Collective Fictions: 2

Collective Fictions: 2

In my last post I tried to tie the fate of my pigs to the need for a paradigm shift in human thinking about our place in the world.  That is, I admit, a tall order, one which is barely within the realm of possible.  Our collective fictions, those powerful stories we’ve told ourselves as we strove to conquer and dominate and consume, are now thwarting our ability to cooperate a global scale.  There is no story powerful enough to knit us all together as one human family working together to solve sustainability issues.  We are Americans and Russians and Chinese first, consumers second and human beings a distant third.  Global sustainability issues are trapped in a battle between nations trying to secure as large a share of wealth and power as possible.  This is not news to anyone.   It’s a narrative that’s been playing out for centuries coming to a head in a world with too many people and dwindling resources.  We, as a species, have been in a position of prominence on Earth for roughly 60,000 years.  The dinosaurs, who, with their tiny brains, prevailed for 130 million years, were not smart enough to engineer their own extinction event.  We, apparently, are, and, unfortunately, we’re taking everything else down with us.  Which is why I wonder, at times, why climate change as an issue is framed in terms of saving the planet.  Habitat loss and pollution are driving a global extinction event only peripherally linked to human-caused global warming.  Clearly, we’ve shown that we, collectively, don’t care enough about other species to alter our behavior.  But do we care enough about ourselves?  Isn’t fighting climate change really about saving what we have become?  The planet does not need saving; we do.  Only time will tell if we will collapse under the weight of our machinations.  In the meantime, my pigs continue to live as they please in the little bubble of safety I’ve created for them.  It’s a small gesture but a good one.

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