Julian Langer / Deep Green Resistance UK
I woke up this morning to find my social media feed awash with David Bowie mourners, with too many articles on the subject to count. His death also featured on TV stations and the airwaves. Bowie is an icon within the industry of 20th and 21st century capitalism, arguably unmatched in terms of following, creativity and cultural impact. He undeniably had great talent. But, how can this culture place such disproportionate emphasis on the death of one man, relative to far more pressing issues?
The spectacle of this culture covers up a greater state of loss, with not even a tiny fraction of the attention paid to Bowie's death given to matters of planetary life and death. These are just a few of the environmental and technology articles I found today with repercussions far greater than those from the death of one celebrity, no matter how popular:
- Plans to build 450 huge hydroelectric dams in the Amazon, Meking and Congo could have a drastic effect on biodiversity, with a potential loss of 1/3 of this planets fresh water fish population.
- Pesticides, global warming, and the loss of tree populations have put butterfly populations in great jeopardy.
- Due to fracking the American west has gone through "a millennium’s worth of earthquakes in two years," with Oklahoma experiencing 585 quakes in 2014, not to mention the awful impacts on water quality in the affected areas.
- Elon Musk, among other tech-industry executives, is backing an artificial intelligence company, under the notion that advancing digital intelligence will most benefit humanity. Just yesterday I read an article in Forbes on our technology culture producing new, worrying issues in the philosophical study of ethics, with particular concern about “killer robots”.
Our cultural focus is a complete and utter disaster. The cultural spectacle leaves us increasingly distracted, while our world falls apart and we trust our fate to those who profit from the disintegration.
Personally, I feel a lot like Lisa Simpson in The Simpsons Movie, when she says “This town is just one piece of trash away from a toxic nightmare! But I knew you wouldn’t listen. So I took the liberty of pouring water from the lake in all your drinking glasses!”, to which Moe responds with “See, this is why we should hate kids!” But this isn’t a cartoon. Neither Lisa Simpson, David Bowie, nor even Spider-Pig will stop this culture and the world it is creating. We need to take on the responsibility, and resist in whatever ways we can.