The Earth's Lungs And Us, The Cancer

In an influential 2015 publication, Dr. Binocs and Mr. Tree said, “Plants are often known as the 'lungs of the world' as they take in carbon dioxide and give out oxygen.” After developing a nasty smoking habit called industrialization, plants cannot clear the lungs fast enough and the planet is choking up blood. The solution to this is as physically simple as it is psychologically impossible. Stop growing, stop developing, stop smoking. What we call growth is precisely the cancer the planet needs to cut out. Nobody wants to hear this of course. Especially because we're being executed, people are thinking ‘smoke 'em if you've got 'em.’

When we talk about rising CO₂ levels (just one of our problems), the answer is quite clear. Let the plants clean it up, as God intended. Abandon the vanity of private property and let the meek inherit the Earth. Or face the consequences, as Allah has told us, over and over again. As the Quran clearly says, “How many generations have We destroyed since Noah’s time. Your Lord is well aware of the sins of His servants and observes them all. We give whatever We will to whoever desires immediate gains; but then We have prepared Hell for him which he will enter, disgraced and rejected.” Ain't it the truth?

The Quran talks about clear signs of the destruction of every civilization before us but we just walk past it like ‘nope, not us’. I have walked through the ruins of Polonnaruwa myself. It was once a great irrigation civilization and is now overrun by monkeys. How the mighty have fallen. We see these fallen cities all over the world and think it doesn't apply to our global village. Of course it does. Every city eventually exhausts its environment, and a global city just exhausts the whole globe.

As Tyson Yunkaporta said,

Civilisations are cultures that create cities, communities that consume everything around them and then themselves. They can never be indigenous until they abandon their city-building culture, a lesson the Elders of Zimbabwe have handed down from bitter experience through deep time.

A city is a community on the arrow of time, an upward-trending arrow demanding perpetual growth. Growth is the engine of the city—if the increase stops, the city falls. Because of this, the local resources are used up quickly and the lands around the city die. The biota is stripped, then the topsoil goes, then the water. It is no accident that the ruins of the world’s oldest civilisations are mostly in deserts now. It wasn’t desert before that.

What goes up must come down. The bigger you are, the harder you fall. Instead of just fucking up one city-state, we have become a global civilization and fucked the whole planet. In our vain bargaining with fate, we ignore the first law of holes, which is ‘stop digging.’ Switching to electric bulldozers doesn't solve the problem, it just modifies it slighting while continuing in the same direction. GDP is just measuring the hole we're digging, and being proud of how big it's getting. The economy actually produces nothing usable by the ecosystem. It's fascinating for human beings for a few years, and then waste heat and garbage for aeons.

Civilization is, to us, the bees' knees, but to the birds and the bees it's just a kick in the nuts. GDP is—to most lifeforms—just a measure of exponentially increasing garbage. Most consumer goods are binned within a year, and 99.999% are binned within a lifetime. 100% are useless to animals immediately, and generally toxic or indigestible. All the land and water use is land and water taken away from more productive uses, like the reproduction of life. We just produce death and call it progress. It's just numbers in the sky.

The solution to climate change is actually simple, as Binocs and Tree imply, but we like complexity. When we say 'save the earth' it's disingenuous, we really mean save ourselves. So we build machines to reverse climate change, like raping to restore virginity. Or we switch to electric cars, like switching from heroin to fentanyl. We are trying to solve a problem with different problems. Literally doing nothing is the best thing we could do, but we overcomplicate things with classic overconfidence.

As I've said, the solution is giving up. Giving up to God, giving up to grief, giving up to something greater than ourself. This does not mean doing nothing per se, it means doing your dharma, which no can tell you (unless you get a really good charioteer). If you're asking for advice, I'd say consult your nearest deity (after washing and taking your shoes off, please). If humans just gave up on modern civilization, nature would return. As Midnight Oil said presciently in 1987, talking about giving the abomination Australia back to the aboriginals:

The time has come
A fact's a fact
It belongs to them
Let's give it back

How can we dance
When our earth is turning
How do we sleep
While our beds are burning
How can we dance
When our earth is turning

This is of course entirely theoretical because humans don't even run modern civilization. The world has been run by corporate AI since the VoC in 1602, at least. Artificial life—made of paper and paperwork as easily as from computers and computer programming—has been running riot across the whole world since the colonial era and it never stopped. It just changed marketing material and became capitalism. This is the globe spanning AI ruling and roiling the world for centuries, and human beings are just the bacteria in its bureaucratic guts. We're not even the operant species in our own undoing.

We can't 'give it back' because 'we' gave up control to corporate, ie artificial life long ago. 'We' don't exist in any coherent sense and corporations are legal persons who already have more political power than you or me. The only cold comfort is that everything that lives must die, man or machine. Everything that claims identity must lose it, inexorably. Existence and non-existence are pairs, like matter and anti-matter. Everything that lives must die, even globe-spanning, artificial beings. Even economies that devour ecosystems must eventually crest, crash, and recede.

So someday the cigarettes will be stubbed out. Not because industrial civilization gave up, but because it just died of lung cancer and literally ran out of gas at about the same time. Some day the planetary lungs will heal, turning all that CO₂ into O₂, over millions of years. This isn't even the first time that lifeforms completely fucked the climate (the Great Oxygen Holocaust, never forget). There is nothing new under the sun, we just dug up old photosynthetic lifeforms as 'fossils' and ran their energetic cycle in reverse. Whereas they once cooled the Earth to the equator with too much oxygen, we're roasting it to the poles with too much carbon. It's a simple equation really, I was watching it on a children's YouTube channel (I'm single-dadding it these days, you'll get a lot of this). The problem is that we like the complexity.