We are the Peril – and We are the Pearl


Humanities advance is accompanied by ever greater destructiveness. We relate growth with increasing technological prowess – often militant in nature. Yet despite appearances, humanity at its essence is not dominated by material things but by ideas.  


It is for ideas that lives are willingly laid down, nations built up, and many a fulfilling life’s work discovered. But these are challenging times for ideas when the web culture consists principally of reacting to, rejecting, and piling onto other people’s ideas instead of generating one’s own. Within the largest exchange of words in history, we are saying less and less of import and substance. It seems humanity is all out of large inspiring ideas, leaving us bereft of hope -the most potent of fuels for the human spirit.  


We face the most incredible peril humans are ever likely to confront – ourselves – and our outrageously acute exploitation of the natural world for the love of commerce. Large corporations are accelerating demand for meat and dairy, causing accelerated deforestation of the Amazon. Felling majestic forests to make land available for soybeans and corn – cheap animal fodder. Land that without the trees is nutrient-poor and loses productivity quickly. Creating a cycle of slash and burn agriculture where forested land is constantly destroyed for short-term profit. Palm Oil companies mechanically scythe and burn virgin forest at alarming and clearly unsustainable rates in the tropics. It’s a heartache, nothing but a heartache.


Destroying forests is such a stupid thing to do at this stage of human history it is unimaginable that any thinking person agrees it is a way forward for humanity. 


Because corporations are just piles of money to which investors have sold their souls, they can’t be reasoned with. There is no heart or conscience to appeal to – they are answerable only to their shareholders. All-consuming greed and deepest fear drive shareholders to seek ever more financial security – as illusory as security is in a warming world. 


Corporation eco rape will never end of its own volition; enough is never enough for the few and the very few, who dwell at the top of the money and insecurity pyramid. 


The difficulties and dangers life-on-Earth faces will not be solved by closing our eyes, ignoring them, and hoping they go away. However, though the word crisis is aptly applied – there is a flicker of hope. Crisis, has a second meaning – it also means opportunity, a chance or occasion to alter direction. Let’s do that!


Most troubles are worse in the prior period of gnawing contemplation than in fact. Nothing about the climate crisis points to it turning out to be more benign than expected. Sadly, the opposite is likely – a turbulent cascade of intense suffering, privations, hollowing fear, death, and overarching heartache. 


Accepting that crisis also means opportunity can be invigorating. History demonstrates hope restored, and hope burning in the human heart, fanned, and inflamed through action, is enough, and more than enough. Humans rise to challenges, endure, and prosper even in crushing adversity through the sparkling luminescence of our invigorated spirit. Our spirit becomes an unquenchable torch lighting our way when its burning with conviction and hope. 


We have opportunity right here and now, shining, and radiant – To dawdle, trifle or turn away will bring on us inescapable, long, and bitter self-reproaches through ever-darkening tomorrows.  


Corporations don’t have a heart, but many of their investors do – we need to make appeals to them to engage their conscience when investing. Their desire for financial security should not be costing us the Earth.


We need to be aware our values matter little to them, and that’s fair enough; we should not waste opportunities attempting to impose them. However, we should ask them to take careful note of their own values and conscience when choosing investments.


Addressing our fellow human beings who invest in corporations is an important task; however, that is not our most vital strategy. Corporations are most interested and closely attentive to three things, their sales volume, market share, and profit margins. By collectively and consistently directing our purchases away from the most destructive corporations and switching out their brands for others who cause less eco-damage, we gain a voice and a virtual but decisive vote in the boardroom. 


Ultimately, consumers’ support of brands allows corporations to bloat into the monsters they have become. Corporations have made it nearly impossible for consumers to know how corrupted and deliberately eco-careless favorite brands have become. They feast off our purchases – we are their sole source of income. 


To make your opposition to deforestation for stock feed count, eliminate or use much less dairy. Alternatively, only purchase from smaller dairy farms practicing regenerative farming.  


Eat less or preferably no meat – at a minimum only purchase genuinely regenerative grass-fed, not from the large feed-lot farms. 


Choose products that don’t use palm oil. 


Doing so will complicate shopping because so many products contain palm oil. 


People are generally shocked that many of the bright and cheerful brands they have loved long are, in fact, utterly irresponsible and eco-destructive at the back end. These big brands advertise cheerfully, greenwashing and virtue signaling frantically to keep us from knowing how unethical and dishonorable they are willing to be to win. They allow ethics to slip to retain our patronage, and they will do the other; they will do right when our purchasing pattens demand it. 


The beauty and skin care industries are major palm oil industries, read labels.


If we do these three things: cut out or reduce dairy, cut out or reduce meat consumption and switch out brands that use palm oil, we stop being helpless pawns and start making the significant difference we want.


It is said humans exploit what they merely value – but save that which they love. Do you value the tiny blue dot in space that is our home, or do you love her? The answer is evidenced by our actions. 


Are we to be peril or pearl?