Maternal Earth

Naomi Klein couldn’t look at any body of water for two years after the BP gulf spill without imagining it covered in oil. Then, her climate activism helped her “imagine various futures that were decidedly less bleak than the post-apocalyptic cli-fi pastiche.” So maybe you’ll want to postpone screening Deepwater Horizon until after you attend a few more rallies.

It’s true, imagining a brighter future sheds a bit more light on how to navigate a challenging present. So does having kids, and the experience of trying to have them. Klein’s “fertility factory” adventure brought home for her our need to address the root causes of climate stress, just as those for whom pregnancy is elusive must address the biological conditions of reproductive success.

Klein’s adventure did finally succeed, and it was then that she developed a greater sensitivity to our culture’s neglect of child safety with respect to drugs and chemicals. “Entire regulatory systems are predicated on the assumption that all members of the population basically act, biologically, like middle-aged men.” What a short-sighted assumption, of the very sort that drove BP’s recklessness in the gulf.

It doesn’t take an asteroid to wipe out or compromise a species anymore, as the total impact of spilling and warming interfere with reproduction and post-natal ecological integrity. Consider the reputedly-indomitable salmon, for instance, threatened by human activity in so many ways overfishing, logging, damming, spilling…


So we close Klein’s book with these crucial questions: If we’re to get back to homeostatic Mother Earth, must we entirely renounce geoengineered Monster Earth? Is it monstrous to place a monetary valuation on a world in which the salmon still swim? Isn’t that priceless?

Can we do it? Can we change everything? What will be our catalyst?

We stand on a mountain pass in the midst of whirling snow and blinding mist, through which we get glimpses now and then of paths which may be deceptive. If we stand still we shall be frozen to death. If we take the wrong road we may be dashed to pieces. We do not certainly know whether there is any right one. What must we do? ‘Be strong, and of good courage.’ Act for the best, hope for the best, and take what comes. If death ends all, we cannot meet death better. Will to Believe

Humans can do amazing things. Courage! “It was on this date in 2007 that Jason Lewis and the Expedition 360 team completed the first entirely human-powered trip around the world…” WA

Next, Fall Break. And then Tim Flannery’s Atmosphere of Hope. 


6:15/6:48, 60/88, 6:22

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