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Excerpt from Endgame

What Is Done to the Earth Is Done To Ourselves (p. 551)

From chapter "Identification"

What is done to the earth is done to ourselves. It really is that simple. We cannot live without the earth. The earth can live without us. It is an open question at this point whether it can live with us. It certainly cannot live with us as we are now

Because of civilization, almost 1,400 square miles of land per year are converted to desert, more than twice the rate from thirty years ago (and essentially infinitely more than the rate before civilization). In about 20 years, two-thirds of the arable land in Africa will be gone, as well as one-third in Asia and one-fifth in South America. Even the capitalist press acknowledges, “Technology can make the problem worse. In parts of Australia, irrigation systems are pumping up salty water and slowly poisoning farms. In Saudi Arabia, herdsmen can use water trucks instead of taking their animals from oasis to oasis—but by staying in one place, the herds are getting bigger and eating all the grass. In Spain, Portugal, Italy and Greece, coastal resorts are swallowing up water that once moistened the wilderness. Many farmers in those countries still flood their fields instead of using more miserly ‘drip irrigation,’ and the resulting shortages are slowly baking the life out of the land.” The corporate press further acknowledges that prior to civilization even some of what are now the most inhospitable deserts were habitable, saying that “much of the Middle East, the Mediterranean and North Africa were once green. The Sahara itself was a savanna, and rock paintings show giraffes, elephants and cows once lived there.”

As industrial civilization kills the land, so too it kills the oceans. Each summer a dead zone covers 8,000 square miles in the Gulf of Mexico. Another blankets Chesapeake Bay. Another the Baltic Sea. Altogether, there are almost 150 dead zones, places where the water contains too little oxygen to sustain life. This number has doubled each decade since the 1960s. The cause? Industrial agriculture.

And of course dead zones are not even the greatest threat to the oceans. Far greater is deep sea trawling. Damage is severe enough to cause the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation to report, “Every year, the giant nets that trawler ships pull across the bottom of the sea devastate an area of the global seabed twice the size of the United States, scraping up everything from coral to sharks.”

Industrial civilization is killing the land. It is killing the water.