Hope And Practical Action Against The Odds: The IPCC Report, 5 Irreplaceable Beings On This Planet, And Permaculture

CS Sherin, Oct 23, 2018, updated 3-27-2019

Photo by Kyle Ellefson on Unsplash

by CS Sherin
October 23, 2018, updated 3.27.2019

Ten years ago, in 2008, an article was published outlining that insects are an absolute necessity to the survival of life on our planet. The article reported that:

17,000 species are now considered to be threatened with extinction and 869 species are classed as extinct or extinct in the wild on the International Union for Conservation of Nature’s Red List. In the last year alone 183 species became more endangered. ~ Gray, Richard; Science Correspondent. “The animals and plants we cannot live without”

The article goes on to name five animals identified by “five leading scientists” as those that the Earth simply cannot do without: primates, bats, bees, fungi, and plankton.

That was 10 years ago. Things aren’t exactly getting better. The latest IPCC report says that we have about 12 years to change the ominous path we are on environmentally, which will impact every part of our lives, including the price of beer.

In 2015, an article published on LiveScience by Adam Hadhazy explained what would happen “If All of Earth’s Insects Keeled Over.” The short answer is that life on Earth would not be able to survive, everything would die without insects.

The article goes on to explain (with the help of a professor of Entomology and Evolutionary Biology at University of AZ, Goggy Davidowitz) that there would be no honey or silk, and people would go hungry, even without pesticides, because almost all of our foods are pollinator-based.

Primates, one of 5 species the Earth cannot do without. Photo by Andre Mouton on Unsplash

Not to mention that insects, bacteria, and fungi (along with vultures and ravens) diligently recycle Earth’s decaying materials.

While our culture seems to have an ironic obsession with dystopian storylines in movies and books, the reality is that no one wants this. Let me rephrase: no one who is sane and appreciative of life and love wants this. Maybe we can’t and don’t want utopia for some reason, but how about a non-corrupt, mainly healthy society? How about simply a functional and generally healthy plot for life on Earth for once?

As much as humans disrespect, fear, hate, and otherwise find nuisance with insects, the truth is, insects are integral to a sustainable health and balance for life on Earth.

Bats, one of 5 species the Earth cannot do without. Photo by Thomas Lipke on Unsplash

While discouraging, the difficult news from the IPCC report is really an opportunity to act for essential positive change.

We don’t know how this will all actually play out. So, let’s keep going, on this crazy up and down roller coaster ride, and do what we can when we can, for as long as we can.

Corporations and others orchestrating their abuse of power and control for too long have been dead-set on destructive, cruel, corrupt, toxic, and generally unsustainable means and systems. Those in political office are mostly funded by those whose interests objectify and monetize life with a near to complete corruption of standards for pollution, sustainability, and stewardship of habitats, life, and precious resources. The current Republican administration, led by Trump and Pence, is a prime example of this. We have been manipulated and used for many generations, and the end game seems to be in sight.

Voting in these midterms is essential. That is a first step in our immediate future. Vote for people, the environment, health, education, animals, and civil rights for all.

Current news and scientific reports regarding resources, pollution, habitats, and species extinction gets worse and worse. Plastic pollution is so far-reaching and so microscopically saturated within our Earth now, that plastic particles are found in salt, plankton, and nearly all water sources. In addition, countless bee species are facing extinction or are seriously threatened, as well as birds, butterflies, and essential others.

Bees, one of 5 species the Earth cannot do without. Photo by suagr w on Unsplash

Germany reported a study in 2017 that in their most protected and healthy places of nature, insects are vanishing by more than 75%. This is not only alarming and tragic, it sounds hopeless. It sounds like we have gone too far, and that we may live to see the collapse of life on this planet.

But, it doesn’t have to be this way at all. There is still time to change and turn things around.

I must insist: there is practical, concrete hope!

There is reason to believe that we, the people, can bring healing and regeneration to this Earth and to precious resources, habitats, and human communities. How?

Voting is first.

Second, create daily habits and make daily choices that invest in sustainability and health. Invest in what gives you hope, and new ways of operating.

