Life vs. Productivity: "What Would You Live and Die to Protect?"(original Truthout article)
Sunday 05 September 2010
People in Louisiana expressing their feelings about the BP oil disaster. (Photo: Erika Blumenfeld 2010)
"It is criminal to teach a man not to defend himself, when he is the constant victim of brutal attacks." -Malcolm X
If someone broke into your house, pinned down your loved ones and began pouring poison down their throats, would you stop that person?
What if someone poured crude oil all over your crops and livestock? Wouldn't you try to stop them from doing it?
Oyster beds soaked in BP oil. (Photo: Erika Blumenfeld 2010)
Oil filled inland lagoon on Timbalier Island, Louisiana. (Photo: Erika Blumenfeld 2010)
Pointed questions like these come from a man named Derrick Jensen. They provide a lens through which to view the havoc that corporate capitalism is wreaking on our planet. They are meant to jolt us into the awareness that we are watching life on earth annihilated. They are also meant to challenge us into thinking about what form our resistance to this should take.
"I think what we need to do is to stop deluding ourselves into believing that those in power will do what they have not done and they've shown no inclination to do, which is to support life over production," says Jensen, an author and environmental activist who lives in Northern California.
Lewis Mumford, a US historian and philosopher of science and technology, has written, "The chief premise common to both technology and science is the notion that there are no desirable limits to the increase of knowledge, of material goods, of environmental control; that quantitative productivity is an end in itself and that every means should be used to further expansion."
But how can unlimited growth and productivity be possible on a planet with finite resources?
Simple answer: It cannot.
Yet, we are all being pushed, at breakneck speed, toward a future that promises catastrophic global climate change, depleted natural resources, environmental degradation and human chaos and suffering on an apocalyptic scale.