When future historians look back on this time, they will see it as an age of rationalization, and will be amazed at what fooled large numbers of people. Much as our society is propelled by trends, panics, and manias, it is also driven by illusion because that cops votes.
Rationalization says that we accept the decline of civilization because it is popular and find some way to explain it to ourselves as good with stories that twist the way we see the situation until it seems like success and not failure.
A rationalizer, when his crop fails, will say that he secretly wanted to be an artist anyway, so while he starves he will paint, hoping that in his victimhood society will notice his plight and send him big hunks of money.
Similarly, when democracy enters its final stage and begins to fail, but technology has made it possible to have billions of people, the rationalizer decides that since population is unpopular as a topic, he will instead invent “climate change” and make that his crusade.
It is perfect for the rationalizer: he can continue living his life, just with inferior substitutes for items in his everyday life, but since everyone suffers under the same thing, he feels no sense of loss, and gains a positive outlook on the future since he no longer sees it as doomed.
Climate change like most ideological constructs bases itself in a partial truth and extrapolates from that into a theory of everything. This way, the rationalizer sees climate change as an important goal and himself as important for participating in it.
A more realistic view sees our problems as many, both internal and external, with a big one being what environmental writer Kveldulf Gunnar Larsson refers to as “The Ecocide,” or the human elimination of most of life on Earth in order to make room for more humans.
The theory of global warming was born from the theory of nuclear winter, namely that an apocalyptic event would either block or trap the sun and doom life on Earth. The more likely culprit would be the simultaneity of urbanization and the urban heat island effect.
In other words, the more humans we put on Earth, the more city land replaces natural land, and that plus land used for food and industry takes away enough land from nature to crowd out species, driving them below replacement reproduction and into dangerous inbreeding.
Climate change would leave this process unchanged, but would fill landfills with more batteries, flaky green products, and carbon neutral foods that no one wants to eat. Until we tackle the core of the issue — too much humanity — the problem remains unchanged.
To counter this, the E.O. Wilson foundation launched Half Earth, a project to conserve half of Earth for nature, and leave it untouched by humans:
With Half-Earth, E.O. Wilson’s intention was to create a “moonshot” goal, a human endeavor that ensured we would leave no species behind. This is not just important conceptually, it’s important inspirationally. If you look at history, this is the sort of ambitious goal that drives change.
Habitat size and the number of species it can sustainably support are mathematically related, not linearly, but by the 4th root. The current amount of globally-protected earth and sea area (about 15 percent) is insufficient. Current mathematical predictions estimate we’ll lose half of all species before the end of the century. Half-Earth is a global approach, because the science demonstrates that by protecting half overall enough species will survive to keep our own needs intact.
This is a good start, but it quickly got taken over by a dark organization within. Like all human decay, means-over-ends takes over, which translates into a focus on method at the expense of the big picture:
The E.O. Wilson Biodiversity Foundation’s Half-Earth Project is mapping the geospatial location of all Earth’s species at a high resolution in order to transform our understanding of the world and inform which places offer the most effective path forward for the protection of endangered species and endangered ecosystems.
Suddenly, we have a jobs program here: try to choose which places we want to save. That leads to someone making an Official List, which leads to people trying to buy their way off that list. This also leads to political pressures, special interests, and soon we are going nowhere.
Beyond Half Earth takes a simpler view: half of all land in all areas must be left aside for nature. If a city displaces a certain amount of space, an equivalent space right next to it gets set aside. Roads, fences, and farms count as displacement too.
The point would be to treat nature as something we do not understand, instead of projecting our human needs upon it. We want to save it, and we have no idea of its complexity, so the point would be to simply save half of the land out there and let nature do its thing with that.
In addition, this would rein in human development, which to this date has expanded without check. Limiting our species to half of the planet would force us to make the hard choices that we have been ignoring at the expense of nature and our future.