Greta, Gaia and The Mink

The below written in November of 2020. Seems long ago, but its only a couple of months…


I awoke from a dream state, as I often do, retaining a couple of dreamy images. A mulligan stew of ideas in my mind had began to form a story. It’s elements were from the news. The millions of Mink in Denmark being killed. The young environmental activist, Greta Thunberg being ignored. An essay in the NYT about civilization collapse, how and why. The firing of Michael Kuperberg, executive director of the U.S. Global Climate Change Research Program. The concept of Gaia, the Earth’s biosphere as a single organism. And last, but never least, Covid. How are all these elements connected? What story do they inform? The mink first. These cute animals, raised by the millions to make garments, caught Covid from humans. It swept through their ranks quickly, Being farmed in crowded conditions, they are to this virus like stacked, dry, cord wood is to fire. The cold logic of epidemiology says they must all be destroyed. This is because the virus mutated as it swept through the mink. It then jumped back to humans. The risk that a mutant strain might be more virulent to us is too great. Greta Thunberg is a young Swede known for her environmental activism. She organized a world wide “student strike for the environment”. Vladimir Putin, the Russian, was patronizing…Saying, she just didn’t understand the complexities. The media always mention that Greta has Asperger syndrome and Selective mutism. This possibly to explain her activism. Her insistence that the environment is in crisis. A crisis caused by human civilization. Trump was patronizing to her as well. The Christian bible says a child shall lead them…into a peaceable kingdom. It doesn’t say “they” will follow, or even listen. Then there is Gaia, the Earth, the huge organism we humans are only a tiny part of. We have an immune system reacting to Covid virus, Earth too has ways of dealing with irritants. Gaia regulates the oxygen level in the atmosphere with fire and regulates the population of animal species with viruses. Crowding and overpopulating, spewing poison into Gaia’s lungs is, for her, an irritant. For a billion plus years Gaia has regulated life with viruses, she still does. Then there is civilization and its history of collapse. It’s happened many times. Collapse, like war, is a major theme in history. What causes it? Are we now facing that event too? The consensus of several scholars is that complexity is the double edged sword in human civilization. In both its rise and fall. Bring lots of people into cities from the farms and you need supply chains. Field to table was a couple hundred feet in the beginning. For us it’s grown to many thousand miles. Supply chains are  simple at first but grow longer and more involved as civilization grows. The house of cards analogy fits here. Oh, we’re good. Our engineering is impressive. Human ingenuity pushes the house higher and higher. The cards rest solidly atop each other, up and up…until it all crashes down. A breeze, a bump, a virus. Our engineered tower falls. It wasn’t designed for the final insult. That ace dealt from the bottom of the deck. Nature has many cards up her sleeve. It’s her game. By her rules. What’s the story? Something by Don Delillo maybe. He wrote the novel, “White Noise”. His style would fit the elements and crazy arc this “civilization” seems to be following. Can I extract anything other than a comic dystopian novel from these elements? No, the setup is like a 50 ton locomotive on greased tracks going down hill at 50 MPH toward a cement wall. Add to that an engineer in the cab distracted by his cell phone, updating his Facebook page. This loco driver is putting the pedal to the metal, increasing the speed. And why not? It’s too late for the brakes. You demand a happy ending? OK, Gaia is better off, healthier, without eight billion humans!

Published by glensketch

Retired from electronics industry. Ex USN ex USAF ex expat in Ecuador.

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