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Wednesday, 14 May 2014

Rise of the Eco Warrior


Eco-consciousness and the Rise of the Eco Warrior

 by Gary Z McGee

“Do not be too moral. You may cheat yourself out of much life. So aim above morality. Be not simply good; be good for something.”
       Henry David Thoreau

This article is about Nature versus Anti-nature. It’s about Natural Order versus the Great Lie. And it is about how to choose the right side, that is, the healthier side. What is anti-nature? It is the runaway train that we call industrial civilization, which is systematically destroying the world under the false flag of “progress.”
What is the Great Lie? It is the propaganda that has been shoved down our throats all our lives, set in motion by a plutocratic regime that has a greedy stranglehold on the vital resources of the planet. Like Peter Joseph said, “We live in a plutocracy not a democracy, and the only true power is behind the curtain, not in front. The financial and business powers not only own and control this country they own and control the entire planet; and no, it’s not a conspiracy theory. It’s a value-system disorder.”
We inhale what trees exhale, and trees inhale what we exhale. So you see, the tree and us are one.
It’s high time we changed this exploitative value-system. We live in a world where unsustainable civilizations slowly, and violently, deplete the environment of its vitality, all because we’re preached that we have to keep buying things in order to survive. We have to keep consuming beyond our needs. We have to “keep up with the Joneses.”
We must must must have a J.O.B. or we’re a degenerate, or a dirty hippie, or somehow evil. This is all part of the Great Lie. Like Derrick Jensen wrote in Endgame: The Problem of Civilization, “Those in power have made it so we have to pay simply to exist on the planet. We have to pay for a place to sleep, and we have to pay for food. If we don’t, people with guns come and force us to pay. That’s violent… The needs of the natural world are more important than the needs of the economic system.” The violence must stop.
And the Eco Warriors are not waiting around for some bloated windbag in power to make a pathetic attempt at change through petitions and corrupt elections. No, the Eco Warriors are daring to take the wheel of this runaway train and drive it right off its unsustainable tracks.
When a nation favors competition, taking, and hoarding over cooperation, sharing, and gifting, it is approaching spiritual death. When profits are valued over people, money over meaning, entitlement over justice, and ‘us’ over ‘them,’ then we have given into the great lie: that everything is separate and not connected. That everything is a product. That everything has a price-tag on it.
We need to put the “eco” back into economy. It must be people before profits, equality before equity, and the heart before money. We need to return to the ethic of reciprocity: to the Golden Mean, the middle-way, and the Golden Ratio. Otherwise we’re just floundering aimlessly in an immoral, unhealthy, unsustainable system of governance.
We need to ask questions like the wise eco-feminist, Starhawk, asked, “How does my spiritual practice and daily life serve the earth? How does my spiritual practice and daily life affect the poorest third of humanity? How will my spiritual practice and daily life affect the generations to come in the future?”
When the blockbuster movie Avatar was released back in 2009, there was a strange epidemic called “Avatar Blues” that showed a rise in depression and suicidal thoughts. The pundits tried to write it all off as just “utopian wishful thinking,” or “wanting to escape reality.” But I disagree. I think the depression was a genuine response to the giant metaphor the movie represented: that Pandora (Earth) is being destroyed by a greedy corporation that will obtain the “precious” resource unobtainium (oil) at all costs.
It was like a slap in the face. Toruk Makto, the movie’s hero, was a symbol, or archetype, for unified nature against ecocide. Here on planet Earth, Eco Warriors are the personification of this archetype, whereas mega-corporations represent the ecocidal impulse. Just replace Pandora with Earth, unobtainium with Gold/diamonds/oil, the militarized mining company with overreaching corporations, and Toruk Makto with Eco-warrior and the metaphor is complete.
We need a Toruk Makto, a force of unified nature. Hell, we need thousands of them. Like the great Carl Sagan said, “Our species needs, and deserves, a citizenry with minds wide awake and a basic understanding of how the world works.”
As it stands, we have a critical decision to make: proactive responsibility or apathetic indifference? The state perpetuates apathetic indifference. Indeed, it conditions and propagandizes it to no end. We’re either a victim of this propaganda or we’re turning the tables on it. If we wish to transform our apathy into empathy, then we should assume an Eco Warrior disposition.
If we wish to transform our indifference into proactive courage, then we should assume an Eco Warrior temperament. If we wish to transform our unsustainable irresponsibility into sustainable responsibility, then we should assume an Eco Warrior perspective.
Sometimes this means acting amoral in order to bring morality back to an otherwise immoral system. One must act amoral in order to transform the immoral back into the moral. It’s like Isaac Asimov wrote, “Never let your sense of morals get in the way of doing what’s right.”
 “I rebel; therefore we exist.”
 – Albert Camus
Indeed, the amoral agent’s way of taking this world seriously is by disrupting it and then giving it a new form. We amorally rebel; therefore morality exists. In an immoral world we must oppose it amorally in order to compel it to moralize itself. The Eco Warrior is precisely the kind of amoral agent needed to fight against the immoral infrastructure that is destroying the world today.
Let others have their moral high ground; let’s stick with the amoral middle ground and change the world for the better. Like Bertrand Russell suggested, “Find more pleasure in intelligent dissent than in passive agreement, for, if you value intelligence as you should, the former implies a deeper agreement than the latter.” Or from Clarissa Pinkola Estes, “If you have ever been called defiant, incorrigible, forward, cunning, insurgent, unruly, or rebellious, you’re on the right track. If you have never been called these things, there is yet time.”
Despite what you may think, fierceness, fearlessness and ruthlessness are all possible without resorting to violence. So it is with being and becoming an Eco Warrior. The world doesn’t need more trigger-happy militarized crackpots with nationalism and patriotism scrambling their brains into exploitable soup. It needs compassionate Eco-warriors with the courage to challenge the powers-that-be, while also bringing tonality to an otherwise atonal world, using progressively sustainable solutions that show how a new world is possible.
Like Derrick Jensen wrote, “We cannot hope to create a sustainable culture with any but sustainable souls… Love does not imply pacifism.” Only you can transform yourself into a sustainable soul. Tap into your inner Toruk Makto. Be fierce. Be fearless. Be ruthless. Be an Eco Warrior.