Archive for the Religious Roots Category

Final Thoughts

Posted in Climate Change, Religious Roots on April 28, 2010 by ajtriplett

We’ve had lots of different topics, lots of different readings, and tons of discussions about eco-collapse.  What is the cause?  How can we change it? What does the future hold?

Well, this is my idea— ethics.  I think the way we (Americans)  treat our little section of the world falls back on our ethics, or lack of.  Over time which we don’t have, we need to change our ethical view.

Ethics–a system of moral principles

If we start to raise our children with a different set of ethics that actually incorporated a positive worldview, things WOULD change.  We would raise our children not to immortalize people like Britney Spears, LeBron James, and Paris Hilton.  Instead they would know about Wangari Maathai and John Muir.  Images of pollution-free oceans and flourishing summer garden would fill our heads instead of Kate Gosselin getting voted off Dancing with the Stars. People would start to care about how we live.  Religion would change— everything would.

Patience, persistance, commitment– that is what Wangari believes.  The problem with that  idea–time.  Time is not our friend.  Will it be too late if we change our ethical view?  Will it be too late if we are patient, persistent, and stay committed?  For some ecosystems it will be too late.  An although by changing our ethics now we are only postponing the inevitable ending, it’s worth a try.

The Death of Adam

Posted in Environmental Security, Popular Culture, Religious Roots, Risk & Fear, Uncategorized on March 1, 2010 by cjreevesii

It seems plain to me that one of the reoccurring themes in my 418 Eco- Collapse course is how devastatingly man has continued to ravish the planet. However, one type of man in particular seems to be getting a lot of flack now-a-days: the framer. When I think about the last couple of novels and essay’s I have read, I can’t think of one that does not point its sullen finger at the farmer for some sort of deprivation or other. Over the past two weeks in particular, I have had the pleasure to sink my teeth into the delectable fruit of two great works: Silent Spring (selections) by Rachel Carson and The Worst Hard Time by Timothy Egan. Both of these books relate in grave detail why they think framers are to blame for the amount of environmental damage that has been caused upon the earth. They showcase real life events such as the “dust bowl of 1930” and show us figure crunching data of how farmers raping the land are to blame.

Well, if convincing readers to agree with their accusations is their goal, I will admit I’m slowly being convinced. But, don’t take it from me. Listen to the experts who say that non-sustainable farming practices hurt public health, drain small communities, abuse animals and pollute the environment according to a 2 and 1/2 year research performed by Pew and Johns Hopkins’ Bloomberg School of Public Health[1]. This report highlights how modern day farming can harm everything in its wake. It can impact species by creating drug-resistant bacteria strains. It can pollute the planet. It also can damage the soil, but most importantly it can be harmful to you as well.

There is a phrase I heard some time ago that goes, “Think globally; act locally,” and nowhere is this rationale more appropriate than in your everyday life. If these local farms are that destructive, are we all falling susceptible to the “costs of human illnesses caused by drug-resistant bacteria associated with the rampant use of antibiotics on feedlots and the degradation of land, water and air quality caused by animal waste too intensely concentrated to be neutralized by natural processes[2] ?” What happen to the days of the natural farmer that authors such as Edmund Spencer would idolize?

This brings me to my last and final point. The original farmer was the first man to walk the planet. We know him today to be called Adam. Appointed by God, it was his job to ‘teal the earth and grow living things (plants).’ If that was the case, how did we come so far from the beginning of a pure motive given by the direction of the Divine, to now irrationally destroying the earth?

If we continue in this pattern of destruction, I will caution to ask is it time to kill Adam?


[2] All quotes were used from from the article Report Targets Costs Of Factory Farming  By Rick Weiss

Checkout this BBC documentary about sustainable farming below

Break from Dust Bowl…Back to Apocalypse!

Posted in Popular Culture, Post-Apocalypse, Religious Roots, Rhetoric on February 25, 2010 by juneaudale

So i feel it is now a moot point to be enrolled in this class. What’s the point in discussing the history, rhetoric, ideas and theories of a subject that is already apparently upon us? Good luck and God speed!

Religious Cults Birthed from the Fear of Apocalypse

Posted in Religious Roots, Rhetoric, Risk & Fear with tags , on February 11, 2010 by Taylor Manuel

Cults or religious sects have existed throughout time, some formed into the popular religions of today. Though, very often they can be manipulative, immoral and dangerous to themselves and others. Often they are formed, or include in their belief a fear, (or welcoming) of imminent Apocalypse. Some people have prophesied the End down to a specific date and time, only to change it to a later date when the prophecy fails to fulfill itself. Cults have committed mass suicides in escape or release from the disaster they believed approached. Some have barricaded themselves in maximum security compounds with stashes of food and supplies awaiting the End, and some have even withdrew to underground tunnels and bunkers.

In the Parable of the Sower, the Earthseed Religion is formed not due to the approach of the end, but in the wake of it. What does not change is human coercion and manipulation that can exist within any institution. It does not appear that her beliefs are used in any such way, but the possibility still exists in the expectancy of a leader as can be seen here:

When apparent stability disintegrates,

As it must-

God is Change-

People tend to give in

To fear and depression,

When no influence is strong enough

To unify people

They divide

They struggle,

One against one,

Group against group,

For survival, position, power.

