11 Jan 2014

Homo sapiens under threat of extinction

Editorial  Lucha Indigena from Hugo Blanco

(Homo sapiens: The hominid species that will go to extinction the fastest)

The oldest known hominid species, Homo habilis, lived from about 1.9 to 1.6 million years ago.  Homo ergaster appeared 1.75 million years ago and disappeared one million years ago.  Homo erectus lived from 1.8 million to 300,000 years ago.
          Our species, Homo sapiens, has existed for hardly 200,000 years and yet is already on the point of disappearing.  This short time-span is due to the fact that we are the only "civilized" hominid and are using this civilization to drive ourselves to extinction, killing off many other plant and animal species in the process.
          "Civilization", in its drive toward "progress" and "development", is making a furious assault on the environment of which -- even if neoliberalism refuses to acknowledge it -- it is a part.  This destruction, termed "man-made" is just that, but those who claim that humanity as a whole is at fault are quite mistaken.  The responsibility lies with the insatiable appetite for profit of the big transnational corporations that rule the world through subservient governments such as those headed by Humala and Obama.  In various ways, these governments are attacking those who seek to defend nature and life.
          The forms of aggression are becoming ever stronger and more varied.  They make use of scientific and technical experts, as seen in the modern us of fracking.  We will mention here some of the assaults: open-pit mining, deforestation, hydroelectric plants, extraction of hydrocarbons, agroindustry, atomic power, and perforation of the ozone layer (which exposes us to harmful ultraviolet radiation).
          Native peoples are in the front line of defense of the environment.  They are the cultural remnants of a collectivist social organization in solidarity with and respect for nature in existence since the origin of our species.  They were already there and living in this natural way before the rise of individualist "civilization".
          This defense is coming to embrace more and more sectors of humanity as it finds itself face to face with the real danger of extinction.  These sectors include scientists, who are coming to see that the only effective way to defend our environment is through collective mobilization.  In actively joining the struggle, some scientists have already suffered repression by governments in the service of predatory capital.
          Big capital's most dangerous attack and one linked most closely to the looming extinction of humanity is global warming of the atmosphere, fostered by massive emissions of greenhouse gases: carbon dioxide (CO2), methane (CH4), nitrous oxide (N2O) and others.
          Part of the sun's heat that strikes the planet's surface is absorbed, while the rest is reflected back into space.  Greenhouse gases cause more of this heat to be retained in the atmosphere, which in turn alters the natural climatic cycles.  This gives rise to droughts, flooding, hurricanes, colder winters and hotter summers, melting of the polar ice caps and mountain glaciers, drying up of streams and ponds, narrowing of rivers, rising sea levels, death of the marine plankton that feeds fishes and other animals, vegetations loss, etc.
          Lately a great danger has become apparent.  The loss of arctic ice due to global warming is leading to yet greater warming.  This occurs because the decreased reflection of the sun's rays by the white ice allows more heat to be absorbed at the Earth's surface.
          And it can have even graver consequences.  Massive quantities of methane are now trapped below the arctic ice.  This gas causes much greater greenhouse effects than any other, so that its release into the atmosphere will accelerate the warming trend.
          As if to aggravate the danger, the petroleum companies that are the main culprits in this situation have expressed satisfaction at the melting of the Arctic, as it makes it easier to drill for oil.  This will in turn give rise to even greater methane emissions into the atmosphere and thus increased warming.  This destructive effect is of no concern to the companies, whose sole interest is their profits, not the survival of the human race.
          This criminal voracity is evident not only in the corporations, themselves.  We see it also in meetings on climate change organized by the United Nations and dominated by governments in the service of the big global warmers.  In these meetings there is no agreement to reduce greenhouse gas emissions.  Rather, they discuss how to profit from climate change.  We had a demonstration of this recently in the Warsaw meeting, in which we saw the imposition of big capital's will even more clearly than in previous meetings.  We also see how this extremely grave topic is played down by the mass news media, which serve as big capital's mouthpiece.
          This year, 2014, the international meeting on global warming will take place in Lima, Peru.  Does anyone believe that Ollanta Humala, the parliament, the mass media or the "political class" will speak truth on this occasion?  To their shame, they would all prefer to kneel submissively before their masters' drive for profits.  We call on the people to demonstrate their respect for the environment and their repudiation of the genocidal criminals and their servants.
          We hope that humanity will be able to wrest power from the hands of big capital, so that we can govern ourselves collectively, taking loving care of Mother Nature, while of course preserving and furthering all positive advances of civilization in a way that does no harm to the planet.
          This is the only alternative to the approaching extinction of the human species, Homo sapiens.

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