In light of the death of nature, I believe that we have only three options.
The first option is to do nothing: ignore the warning signs and continue on the path of reckless consumerism. Under this model, we simply keep living our lives, building our careers and believing that everything will be fine. We place our faith in the corporations and the American way of life.
The second option is largely the same as the first but it appeals to liberal-minded environmentalists. This is the so-called “green capitalism” option whereby we keep consuming but we make ourselves feel better by purchasing “green” products. Ultimately, this path only appeals to the very rich who can afford to shop organic, buy hybrids, use bamboo flooring and follow the latest corporate endorsed trends.
In the end, these two options are basically the same. They refuse to accept the need for a dramatic reduction in First World standards of living. As such, they are not options at all because they merely ensure the extinction of nature. These two options guarantee that when the collapse happens it will bring an ecological dictatorship. Both “green capitalism” and consumerism, in their refusal to endorse a spiritual turn-around, lay the foundations for eco-tyranny.
The third option is to immediately take the threat of ecological collapse seriously and to re-organize society around confronting that threat. This requires a fundamental change in the goals of society: an end to economic development, to the acquisition of things, to the desecration of the earth. And it requires an essential shift in the nature of humanity: a moral and spiritual uprising against the soul poisoning of advertising. This option is the only viable alternative to eco-tyranny. It asks the most of us, but it is also the only way to prevent an authoritarian post-apocalyptic society.
Some believe that averting ecological catastrophe may no longer be possible. Regardless of whether this is true–after all, how could we know?–the best strategy may be to assume that the tipping point has already occurred and that preventative measures are no longer sufficient.
Instead, what is needed now is a frank discussion about what will happen the day after. If all we can imagine is that it will be a terrible dictatorship of violence, then we must immediately begin the process of initiating a spiritual revolution, an inner-insurrection that lays the foundation for an egalitarian post-consumerist society.