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Planet of Cannibals – State of the World Op-Ed

April 23, 2008

After watching the PBS/National Geographic special: Strange Days on Planet Earth

I tried to remember what kind of educational preparation I received ages ago. I was taught to memorize boring charts about how US Government was arranged. Whitewashed snippets about American History and how wonderful we were, how awful the American Indians were and how brave we were in battle. Charts about the table of elements. Progressively more complex versions of Mathematics and English. There were some fun subjects, too. Being overly sensitive, introspective, I gobbled up all the artistic courses, music, art and theater. Those fun courses triggered my mind to return to inquire deeper into how things really work. The science of music, philosophy and art led back to more academic interests. Taking responsibility for my own actions was a slow revelation, just like my peers. Never was it made clear, the global impact my personal actions would make. I was a traveler within the ME GENERATION. Everything had a social context. Materialism was a vehicle to social success. Life’s purpose was to die with the most toys. Even though I never bought in to that concept fully, I grew up in that environment. Like my peers, I took a lot for granted.

I was fortunate enough to be in an academically advanced and progressive school system that prepared, even its marginal students, for college. We were taught to be educated consumers.

At no time was global or environmental consciousness addressed. Political and economic consciousness was emphasized at all times. Patriotism was natural, after all, we were still taught to be American snobs. We were the elite of our species because we were Americans. Yes, there is a lot to be proud of , because Americans were encouraged to think ‘out of the box’ and be innovative. What we were never taught is accepting the consequences of our actions. There is also a lot of history Americans need to be reminded of that is nothing to be proud of. Schools should at least balance their teaching of American history with the “rest of the story” and the consequences.

Back to the National Geographic/PBS program I watched. The condition of the world today is a direct result of the consequences of human elitist behavior. As my generation became more difficult to entertain, we focused our energy on consuming more energy and more material. The more, the faster the better. The ME GENERATION has gone too far. We have become cannibals by consuming our own planet. Western cultures can complain all they want about inconveniences we face, like energy prices, food prices and job loss. We can see our own future unfold in less fortunate areas of the world. Their complaints are at the basic survival level. The western world now faces the fact that it’s smug superiority is too fragile to survive the consumer mentality it has created. Americans, specifically, will be lost without the basic conveniences they take for granted like electricity, showers, flushing toilets, air conditioning, jumping into a gasoline driven vehicle and “running down to the store”.

Cannibalizing our planet has already done damage not reversible in our lifetime. Trashing our only water supply has reduced our options, not to mention other species that depend on the same planet.

Whether or not Mother Nature is experiencing another “natural or unnatural cycle” is not the point at all. Humans have made it harder for humans to exist as a species. If humans don’t learn their lesson and take corrective measures, cockroaches and rodents will always be there to greet the next new species this planet decides to experiment with.

Cross Posted on BlueBloggin

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