Wednesday, August 2, 2017

Does This Extinction Event Make My Asteroid Look Big?

Everything has its own perspective. What's good for one might not be so great for another. For instance, Dave doesn't like it, but he has effortlessly maintained a five-star rating for years on Mosquito Yelp, so somebody's happy. And while most of us are not thrilled about deadly disease, somewhere to the north a population of suppressed viruses has long awaited a savior that will allow them to rise again, and now that our permafrost is melting, their day of redemption is at hand. Hallelujah! (Or holy crap, depending on your viewpoint.)

So I don't know if the viruses and the bacteria and the mosquitoes are going to inherit the earth, or whether they are suitably meek--I wouldn't have thought so--but somebody is going to, and it isn't going to be us. And that's because of us. We are the architects of the Sixth Extinction event and it's certainly looking like we're going to be among the missing. We've done it a number of ways. We've resurrected a fatal bolus of carbon from its burial grounds and sent it into the sky, and done it in a blink of time. We've scraped off our natural vegetation to grow monocrops, and sent the fertilizer required into the oceans, killing them piece by piece. We've overfished. And so on, and so forth.

Lots of folks don't really believe we could make that much difference, but that's false modesty. Lift up your heads and own it, humans! Together, we're as big and strong as a killer asteroid! Boo-yah!

Well, poop. We didn't evolve to consider long-term consequences. We're wired for the tiger and, at most, the next growing season. So instead of trembling in fear over the disaster we're creating, we're all worked up about the moles in our lawn, or the waitress who totally dissed us. We'll point at something shiny in the road and not recognize it's Godzilla's big toenail. What's that shadow?

And maybe some of the fun we've been having could have gone on for a while longer, if only there were a reasonable number of us to dilute the consequences of our shenanigans. But there's nothing reasonable about our numbers. We're seven or eight billion and headed straight up. We'll have to get those numbers down. Way, way down. And honey, that involves attrition. That involves death.

There are a lot of choices here. There's your starvation--that'll wipe out a bunch--there's your disease, your plagues, your genocides, your war. All of these will come to pass, especially since so many of us are going to be on the move. Also, there's birth control. Can't realistically count on anybody keeping it zipped but we could make reliable birth control free, and encourage or even require people to hold it down to one or (why not!) none. And of course there's abortion.

I've read the script, and at this point it is mandatory to assert that even though many people support the right to choose, nobody is pro-abortion. But it's not true. I, for instance, am all for it.

Yes, I said it: I am a big fan of abortion. I believe that at over seven billion and counting, we can no longer consider ourselves so very precious. I don't even think I'm precious. It would be better if we just quit getting knocked up (except maybe the once, if we absolutely must), but we do. There might be 16 billion of us before this century's out, all wanting a standard of comfort and convenience we never could afford. As a result we're about to go extinct and take most everything down with us. I'm pro-abortion because I'm pro-life. In fact, I'll double down. When I look at those in power who are so willing to burn the whole village down just to hunker in their spider-holes and fondle their money, I think in some cases abortion should be retroactive.

I know this upsets people. I can hear some of you clicking off, never to return. I'm sorry about that, because I love my audience, and small as it is, I don't want it any smaller. You all sustain me. And mostly I want to make you laugh, and maybe every now and then to make you ponder. As I'm typing this, I am only imagining the rejection; I can still forestall it; I can write about chickadees, and not post this at all.

That's the beauty of looking realistically into the future. You can see what your choices are, with your eyes wide open. I choose to post.

Today, August 2, 2017, the forecast for Portland, Oregon is 108 degrees F.

76 comments:

  1. I'm with you, Murr! The word "miracle" is defined thusly: a surprising and welcome event that is not explicable by natural or scientific laws and is therefore considered to be the work of a divine agency.
    • a highly improbable or extraordinary event, development, or accomplishment that brings very welcome consequences.
    • an amazing product or achievement, or an outstanding example of something.

    So how is birth a "miracle" when you consider how many times it occurs? It's not inexplicable -- we know what causes it. It's not improbable, unless you're a male or have been through menopause. And judging by our "accomplishments", we are not so amazing, except maybe in our capacity for denial. I think we need more chlorine in the gene pool. Not that it would help at this point. We are a cancer on this earth, metastasizing like crazy and killing out host. The earth definitely needs chemo at this point, and even that may not help it. I just hope that some creatures may survive us. I would hate to think that we took everything out with us.

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  2. I'm not going anywhere. Right here with you.

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    1. Me, too. BTW--have you read Daniel Quinn's "Ishmael"? You might really like it, I think.

