Some light reading for Earth Day

In celebration of Earth Day, here’s some light reading on the subject. Worth your time more than buying some eco-friendly towels at your local green market or whatever.


Empty half the Earth of its humans. It’s the only way to save the planet


Being an “environmentalist” who cares about “saving the planet” may not be about trying to live with nature in the way things were in some mystical magical way that doesn’t exist. It’s may be more about how we should all live in cities, while we rewild as much of the remaining land as possible. So maybe something more like… Humanity is like an infection on this planet, and we need to quarantine ourselves within cities so the world can get on with doing what it does, instead of helping it wipe US out for fucking with it too much. Not saying this is 100% the magic bullet solution but something worth thinking about.


It’s time to think seriously about cutting off the supply of fossil fuels

By David Roberts on Vox

Those annoying environmental activist treehuggers that talk your ear off about Standing Rock and Keystone XL and Williams Pipeline, etc. etc? Turns out they’re seriously on to something. The more we delay or kill new fossil fuel infrastructure, the less that infrastructure digs fossil fuels out of the ground to be burned, and the more clean energy can continue to take hold. At the highest level it’s a numbers game, and a time game. But blocking pipelines is a huge part of that game. This is incredibly hard, punishing, painful work, people volunteering their time, spending their own money, enduring rough conditions and serious corporate resistance to stand in support of indigenous people, and to block massive climate damage. I like to think of myself as a hardcore climate activist but I’ve got nothing on the folks that went down to Standing Rock. They deserve our undying respect and admiration for doing something that truly matters. So let’s make earth day Hug a Treehugger Day, too.


Men Resist Green Behavior as Unmanly

By Aaron R. Brough & James E.B. Wilkie in Scientific American

Yet another mark on toxic masculinity. Not only is it killing people and wrecking lives, but it’s wrecking our chances of doing more for the planet. I mean even the idea of celebrating Earth Day doesn’t really “feel” masculine, does it? This article talks about ways that “green” organizations and messages could be flipped to appeal more to men. But maybe a better idea is for men to just sit the fuck down already and let women get on with running the planet. We’ve obviously fucked things up enough plenty.


All this is to say that despite all these wicked problems mangling this planet, I’m still positive and optimistic about our ability to do something about it. Mainstream media, and especially our Facebook feeds thrive on negativity, so that’s what most of us see. But if you dig a little deeper you get a real sense of the good things happening. Clean energy is booming. More and more people are starting to care about these issues beyond just Earth Day. Governments, at least state ones here and national ones outside of the U.S., are taking huge steps, and the activists that do the most important work of protest and awareness have more tools than ever to do it effectively. We’re not gonna “solve” climate change, we’re not gonna save all the animals, and shit is going to get hard for a lot of people. But I have confidence that we’ll figure things out, make do, and muddle along while slowly but surely making/keeping the world at least somewhat habitable.

And to end on a (somewhat) positive note, a quote from veteran treehugger Stewart Brand, who’s deeply researched and pragmatic approach to environmentalism is what we all need right now:

“We’re engaging in a set of activities which go way beyond the individual life span, way beyond children, grandchildren, way beyond parents, grandparents, great-grandparents, to the whole frame of at least civilizational life. Once you get comfortable with that, then you start to go further out still, to three and a half billion years of life on Earth, and maybe we’ll do another three and a half billion years. That’s kind of interesting to try to hold in your mind. And once you’ve held it in your mind, what do you do on Monday?”