Thursday, November 26 , 2015, 1:47 pm | Fair 60º

Wayne Mellinger: Welcome to the Anthropocene — How Humans Are Changing Earth

By Wayne Mellinger |

We often make distinctions between human and nature. The social construction of this dichotomy has been one of the defining features of modernity.

Human-induced climate change is forcing us to rethink this foundational assumption. We no longer can separate the world into two opposing categories — one labeled “nature” and one labeled “human.” Humans are intimately intertwined with nature, and the illusion of their separation cannot be sustained.

Changes in the atmosphere affect not just the weather but our oceans, our lands and all living beings. Everything is linked to the cycles and processes of the Earth.

Humans have transformed the Earth in innumerable ways — not just climate, but land surfaces, waterways and species extinction.

Welcome to the Anthropocene — the new geological epoch that Earth scientists have recently declared to acknowledge the massive human imprint on the global environment. This marks the end of the Holocene, the 10,000-year period of climatic stability that allowed “civilization” to flourish.

The separation between humans and nature leads to social justice and environmental movements having separate and distinct goals and histories. The emergence of the Anthropocene necessitates that we see their common purpose.

Both social justice and environmental approaches are concerned with exploitation and our struggles to free ourselves from abuse.

Moreover, both social justice and ecological concerns must move forward together as the exploitation of human entails the exploitation of nature.

As Paul Hawken states: “Slaves, serfs and the poor are the forests, soils and oceans of society; each constitute surplus value that has been exploited repeatedly by those in power, whether governments or multinational corporations.”

Our future depends on how we understand and care for these vital resources — our natural environment and our human population.

Every thread of our being is interwoven with the environment and how we treat one another is reflected on our planet, just as how we treat our planet is reflected in our physical and mental well-being. Nature is our body, and we must remain in step if we are not to die.

— Wayne Mellinger, Ph.D., is a social justice activist living in Santa Barbara and social worker for the homeless. He is on the board of Clergy and Laity United for Economic Justice (CLUE).

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» on 02.19.13 @ 12:46 PM

Ok Wayno, you seem like a nice guy, but you never answered the question in your title. You do launch into a very contorted effort to tie AGW to the new Orwellian doublespeak for Marxism, “social justice”.

For those of you untrained in the whacko new liberal speak let me illuminate you. The word “communism”, which describes the economic system where the state owns and runs everything, can’t be used anymore because it conjures up visions of Stalinist Soviet gulags, repressed urban populations and starving rural peoples, homosexuals being rounded up and shot along with intellectuals and just about all the types of people who call themselves “liberals” today. Yikes! Doesn’t bring happy thoughts to the masses!

So commie is out. Thank God the Europeans came up with another word for it, “socialism” which describes a privately owned government controlled economy. Ok, for those who are smart enough, if you own it but don’t control it then you really don’t own it. But the idea of happy white European intellectuals working half as much as their American counterparts, cradle to grave nanny coddling by their benevolent bureaucratic tyranny and perpetual upper middle class life style and whamo, it’s the new word for the old commie.

Well the site of riots in France, Greece, Italy and Spain as the socialist empires went bankrupt one after the other, roving gangs of chronically unemployed youth burning cars, disillusioned dark skinned immigrants threatening a hostile take over and suddenly “socialism” began to take on a less desirable connotation.

Well leave it to the well trained propagandists at our indoctrination ministries, formerly known as universities, to come up with yet another catch phrase to endear the ignorant masses to the same old pig with a new lip gloss, “social justice”. Social justice means, take from those who have and give to those who don’t. Level the material playground, no matter how useless and worthless a human being you are, you get the same as everyone else. Don’t want to work hard? No worries some idiot will do it for you.

It’s still the same old tired communism, the state, run by weak and pathetic bureaucrats, those who in a real world would die from uselessness, decide who gets what. There is no incentive to do better because there is no reward when you do. Ok, I get it Wayno, I don’t like to see pirates, looters, gamblers and pillagers getting away with looting our private economy anymore than I like the government doing it. I prefer a private economy held by altruists and builders, those who dream big about their ideas and set about to do them and get stinking rich while enriching all of us getting it done.

But Wayne, everything you dopy communist do to punish the vile selfish greedy looters also punishes the good guys and all the rest of us as well. In fact the left, the liberal, the progressive in our society has an unbelievable attachment to making sure all suffer equally.

As for your equally idiotic attempt to link your new lip stick to AGW, give it up and get yer ass back to school.

» on 02.19.13 @ 03:40 PM

That post illustrates the adage, “To those whose only tool is a hammer, all the world’s a nail.” Including his own head, apparently.

» on 02.19.13 @ 07:58 PM

“A social justice activist:

If this is not an example of Owellian doublespeak, I don’t know what is. I guess this is a convoluted way of saying that he wants to expropriate my income for causes he deems worthy.

» on 02.20.13 @ 12:54 PM

Noleta, your response is the definition of “non-sequitur”.

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