Pollution is like Slavery

Yesterday we had a fantastic day in Food Forest Ketelbroek with two heroes of our times: John D. Liu and Wouter van Eck.

Sunny winter's day in Food Forest Ketelbroek

Sunny winter’s day in Food Forest Ketelbroek

Liu’s work as a documentary filmer and ecology researcher is impressive and inspiring. He has put all his articles and films for free download at Academia.Net (you do have to register). Some of his films have been shown on Dutch television and are available for streamed viewing.

Liu has reached the conclusion that we can restore degraded lands all over the planet if we want to. The problem is not that the technology is lacking, it is the mindset of destruction that is blocking us.

As long as we all pretend it is no problem to pollute and it costs nothing, destruction will continue. This is, in my view, madness and a false assumption that our “economic system” is based upon. We need to think new thoughts and base our society on better values.

Liu made the analogue of slavery. Only 200 years ago, it was common and correct in many countries to sell and buy people. Laws protected the slave owners and the government in place was doing what it could to keep it this way. The road to abolition was long and multi-faceted, but the key is that we have now different values and un-spoken convitions regarding what is morally right and wrong.


Do you want to buy Hannibal, William or Nancy? You can also buy rice, books, ribbons etc. (www.understandingSlavery.com)

He hopes that we will go the same way with pollution. Today, it is no problem to spray poisons on the fields. It costs nothing to pollute and destroy the ecosystems. As long as corporations pollute “responsibly”, they can continue. There are some restrictions on volumes of certain compounds that can be deposited. (Does it sound like the arguments of “good slave keeping”?)
Current economic growth-ideology is based on extraction-production-consumption-waste, where the impact on the ecology is called an “externality” that is not accounted for.

"Protecting the crop" and destroying the soils and the waters. When will this be obviously wrong?

“Protecting the crop” and destroying the soils and the waters. At no extra cost. (photo wbs-solutions.nl)

Can we come to a point where it is obvious to most people that it is morally wrong to pollute?

We need a deep discussion about the core values upon which we want to build our future civilization.

I want us to to value life above stuff. Value functional ecosystems above concrete infrastructure. Value creativity and cooperation above of consumption and competition.

How can we get there?


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