and how best to live through the light. And to live through the dark. Both ancient indigenous ways of thought and emerging forms of ecologism springing up in fountains all over the world have serious contributions to make. And they may not look and sound like you.
Yours is a job of listening as well as warning.
You dismiss the moral calling; exquisite beauty is irrelevant, you say. But real beauty IS the interconnectedness, the symnexia of LIFE, and that cannot be dismissed. We are, like it or not, moral beings – the calling goes deep into our symbiotic existence, within and without; even our neural pathways, like flowers and roots in symbiosis with bacteria and viruses, are shaped in that very same pattern.
We save nature not to save us, but because it is us.
Now may be the time for some unlearning. No symling may be left behind in sacrifice for saving the human race. No symling should be enslaved “in service” or servitude to humans, but instead in Fluministic devotion to the communal cause as they were born or divided to do.
As should we all.
Please stop dismissing the moral cause, when you continually use it yourself under the guise of “science” – morality shapes even the work you do. Ask yourself again why you do what you do. What emotivates you? What ethic do you abide by? An ethic is the enactment of your own moral code.
That the biosphere should exist, therefore, evolve to prop up human civilisation is the ultimate foolishness of our young immature experiment of a species. We cannot and should not pursue this ethic of enslavement and frustropian servitude of all life to one cause.
Trees planted? Trees are perfectly evolved to grow themselves, given place. But remember they are community species, only part of something much bigger and older than themselves, an order of magnitude older, higher, broader, deeper than humans – a symbioethic. Our planting is ancillary, the gardening at the edges. LIFE is full-on love for evolutionary processes, much of which we cannot participate as ecological consumers. We must be patient. Let the trillions of symlings be Fluminists, so that we too can be Fluminists.
Food? Yes, we know what we parasitise and consume is a huge driver of ecological distress rooted in all those inter-flowing planetary systems you so rightly highlight – we are nature, so the responsibility is ours to generate LIFE in the process of its becoming, not destroy life. Shelter, clothes, waste (do we and our waste become ecological food once more), travel, we have become a “boundary” to all life – you missed humans out in your nine systems taxa – the Anthropocene puts us right in there NUMBER TEN (and equity between humans does fucking matter – you should know that better than anyone. Inequity drives the desire for more exploitation).
Back to language.
“Safe operating space” is a Westernised expression of THE language deficit ongoing right now, a continuation of the moral deflection from union with all living beings. WE ARE NOT STANDING ON A FACTORY LINE.
Instead, please use your platform to thread the nature of nature through each and every one of us, and through the symbiotic species that power this fragile, beautiful, unique biosphere – LIFE, a metabolising global kindship of community. LIFE is CLIMATE (Margulis/Lovelock/many more, including me).
That’s where “security” for ALL species lays. In them we trust.
LOVE IS FOR ALL processes that sustain life, including symbiosis. The mystery is ever-present in that love – a deep faith in processes, known and unknown. I call it Fluminism.
Dear Professor, there is not AND NEVER WILL BE a good Anthropocene. There is a falsity, an arrogance of “universal knowledge” peppered into the flesh of everything as if scientists are the masters of their aim. For all your valuable insights, what remains essential, Johan, is the recognition that our species may stand in humble rank, and that we shall not (and should not) ever fully “know.” Then, and only then, may we have a chance at aiding LIFE into very uncertain futures caused by vast human iniquity. And then… to un-belong as NUMBER TEN planetary “boundary”.