I am experiencing planetary anxiety at the moment. If the Independant is doing a cover story a week about climate change and environmental situations at the moment, man, it must be bad.
I do think belief is a major factor as to how we ended up like this. In a whole bunch of religions/societies (which you can consider the same up till very recently in the west) the earth and this physical existence isn’t really given much importance. It’s kind of a stopgap to something else. And I’ve been pondering how big a cause of all the crazy problems we have now it is.
We all know that the Judeo-Christian religeons tend to see the world as a place removed from God and only humans have souls (so we are the only ones that matter). This world is created for us and for us to be stewards of (though I think that bit got forgotten). As far as I’ve heard, earth is a kind of testing ground for us. In art history and literature, nature has been demonised, probably because the further away from the land you got the richer and nobler you were. Nature is savage and beastly and sex-crazy, and we want no part of it. I remember all the Gothic Victorian novels I had to study at school. The history of the demonisation of women links us with demonic nature for a demon double-whammy.
Us lot in our nature-based religions of course see the earth as sacred, and it is seen as a part of God herself. It’s a much more physically-based spiritual system than the average mainstream one, although if it turns out that this life is just an illusion and we were meant to spend it yearning to be apart from it, we’re really screwed.
I feel that there has been such a return to earth-based religions recently partly because we are so disconnected and it doesn’t feel right, partly because in our privileged western culture are now affluent enough not to feel the need to use any and every poisonous tactic to get enough money to survive in a world that runs on bits of paper and plastic. We can look at it from the other side, and see that the short term people benefits get cancelled out by the long term angry-earth problems.
I really do think that with our advances in technology, we can create a human world that is ecologically neutral, and it will be all techy and awesome like the fairies have in Artemis Fowl, but it’s not going to happen while everyone in power acts like money’s bitch. We need nature and the earth to be the most important thing first, not money, an I don’t think we are there yet.