Even before Covid, or the war in Ukraine, I came to the realization that humanity is doomed. In the book The Uninhabitable Earth, the author comes to the optimistic conclusion that there is hope for people to extend their ability to live on Earth through immediate radical government, and corporate change. I use the word “extend” because the damage we’ve already done will eventually end humanity, no matter what. The author of The End of Nature called for that radical change to begin in 1989. I even wrote lyrics for a song about it back in 1992, called “Dead World.” I look at the way people behave right now, and have to say we’re too greedy, stupid, and lazy to do what’s necessary to make life remain as stable as it is currently.
As a person living in the Pacific Northwest, I live with yet another reminder of the fragility of our current quality of life. We are long overdue for the catastrophic Cascadian Subduction Zone earthquake. Yet, here I remain, as I love it in Portland, even knowing at any second the building I’m in could crush me. Neither my home, nor my workplace, is built to withstand a serious earthquake. I’m far enough away from the ocean to possibly survive. However, there is a school on the coast of Oregon, in a place where there will be no time to evacuate the students to safety. See what I mean about humanity being too stupid to do what is necessary? As Covid has shown us, any combination of disasters, natural or man-made, could spell the end of our current consumer lifestyle at any time. Or possibly, the end of all life, period.
Now what? Well, what I do is try to hold on to our fragile lifestyle, while enjoying what moments of pleasure I can. Simple pleasures. Spending time with the woman I love, making art, seeing a movie (on film) in the theater, reading a good book, petting a cat, having a drink in a comfortable bar. I’m not buying crap I don’t need, I’m not flying without a damn good reason, I’m not buying a new car. Those are the lies that we’ve been fed by corporations, supported by our government, that have put us in this mess. Don’t add to the damage. Love someone, if you can. Spend time with friends, or family. Do things in the place you live that you enjoy, and every time you realize that you’re experiencing the pleasures of life, take notice of it. This is why, in those moments, Kurt Vonnegut suggested we say “If this isn’t nice, I don’t know what is.” Drink it up. Because after the fall, all the bars will be closed.