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    2. Yep. I'll stick around for whatever time I have left.I've made more mistakes than many people make in 70+ years, but I did one thing right - I didn't replicate myself

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    3. I've read Ishmael, but like every other book I've read, I don't remember it. Sad

      An awful lot of people I REALLY LIKE didn't replicate themselves. Hmm.

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    4. Loved Quinn's Ismael. Gave it to my teens to read. And I'm going nowhere, Murr. I'm stumped to find stuff we don't agree on. Write on, Mighty Gal.

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    5. I got "Ishmael" on my kindle. I really should read it. One of these days.

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    6. I don't know about you, but one of the problems I have with the Kindle is I never see the book cover and couldn't tell you the name of the book. When I look at the list of books I've apparently read on my Kindle, I don't recognize any of them.

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  3. I would like to imagine that the winners of the next earth redo would heed the history of the ancient humans. I’m betting no.

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  4. Keep writing, Murr! You make me think beyond my comfort zone, laugh hysterically at the antics of nature around you, and get involved in things I normally wouldn't have considered. We need your voice, because it is far more eloquent than most. Thank you for this.

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  5. Not fleeing, was a "zero population growth" embracer from very early on. My family - down to husband & me (no kids), 1 cousin (no kids), brother (no kids), and 90 year old mom - is a dead end, as my mom refers to it in a very okay kind of way. Have enjoyed nieces and nephews over time; they who have procreated to some extent so they must feel positive about the future? I don't get it. Kim in PA

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    1. I think the procreators are either in denial or whistling past the graveyard.

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    2. I had a few nanoseconds in a row, around age 30, when I thought a baby might be fun. Dave said he'd step aside if I wanted to find a father. I got over it.

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  6. In the news this week was a study showing a 52% drop in male fertility for men living in industrialized countries over the past 40 years. It may or may not mean anything, as there are still plenty of sperm to go around.

    I'm with you on abortion. Anyone facing unwanted and unsupportable pregnancy should be able to legally, safely, and privately get the procedure. The mind-numbing and utter stupidity of the Republican message that they want to outlaw abortion while defunding Planned Parenthood, thereby making contraception and sex education less available and unwanted pregnancy even more likely, is inexplicable.

    However I must admit I WAS looking forward to a post from you about the giant eel spill that coated a Portland highway in slime recently. Maybe next week?

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    1. Not Portland. That was on the coast. The whole highway covered in snot. I will admit I gave it a little spin in my mind but nothing was much funnier than the real story, except from the hagfish viewpoint (speaking of perspectives).

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    2. Of course, if you need something like that this morning, you could revisit my whale story, Rest In Pieces. It was in Trousering Your Weasel, too.

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  7. Retroactive abortion is a much needed procedure especially in the vicinity of our governmental strongholds.

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  8. Apparently, we've already discovered a lifeform that can digest plastic. On the face of it, this is good news as it means we could begin disposing of all that waste we've poured into landfill and the oceans. However, what's the betting Ol' Plastic Muncher starts on our window frames, credit cards and electricity cable. What are condoms made of these days?!

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    1. Oh no. Just our luck the lifeform would have so much plastic to eat that it would get huge and stomp on us.

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  9. I support retroactive abortion for many of our politicians!!

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    1. We'll never get it passed in Congress.

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  10. Right on, Murr! I have always thought that the most humane thing would be *free* abortion on demand. Humane because it would spare the unwilling-would-be mother from being miserable and unproductive for the rest of her life. Not to mention the fact that its your own gol'darn body. (I admit, however, to thinking that a true desecration of human life is the act of disfiguring perfectly beautiful skin with permanent tattoo ink.....but I digress.) Oh, what were we talking about? Plastic-eating Sperm? Retroactive Eel Snot Abortions?

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    1. Louis C.K.'s most recent show (it's on Netflix) expresses my exact feelings about abortion. Y'all should check it out.

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  11. I'm still here. You did say 'poop' once in this post, and that's good enough for me! So, Spay and Neuter your relatives...some retroactively.

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    1. My relatives are cool, and their numbers are duly dwindling. Lots of dead ends in this family!

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  12. Uh ... I hate to be the party pooper here, but when the sun burns out, it's all over anyway. That's taking the really long view, but ... does anything really matter with that kind of future? (and I think you have some idea of my outlook on life so far, which is not at all a depressed or depressing one)

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    1. That is not party pooping. That's just a fack. The thing is, it is still not possible (for me anyway) to take the attitude that nothing matters because we're all going to die anyway. Still have to try to do our best by each other. There's no real reason to care, given the ultimate fact of mortality; but we are wired to, and I don't think it's at all useful to wonder why. I just accept that most of us do have a moral sense.

