Earth Day (April 30 edition) is yet another theme from the film ‘Doctor Strange Love’, perpetuating the illusion that we are making a difference – in this instance, not to prevent a nuclear holocaust, but to save the planet. Communities across the continent stage social events to help erase their collective guilt that we are all trashing the earth.
Any commodity can be labelled green by spin doctors or marketers. The green revolution – hijacked by corporate advertising – has capitalized on our guilt of over-consumption and twisted it to read that buying more is good, providing it is stamped with some earth-saving logo.
Each generation emerges and another passes without learning to avoid the calamities of the past. Even the 1960s hippie culture that shunned the materialism of its post-war parents eventually reverted to accumulating monster homes and driving BMWs. Wealth continues to be mistaken as the gold standard for personal well-being.
Evangelical environmentalists like David Suzuki and Elizabeth May have warned for decades of what has now become clearly evident. Our global markets teeter on every minor instability. The increasing frequency of natural and anthropogenic disasters, war, and social uprising around the globe could easily cause a stock market crash second only to that of the great depression.
Science, technology, and personal will alone will not save the planet. But a change in human behaviour will.
Concepts such as behaviour modification must be considered when arriving at solutions to reverse global collapse. Our conservative mantra – “Economic growth, jobs, and prosperity require increased consumer confidence and exploration of raw resources” – equates prosperity not with “quality of life”, but with “wealth”, which comes at a cost: fossil-fuel consumption, extreme weather events, global insecurity, and stock market crashes.
Earth Day is a capitalist panacea to help erase our collective guilt and bolster our consumer culture’s insane drive to buy more. Materialism fills the void left by superficial human relationships and our alienation to the natural world.
Earth Day should not be a time of celebration but a day of reflection.
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