Tuesday, March 15, 2005

Yeast In A Barrel

George Monbiot is among our most articulate social critics. In "Mocking Our Dreams," a recent article printed in the Guardian Weekly, Monbiot uses only a few hundred words to sum up humanity's most pressing 21st century dilemma, and he skewers industry spin doctors and our flawed economic framework in the process. His piece will impress even those readers who find nothing revolutionary in the text.

Two weeks ago, I posted "Of Mice And Men," a poisonous rant about our species' inclination to put propagation ahead of sustainability. I compared humanity's situation to that of mice in captivity, and the scenario got rather gruesome. Monbiot chooses a more subtle and more effective analogy: yeast.
"And this leads us to a further reason for turning our eyes away. When terrorists threaten us, it shows that we must count for something, that we are important enough to kill. They confirm the grand narrative of our lives, in which we strive through thickets of good and evil towards an ultimate purpose. But there is no glory in the threat of climate change. The story it tells us is of yeast in a barrel, feeding and farting until it is poisoned by its own waste. It is too squalid an ending for our anthropocentric conceit to accept."
Photo credit:Nature Publishing Group, 2004

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