Third, is a divestment from the current mainstream lifestyle in favor of more holistic and grassroots approaches. Specifically, there is a great solution that is practical, highly adaptable, and concrete. It has been demonstrated over and over with thriving results — even on land that has been stripped and depleted! Restorative Permaculture can be applied in various ways according to need and specific situations. It can be applied in all forms and types of gardening and farming, with an adherence to biodiversity and organic methods.

For example, look at the “before and after” examples from the Permaculture Research Institute. Consistent and impressive evidence is there that reveals that stripped land can be regenerated and brought back. There is no doubt, restorative Permaculture is an answer that can work for urban or rural situations.

A Permaculture illustration by Felix Muller. Creative Commons license.

We need to divorce ourselves from mindless consumption, waste, and toxic polluting in every way possible — together and alone, personally and by holding the big players accountable whenever we can.

A particularly inspiring example of the power of Permaculture is the transformation of desolate land by the hand of one person, at the Beltaine Cottage.

There are also movements going on right now that work to create community gardens in urban food deserts, which empowers children, the poor and those on the fringes due to systemic discrimination.

There is no great need for industrial/corporate factory farming. They say that there are “too many people and not enough food.” The truth is that more food is wasted, rather than there not being enough. The problem is the mindless wasteful consumerist lifestyle, and the approach of industrial farming which disregards any respect for life, health or biodiversity. That is what creates lack and destruction.

Part of the answer is to employ many small and local operations, with which to feed locals. Greenhouses and root cellars need to be created and accessible on a larger scale for colder climates too. Our yards (commercial and residential) need to be hospitable to pollinators, Permaculture (food forests), and community gardening. Practices of grass lawns and ongoing pesticides and herbicides and copious amounts of watering to maintain it needs to stop. Ordinances and policies need to be changed at the local level and regional level. Improving water quality is possible. New discoveries and technologies will also help.

There are dedicated people around the world who are contributing to healthier and more just ways, as we speak. There are brilliant people in this world applying themselves in order to invent or discover answers to help the planet and life on it. Maybe you are one of them?

There is a great need for us to recognize, too, that some inventions already exist, and we aren’t using them because of corruption, lack of fair wages, and broken systems.

We need to vote out those who choose destructive, oppression, and heartache for our planet’s future, and then get to the work of establishing better pathways and habits.

We, as a global collective of humans, need to insist upon restorative approaches to everything, while quickly mitigating the damage already done. We need to discipline ourselves to invest in a different future.

One of the five animals identified by “five leading scientists” as those that the Earth simply cannot do without: Plankton. Map of the Distribution of Plankton Globally, Wikimedia, PD.

At the heart of it, and where our grassroots power to move forward is, is this: divest from what is wrong, and invest in permaculture, community gardens, time and effort to elect local officials who have integrity, invest in renewable long-term plans like hemp crops.

We must divest from the corporations, organizations, politicians, and practices that recklessly continue to contribute to destruction and harm of our ecosystems and collective health.

Fungi, one of 5 species the Earth cannot do without. Photo by Søren Astrup Jørgensen on Unsplash

May we actively recognize and value that which has been demonized, belittled, and maligned because of our own fears and cultural programming — starting with insects.

Each day is an opportunity to choose thoughts, habits and actions that are more aligned with positive, life-giving change. Each day is an opportunity to support and protect insects, water, pollinators, and our collective health in ways that are realistic and doable. It may require changing direction on some things. It may require giving some things up. Yet, we are all in this together. Let’s be relentless in our dedication to ethics and compassion and see where it takes us.

In general, it is never too late to begin.

And, even if it were “too late,” (they say we have 12 years to effect the change we need) our positive actions, kindness, and conscious choices are never wasted!

Every one of us is important and needed, more than ever. We are not alone. We are in this together. Let’s give it our best, persist, and see how the roller coaster ride turns out — together.

CS Sherin, Recipe For A Green Life 2018© Please feel free to share this article–in its entirety with author, source credit, and this copyright notice–on social media and for non-commercial educational purposes only. 

Author of "Recipe For A Green Life," C.S. Sherin, MA, honors life, relationships, and the sacred through storytelling, poetry, art, and photography. C.S. also creates engaging educational content across genres; and provides expert editing, research, and proofreading services. WildClover.org is the online polestar for C.S.'s creative expertise and services. You can also find CS on IG and Medium @cs_sherin, and on Twitter @windywildclover

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