Could we really do it? I think we could. I saw the movie The Road on “Black Friday,” an adaptation of Cormac McCarthy's novel, who also wrote No Country for Old Men. I'll leave it to the literary and film critics to analyze and dissect the film. This movie is about a lot of things but most important it is about a dying planet, in the literal sense.
While not specified in the novel or the movie we humans, in numerous ways, decided our world was not sacred nor was sustainability an important priority. The film will undoubtedly elicit a range of feelings among the moviegoers, but one of mine was anger. We humans are the supreme dysfunctional narcissists.
In The Road there are no plants remaining, trees are dying and falling over, and all the animals have gone. No, life cannot continue without the prosaic carbon cycle. Some will say that we could conceivably regulate the carbon cycle artificially, food could be synthesized using genetic engineering, and terraforming of the moon, asteroids, and even Mars might be possible someday. Should we start now, just in case?
The movie turns the whole idea of the “glorious” revolution and “rights” into a final, very black comedy. On the Left, workers of the world are not going to unite and sing The Internationale; on the Right, all the stupid guns will run out of bullets and all the silly camouflage uniforms will simply rot away. Now imagine the last dying gasp of an unpleasant species--cannibalism.
As I grow older I find religious fundamentalism of all varieties increasingly repugnant. A collection of death cults conjured up in feverish imaginations during the late Bronze and early Iron Age. For some it is a trip to magic kingdom, for others “may you rot in hell,” wherever that is. But for all, don't worry about planet Earth or all the non-human life, for the Entity will forgive your transgressions, just plead your case only a little. Now that ethereal view is truly a license to kill, maim, and slaughter.
We know the carnage the developed world has wrought upon our planet, but the developing world is anxious to catch up. China is working hard to possibly be the worst plunderer of natural resources in human history, Brazil rationalizes on a daily basis why just one more acre of the rainforest can be cut down for cattle ranches and soybean plantations, and India announces with pride that it now has an inexpensive internal combustion engine for the masses. No longer are those awful bicycles needed.
I'll take the sunset dipping over a wine-dark sea, a hawk nesting in a city skyscraper, a wolf howling to the moon, a whale leaping high into the air, and a child smiling with pure delight while examining the earthworm at his or her feet.
This earthly world is really worth “protecting.” The question should never be why. Now is the time to be working hard to create resilient communities that connect with everything and everyone in some way.