Earth: Game Over?

Earth: Game Over? | Common DreamsWe’re in the middle of a sixth mass extinction, and this will be the first one—and possibly the last—we will witness as human beings.

Video games usually provide you with multiple lives. If you step on a landmine or get hit by an assassin, you get another chance. Even if such virtual reincarnation is not built into the rules of the game, you can always reboot and start over again. You can try again hundreds of times until you get it right. This formula applies to first-person shooter games as well as simulation exercises like SimEarth.

The real Earth offers a similar kind of reboot. Catastrophe has hit our planet at least five times, as Elizabeth Kolbert explains in her new book, The Sixth Extinction. During each of these preceding wipeouts, the planet recovered, though many of the life forms residing in the seas or on land were not so fortunate (“many” is actually an understatement—more than 99 percent of all species died out in these cataclysms). As Kolbert points out, we are in the middle of a sixth such world-altering event, and this will be the first—and possibly the last—extinction that we will witness as human beings. The planet and its hardier denizens may soldier on, but for us it will be game over.

A subset of environmentalists is already preparing for the end game. In the latest New York Times Magazine, Paul Kingsnorth—the author of the manifesto Uncivilization—confesses that he has given up trying to save the planet. He rejects false hopes. “You look at every trend that environmentalists like me have been trying to stop for 50 years,” he says, “and every single thing had gotten worse.” He’s heading to the wilderness of Ireland to grow his own food, homeschool his kids, and prepare for the difficult days ahead.

Survivalism: it’s not just for right-wing wackos any more.

Full Article Here: Earth: Game Over? | Common Dreams.

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  • TH100We are subsidizing our own destruction. The fossil fuel industry is cashing in on government welfare. According to a new report from Oil Change International, the oil, gas, and coal industries raked in $21.6 billion dollars in state and federal subsidies in 2013 alone. In comparison, the entire 2013 budget request for the Department of Labor was only $12 billion dollars, and the Environmental Protection Agency only requested about $8 billion. We're giving the industry that destroys our planet more than two and half times the amount we pay to protect it. As EcoWatch.com points out, subsidies to fossil fuel companies are “particularly harmful and hypocritical.” The world's leading scientific institutions, including the International Energy Agency and the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, all say that the majority of fossil fuels must stay in the ground in order to prevent extreme global warming. One of this new report's authors said, “The science is clear that at least two-thirds of proven fossil fuel reserves need to stay in the ground to avoid catastrophic climate change – it is time for the U.S. government to show leadership and immediately end the massive subsidies that encourage their production.” Not only do these subsidies pad the pockets of oil companies, but they put tax payers on the hook for the social costs of destroying our planet. If Big Oil had to pay the true cost of fossil fuel extraction, they wouldn't be able to drill away without a second thought about the communities and the lives that they devastate in the process. It's time to demand that our government start making $20 billion dollar investments in our future, instead of subsidizing the very industries that are bringing about our destruction.
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