      BTW, we'd be gone a long time before the sun burns out!

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    2. True, and I DO care about the world and its inhabitants ... and I applaud your written word, as usual! Yet there's a part of me that uses the dead-sun logic whenever I start getting too hung up on the world going to hell in a handbasket. Usually I don't say it out loud, though. It can stop a good conversation right quick.

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    3. You should heretofore use it to stop the bad conversations!

      Really, though, we're probably a lot alike: very pessimistic, and happy. We baffle people.

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    4. Hahaha ... and, possibly :)

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  13. Replies
    1. Odds are, now that I think about it, that anyone leaving is someone who doesn't ordinarily comment anyway.

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    2. Well, I don't comment ALL the time, but I'm not going anywhere!

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  14. Fertile Myrtle here... I am still with you.....

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  15. I'm a lesbian. We don't procreate unless we spend a lot of money and frankly, I'd rather buy another guitar. So, since we don't procreate naturally, I figure we must be a higher form of human. Oh, and I'm not going anywhere, either.

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  16. Wait. Can it go both ways? Is everyone giving up? If yes, then it certainly makes sense to not reproduce. But if there's any hope, who are you going to pin it on? Pro-abortion makes good sense to me but I'm not ready to jump on the everybody should be childless and yay, they are the heroes bandwagon for a couple of reasons. One is that I see in my children a wiser, more compassionate, more intelligent approach to life on this planet and that gives me a speck of hope. My kids and their compatriots are working hard to clean up the place. And two? I love so much being a grandmother to their one each child.

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    1. I'll say right now and out loud that all the young people of my acquaintance are STELLAR. Awe-inspiring folks. I'm still recruiting them to wipe my butt in a few decades.

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  17. and I don't always comment but even when I don't I'm still around.

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  18. Quietly here, most of the time. Thanks, Murr.

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  19. "one or none"
    I don't know what to say to that. I already had four and I now have five grandchildren. Guess that makes me part of the problem, not part of the solution. But perhaps a future generation of mine will do something that helps save the earth from extinction.

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    1. We're all part of the problem, but I don't begrudge anyone any babies. Of course, I'm assuming you raised 'em up right!

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  20. Fearless and common-sensical. Acutely observational. Detatched yet highly personal.
    Keep it up Murr - the public needs you.

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    1. I didn't get nearly as personal as I could have!

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  21. Post with abandon, madam!! We need more people to wake up and smell the coffee -- every little bit helps.

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  22. I've never posted directly before (just a reply to Pat L), but I love your point of view, and have been following this blog almost since you came to Chrysalis lo, those many years ago. I'm not going anywhere, either. Carry on.

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    1. Hi there! I should drop in on that wonderful group again. I'd have to bring chocolate, but that's a good thing, right?

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    2. A VERY good thing, and besides, we love chocolate!

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  23. If I had your way with words.....that is exactly what I would have said. Tell it like it is, Murr!

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  24. I'm with you, Murr. Being pro-life SHOULD mean valuing those lives once they are born. It's an oxymoron, but then the GOP has been a party of oxymorons since Nixon.

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    1. And by pro-life I also mean pro-frogs and salamanders and bugs and bees and bears and birds and...

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  25. What a refreshing commentary. Who'd a thunk that we'd go extinct before the sun swelled up and took us out anyways, We're not really that permanent.

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    1. One way or another I doubt we'd have lasted as long as all that, anyway. That's a ways off.

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  26. Reteoactive abortions! What a fantabulous idea! Me? I'm not goin' anywhere!

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  27. Chiggers are the worst. Except maybe for ticks. Or fire ants. How could anyone consider for an instant replacing the meadowlark with the osprey/fish hawk as Oregon's state bird? Not anyone who's heard the meadowlark's joyous song, I'll wager.


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  28. Brave, bold, true words, Murr. Overly ambitious breeders have been my biggest complaint and worry as this planet goes to hell. Those who are infertile and spend hundreds of thousands of dollars to then have quadruplets really burn my ass. ( Now I will likely lose friends.) I am certain that the cockroaches, slime molds, or whatever survives will be better stewards of Earth than humans. I'm with you, pro-abortion, and a proud dead-ender.

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    1. Yeah, I wonder about all that money and time spent on procreation, too. Especially since there are so many kids in the foster care system who could use caring parents.

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  29. We could slow it down by allowing only two dependents on income tax returns...

    But, it's aunts that will inherit the earth.
    the Ol'Buzzard

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  30. I'm with you, Murr, and I'm still here! ProCHOICE means just that--having a choice. As they say, "Let's keep abortion legal, safe, and rare." As for me, I read Zero Population Growth at an impressionable age.

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