Posts Tagged ‘Endgame’

Back in 2006, Derrick Jensen wrote,

A few years ago I began to feel pretty apocalyptic. But I hesitated to use that word, in part because of those drawings I’ve seen of crazy penitents carrying “The End is Near” signs, and in part because of the power of the word itself. Apocalypse. I didn’t want to use it lightly.

But then a friend and fellow activist said, “What will it take for you to finally call it an apocalypse? The death of the salmon? Global warming? The ozone hole? The reduction of krill populations off Antarctica by 90 percent, the turning of the sea off San Diego into a dead zone, the same for the Gulf of Mexico? How about the end of the great coral reefs? The extirpation of two hundred species per day? Four hundred? Six hundred? Give me a specific threshold, Derrick, a specific point at which you’ll finally use that word.”  – Endgame Vol. 1 p. 3 (excerpt available here)

This question of statistics, degrees, and thresholds is an important one, and the gradual nature of the changes we are living through is part of why so many have been so complacent for so long.  Rhetorically, the inability to covey the seriousness of the problems in a powerful way without sounding like one is over-reacting is part of why thinktanks and energy companies have been so successful at sowing mistrust of climate science (and all science), and how the financial industry and their media mouthpieces have hoodwinked people into the ongoing belief that they are what John Steinbeck supposedly called “temporarily embarrassed millionaires.”

The ongoing, multi-faceted crisis, which will lead to a dramatic change in how we live, lacks a singular event and, therefore, doesn’t feel apocalyptic the way we have been taught to expect it to.  This apocalypse, and I’ll use the word, lacks the theatrical, dramatic elements that make everyone stop and pay attention.  However, this doesn’t mean it isn’t happening.

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