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We, the 99% are rightfully indignant that the 0.01% have stolen so much--too much--of what should have been shared.

But we, "civilized humans," are the minority --probably more than 1%--that plundered the earth for the last few hundred years and plun- dered ever more severely. Our culture, our so-called civilization, is based on a skewed premise: that we can take without consequences. Hu- mankind's ground assumption has become that we can use this planet as we wish.

We took wood, we took water, without a thought of consequences. We used so much wood for heat and light that we made deserts. Now we eradicate whole forests and so affect the planet's normal circulation: think of forests as the planet's lungs We still use enormous amounts of water and give it back poisoned. We took iron and a hundred other treasures from the earth to make us live as no life has ever lived.

And still we continue. Our taking requires energy so we take more to make the energy to take more, allowing us to live lives now virtually divorced from the planetary ecology.

We have changed landscapes, the skin of the earth. We have dug deep under the skin to get at substances we decided we need to make the energy to make a world on top of the planet.

We're clever. But clever destroys without awareness of what is real. The monumental greed of a few has broken not only a manmade econo- my but a planetary ecology.

Reality is cause and effect.

As an invisible microbe can seriously affect, even kill, a human organ- ism, a few humans can unbalance and perhaps destroy the planetary organism.

Yes, we can think of the planetary ecology as an organism. A human organism depends on millions of many different kinds of bacteria to function, for life itself. So too all the millions of species of the planetary ecology are needed to maintain a balanced planetary ecology.

For a few thousands years some of us -- the civilized us -- pretended the planet is here for our use. Forgetting, ignoring, even denying, that the planet is not an object. It is a living organism. Larger and more complex than any organism we can imagine, but alive.

A seriously imbalanced planetary ecology is now burning the world. Melting the snow of glaciers and poles. Our forceful denuding, destruc- tion, of the surface of the earth is killing off thousands of species.

One species has found ways to make the power to overwhelm all other species (except the tiniest, viruses and bacteria). Less than 0.01% of all species is eradicating the multitudes necessary for a healthy ecology. Cause and effect: and the few of us are the cause.


It is the imbalance in economy and ecology that is untenable. Not politics, not a matter of democracy or capitalism, it is an overstretched inequality that seeks equality. That is not a law of Man but a universal principle. I have an image of water that must have a horizontal surface. The greater the difference between levels of water, the greater the force to find that horizontal equality. No economy and no ecology can have one percent dominate ninety-nine percent.

We, humans, may be unable to level the severe imbalances we our- selves made in the world economy and the planetary ecology. So-called geo-engineering is but another kind of hubris, extreme arrogance. Very probably it is too late to reverse global warming.

Climate scientists call that "game over," us taken off the board.

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robert wolff lived on the Big Island, called Hawai'i

his website is He passed away in late 2015. He was born in 1925, was Dutch, spoke, Dutch, Malay, English and spent time living and getting to know Malaysian Aborigines. He authored numerous books including What it Is To Be Human, (more...)

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