They remember old hates and generate new ones,

They create chaos and nurture it.

They kill and kill and kill,

Until they are exhausted and destroyed,

Until they are conquered by outside forces,

Or until one of them becomes

A leader

Most will follow,

Or a tyrant

Most fear.

I’m not arguing that the Earthseed religion resembles the traits of a cult at all. More, I am simply pointing out the implications of not just environmental rhetoric, but religious rhetoric, which can be the most convincingly dangerous.

Apocalypse is not simply a belief but a tool utilized by individuals to manipulate and control the wills of others. In the case of religious Cults it is often used as a way to control the souls of many. To some, the end is an attractive idea. With it comes an end to the present toil and struggles that people face. To others, it can be a natural selector, and only those who follow the true faith will be saved. Its use is one to be wary of, not for fear of being assimilated into a cult, but rather the way it slowly seeps into our own notions of life.

Do-It-Yourself! …Disaster?

Posted in Climate Change, Natural Disasters, Post-Apocalypse, Religious Roots with tags , , , , on February 10, 2010 by jessicabarranco

Will the environment call forth the power of evil and devastation against those who harm it?   Apocalyptic literature points to devastation of humanity as we know it, but is this the proper response to an environment that endures constant destruction and abuse from human activity?  We look for answers about what our future might bring in literature and religion, but maybe the most reasonable approach is to let nature take its course.  By becoming so infatuated with the future destruction of the environment, it seems that we are deliberately separating ourselves from the foundation of our existence.  It has become socially acceptable to destroy the environment in a world that only exists in the pages of numerous authors, but at what extreme are we actually writing the future history based on our actions today?

As a survival mechanism, we seek to endure and adapt to ever changing environments.  During plague and disease, we cope with the sick and dying, while also studying the causes of the problem.  During war, we devastate the environment of our enemies, but then lend a helping hand to the refugees that survived the turmoil,  forcing them to endure hardships  that we created.  If we are the cause of environmental change, we must then adapt to the possibilities that nature has in store for us.  Lauren, in Parable of the Sower approaches the subject:

Our adults haven’t been wiped out by a plague so they’re still anchored in the past, waiting for the good old days to come back.  But things have changed a lot, and they’ll change more.  Things are always changing.  This is just one of the big jumps instead of the little step-by-step changes that are easier to take.  People have changed the climate of the world.  Now they’re waiting for the good old days to come back… We can’t make the climate change back, no matter why it changed in the first place.  You and I can’t.  The neighborhood can’t.  We can’t do anything. (p. 57)

What are we looking for, that we believe is in apocalyptic literature?  We know the history of our decisions, yet we focus on problems that we do not want to take responsibility for.  We don’t want to do anything different than what we are used to doing.  We do not want to disrupt the modern system that tells us that we are in power.  Lauren is exposed to several of these aspects that we face today.  Drugs, that induce vandalism and pyro activities play a significant role in today’s society, yet we pretend that the outcomes and side-effects are beyond our understanding.  She is exposed to natural disasters.  She  encounters other characters that pretend that previous decisions and actions do not affect the outcomes of those “natural” disasters, but justify the daily tragedies as a daily means of endurance.  Today, we acknowledge the devastation occurring in our own backyard, but fail to remember the decisions made prior to the “disaster” (some examples include the removal of vegetation, which can create dust storms and floods; building infrastructure on active fault lines that can create economic destruction when earthquakes take charge;  ecosystems that have been destroyed by the “necessary” management of  those systems; among other disasters that have come about due to human involvement).  So if we victimize ourselves in futuristic literature, to what extent do we take responsibility for our own actions?

By all means, please, make it your duty to create your own version of the future of the environment you live in.  It is up to you to take part in the destruction of nature as the foundation for human existence; nature, as the foundation for all living things, including plants and animals.  Create your own disater using the Forces of Nature.  And by all means, take the risk, sit back, and let nature take its course!

When all is at it’s worst…make it better

Posted in Natural Disasters, Religious Roots, Risk & Fear, Uncategorized with tags , , , , , on February 10, 2010 by juneaudale

The Parable of the Sower… Dark, Bleak, Dystopic, Beautiful. In this narrative set in the future where the world (California) has become a state of  collapse from environmental degeneration, scarce resources, poverty,  drug induced pyro sociopaths, murderers and survivors, a young woman  escapes her destroyed community after her family is murdered. Lauren who experiences “Hyper-empathy” decides to migrate North with other survivors in desperate search for anything better where her privately developed religion “earth seed” can take root and flourish.

