On Amazon Fires: It’s the Ecology Stupid

Global Ecological Sustainability depends critically upon ending the logging and burning of old forests and letting them recover, expand and reconnect

“Each act of cutting and burning old trees diminishes and contributes to the pending collapse of the biosphere… The cutting and burning of old forests ends, as a prominent aspect of the coming Great Transition required for equitable and just global ecological sustainability, or together we all needlessly die .”

Dr. Glen Barry

Old trees in old growth forests power the biosphere
Old trees in old growth forests power the biosphere

A particularly malignant social and ecological disease sprung forth upon the Earth several centuries ago. A central component of European colonialism was the pernicious, ecocidal belief that wide scale cutting and burning of natural ecosystems was desirable. Indeed, cutting and burning natural ecosystems defined “civilization” and made the Western worldview superior to heathen naturalism.

This pantheon to “development” was created around murdering natural ecosystems and their inhabitants, which continues to be pursued with religious intensity. Enormous temporary growth and wealth were accumulated by some through the wholesale liquidation of vast expanses of naturally evolved life. Generations of children were born and indoctrinated into the fallacy that ecosystems existed to be cut and burnt and had no intrinsic worth.

In fact, as multitudes of indigenous cultures intimately understood, humanity is completely dependent upon natural ecosystem habitats to meet all our needs. Food, water, air, shelter, medicines, spirituality and more derive from old forests and old trees.

Humans and all life need naturally evolved ecosystems to exist and prosper. We are part of and utterly dependent upon the web of life found in the ecology of old forests and other natural habitats.

Yet we have derived an economic system of growth dependent upon their clearing. At a certain scale such habitat destruction could occur without impacting climate, soil, precipitation, and other ecological processes. Yet increasingly over recent decades landscapes, bioregions, and increasingly the global system are being thrown into disarray as terrestrial ecosystem processes and patterns are disturbed and ultimately eliminated.

Critical thresholds whereby natural ecosystems become disconnected, and are islands of habitat surrounded by devastation, have been surpassed. Abrupt climate change, lack of drinking water, soil infertility, dead oceans – all are contributed to by loss and diminishment of terrestrial ecosystems.

This European spawned disease of over-development, since embraced by many others, threatens an uninhabitable hell on Earth. Tremendous suffering awaits us all and has already begun as climate weirding, ecosystem collapse, food and water shortages, and authoritarian responses destroy centuries of progress. Ill-gotten wealth from ecosystem liquidation has enabled unsustainable growth in human populations and inequitable over-consumption.

Each act of cutting and burning old trees diminishes and contributes to the pending collapse of the biosphere. Continued clearing of old forests inexorably leads to the end of being.

The Amazon rainforest, along with a handful of other forest wildernesses in Africa, Canada, the Congo, Russia, and New Guinea, contain the last intact, contiguous terrestrial ecosystems that provide ecosystem services driving global ecological sustainability. These naturally evolved large-scale ecosystems contain a complex panoply of life that in sum power the biosphere and make Earth habitable. And at a smaller scale remnant habits along rivers, in wetlands, forest fragments, and even individual large trees continue to provide habitat for all life including humans.

Yet despite all that science has re-learned regarding the importance of natural ecosystems for biodiversity, ecosystems, and climate; these last planetary ecological engines continue to be sacrificed on the alter of mammon in an orgiastic spasm of ecological cruelty and derangement.

Ecology is the meaning of life (not development).

It is ludicrous to log old trees found in millions of year-old natural ecosystems. It is abnormal and a self-fulfilling death wish. Think of the suffering of wildlife as they are consumed by flames or die from lack of habitat.

sebastian liste amazon fires brazil 10 1
Amazon rainforest fires threaten Brazilian and global well-being

Cutting and burning are both a cause and a symptom of the disease consuming the Amazon. Rainforests are cleared for agriculture using fire, and the resultant micro-climate changes, particularly along exposed rainforest edges, make otherwise moist regions more prone to burning.

The current burning of the Amazon is the logical consequence of a wicked worldview’s pernicious logging of tropical hardwoods and clearing of land for agricultural expansion. And most of this destruction is to feed the markets of the over-developed world which have already decimated their own natural systems.

You can make a difference in protecting the Amazon and other old forests. Your hunger for soy, beef, and timber are ultimately the cause of Amazon’s fires. Eliminate these rainforest destroying products from your life. For centuries settlers have threatened indigenous communities. Working as an ally to support indigenous land tenure is perhaps the most important thing you can do to help stop the Amazon fires. And work to support ecological restoration and regenerative agriculture in the Amazon and on all degraded lands including those near you.

Entire criminal sectors have made some powerful interests rich, and provide temporary employment for workers growing soybeans, milling logs, and cattle ranching. Yet all such extractive enterprises based upon clearing millions of year old natural ecosystems ultimately prove tragically unsustainable in the mid-to-long term.

The collapse of natural ecosystems is made more tragic by a whole lecherous NGO sector greenwashing particular types of rainforest logging or farming as being “sustainable”. Should a hell exist other than in Amazonian infernos, a special place is reserved for such traitors to the Earth and ecological truth. You know who you are, shame on you.

Around the world social protest movements are emerging, strengthening, and coalescing into more than the sum of their parts; to demand democratic, just, equitable, and sustainable social change. Only through such a Great Transition can the global environment be sustained, and all enjoy freedom and decent livelihoods. Crucially, protest movements are emerging that acknowledge that the climate, biodiversity, and ecosystems crises are one and the same.

A central demand of those seeking ecology truths must be that all logging and cutting of old trees found in natural habitats end immediately. And that an age of ecological restoration be embraced with all haste to reestablish mature natural habitats across the majority of Earth’s surface.

Entire industries feeding themselves upon the trough of global ecocide must be dismantled; and replaced with eco-enterprises based upon regenerative agriculture and allowing natural ecosystems to age and reconnect. There exists tremendous potential for good livelihoods built upon restoring natural forests, soils, wetlands, and waterways. All of which will prove important in restoring our global atmosphere by slowing climate change as well.

It is morally wrong to kill old trees.

The cutting and burning of old forests ends, as a prominent aspect of the coming Great Transition required for equitable and just global ecological sustainability, or together we all needlessly die.

I beseech you to dedicate yourself to living a life that does not consume products produced by burning and cutting old forests and other natural ecosystems. And commit yourself to restoring habitats, indigenous well-being, and sustainable agriculture. Do so as if your and all life depend upon it. It does.

Dr. Glen Barry is the President and Founder of Ecological Internet (EI). He is recognized internationally by the environmental movement as a leading global visionary, ecological policy critic and public intellectual committed to communicating the severity of global ecological crises – and related justice, rights and equity issues – while actively organizing with others sufficient solutions. This article originally appeared in  http://ecointernet.org/

Originally published in Ecointernet.org




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