On Saturday’s edition of The Thom Hartmann Program, progressive radio host Thom Hartmann questioned the idea that humanity itself is responsible for climate change and the destruction of the natural world, arguing instead that the true problem is capitalism and the “dysfunctional” paradigm of unlimited consumption.
First, a guest who called into Hartmann’s show served up some food for thought. He shared a list of ways that the personal angst about the current sixth mass extinction and the potential collapse of civilization in the next couple of decades can be used for good.
Don’t turn the anger inwards. Fight back by standing up for the native flora and fauna that our species is destroying. Planting trees, defending native wildlife is another thing. Beware of going into too much weed, too much booze, too many anti-depressants. Number 3: extreme exercise – not just walking, I’m glad you guys walk – but raising your heart rate up enough to get your endorphins and dopamine system engaged. Number 4: find affinity groups. Number 5: give voice to the voiceless. Number 6: recognize that as the Buddha said, life is suffering. There’s no way around it and embrace your grief, your mourning, your anger, and your sadness about what our species has done to this world. That’s how I cope.
While Hartmann agreed that the gentleman’s advice was “brilliant,” he offered a slightly different perspective – that human beings have strayed from our relationship with the Earth.
“I do not believe that what we are doing is human nature. I believe that what we are living in is a highly dysfunctional culture and that history – particularly paleo history demonstrates, and tribal people are still alive today that we can learn directly from – demonstrates to us that humans do have the ability to live in a way that is sustainable and that is in balance and in harmony with our natural environment. We have that ability built into us. We just have to keep learning the lesson to get there,” he said, alluding to various instances in the past where societies have exhausted their region’s resources and were forced to revise their relationship with nature.
Because of that, Hartmann continued, he is optimistic about “charting a new course” for the future – if we choose to.
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Brandon is a political writer for the Hill Reporter specializing in current events, breaking news, and scientific discovery. Brandon holds a Bachelor of Music degree from Indiana University. He lives in New York City.