This is a tale of survival, of poverty, of racism. It is a cautionary tale because the future presented as Butler states “is alarming but possible.”(pg337) It has hints of Millinarianism, of colonialism and an eluding towards an apocalyptic apparition of final demise. It is a tale of loss, of pain, passion, love and so much ever present that swims deep amid the human condition. But most of all,  Parable of the Sower is a lesson in morality. As a parable defined, it is in short “a short tale that illustrates universal truth.”  As mentioned, Lauren, the main character possesses  hyper empathy syndrome which was passed on to her in the womb by her mother through the abuse of a drug named Paracetco .  She literary feels the pain and joys of others . However, it is this “hyper empathy”  ultimately that leads her to truth. Her empathy acts as  her moral compass. Acting on impulse for Lauren comes with it much greater and deeper consequences and so she must choose correctly. Through constant hardship, struggle, intelligence and empathy,  Lauren slowly and patiently weaves her image of god that will in time and in hope, transcend  her blend of various ideas, philosophies, and observations  into her own “earthseed” religion. The ever present reoccurring truth identified throughout this narrative as expressed by Lauren is “change.” In her earthseed verses,  the “true one and right one”(pg 24) Lauren “keeps coming back to”(pg 24)  states “God exists to be shaped, God is change” (pg 25)

Her world as so vividly portrayed page after page demonstrates the power of change. It is the only definable reality for her. It is her ultimate truth. And from her world as horrid as it is, she takes that truth and shapes  and sculpts it into her own vision. It is her vision of hope  and survival of the “earthseed” to “eventually take root in the stars.” It is her chosen path to resist. For in her words ” resistence isn’t always safe, but often necessary”(pg134)and in the end when all is at it’s worst…a change is made, and she makes it better.

Will Any of this Even Matter? by CJReevesII

Posted in Climate Change, Natural Disasters, Popular Culture, Religious Roots, Rhetoric on February 3, 2010 by cjreevesii

Colonialism, slavery, rampant advertisement, and propaganda: in 21st century America, do these words ring a bell to you? Well, they do to author Robin Morris Collin. In her article “The Apocalyptic Vision: Environmentalism and a Wider Embrace,” she talks exactly of these issues. More simply, it is her argument that “footprints” of western colonialism have led to the environmental injustice that we are facing today. She makes the claim that in areas of highest economic poverty and racial minority, we see a higher decline in the use of governmental resources to maintain a healthy living environment. She also ascribes to the affirmation that a monopoly of land held by rich governing powers proves useless to the mass majority of indigenous and impoverished peoples around the world creating a dense barrier of environmentalism inequality. So, what is the answer to the steep decline of our economical environmental crisis? Why the Apocalypse of course, and Author David Arnold thinks the trajectory of the world is leading us precisely in that direction.

In his book, “The Problem of Nature,” he relates how historians have paired the vastly stacking evidence of impending doom with current cultural beliefs in order to point the finger at apocalyptic rhetoric; that the natural disasters of modern-day occurrences just happen to be the prophecy’s of Judaeo- Christian text. However, other critics, such as Sut Jhally claims, much like Collin that the end of the world will be a forced act beat down by human nature and our insatiable appetite for industrial conquest.

In my opinion it will be both. We as humans have chosen to run down the sands of wealth this earth has so graciously given us. In doing so, we help to create our own end and fulfill the Biblical prophecy of the world’s end.

So only one question remains; when it is all over will any of this even matter?

Check out Sut Jhally’s video on Advertising & the End of the World by clicking the link below

Apocalypse: CJ Reeves II

Posted in Popular Culture, Religious Roots, Rhetoric, Uncategorized with tags , on January 27, 2010 by Sarah

Is it just me, or does it seems like the idea of an impending apocalypse is the hot topic of conversation now days? Everywhere we turn the notion of proleptic danger looms steadily closer to our stratosphere. To put it bluntly, the phrase “The end is near” doesn’t hold a candle to the extensional melt-down that we seem to be facing in our sooner rather- than- later future. Gone are the days of scholars and academia burrowing into their books to crack the long encrypted code of our earths end. This is something everyone (and I mean everyone) is talking about. From movies, books, YouTube videos, essays, and media coverage, the apocalypse (also known as 2012) is exploding faster than our planet. But where does this mass mania come from? When and how did we even begin to think of an end to our planet?
Author Greg Garrard has one possible answer. In his fairly recent book Ecocriticism, Garrard makes it clear that some of human’s most ancient text are to blame. He claims widely accepted religious works (such as the Bible) helps enforce the idea of a rather violent apocalypse. This in turn causes the veil of social psychology to become rent and the magnitude of believers of this crisis thrives.
So why not save ourselves from a whole lot of headaches, and simply come to terms with not believing. This answer is not as easily done as it may sound. In Earth First: Environmental Apocalypse by Martha F. Lee, she references another critic whom states it is because America was built around the very notion that we were chosen by God that faith in such religious aspects persist. We can then assume that it is in our very nature to hold accountable some form of that faith, and use it to map out the continuation of our world.
Though many scholars debate the idea of religion blazing the trail of apocalyptic studies, it is not up to debate that some sort of dynamic change of our solar system will enviably take place. Whether it is 2012 or later; the world at large is cautioned to fasten our seat belts in hope to survive this bumpy ride.