Forget Saving The Planet, Save Yourself


In a conversation with my dad, we’ll call him Mr. Toussaint, he told me global warming would be a problem the Earth would fix itself. “The Earth didn’t start these problems,” I replied. “These problems are man-made or human-made and therefore should be human solved.” He respectfully disagreed and I, maybe disrespectfully, disregarded his position as being that of a man of a certain age.

More recently I heard a speech from Leonard Peltier, “American activist, member of the American Indian Movement” and political prisoner. He explained his own and a general American Indian view on environmental issues that was framed in terms of Mother Earth.

He explained Mother Earth was the life-giver and we are acting in a destructive manner by polluting Earth with toxins and nuclear waste. I assumed I knew to whom we were being destructive and thought “yeah, how about that, we should really do something.”

He went on to explain corporations and most environmental activists were incredibly arrogant in their thought that they could “Save the Planet”. He said Earth was here before us and would be here after us. Earth could sustain what we do to it but WE could not sustain what we do to it. We would die before the Earth would.

Then it all made sense. “Saving the Planet” never really made sense to me. Climate change naysayers have said the Earth goes through natural warming and cooling cycles from the hot volcanic times of the dinosaurs to the ice age. And they’re right actually, with the intervention of asteroids and huge volcanic eruptions that are thought to have changed the Earth’s climate drastically.

The Earth has withstood so much for so long its time has to be measured on its own terms, geological terms, where the blink of an eye would be millions of years for Earth. That’s when I got a better idea of the magnitude of the arrogance of the prevailing environmentalist thought.

There’s no way you can save the planet. Really what you’re doing is trying to save yourself. Humankind is trying to save itself, its own existence on this planet which can’t seem to vomit us up fast enough. And maybe there’s nothing wrong with that.

So maybe it’s a noble and natural pursuit to preserve our species. Hey, I like my apartment which is located in my favorite city on my favorite planet. What’s not to like about that and all that we know of life here? Now what I disagree with is the arrogance of thinking we can save the planet and the lie we perpetuate when we say we can.

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