Are humans collectively intelligent? Rejecting the ecofascist label.

Posted on Updated on

Some “consultant” – whatever that consultation may be – takes note that environmental celebrity and Leonardo DiCaprio chum, David Suzuki, thinks that letting the world turn into a baking hot desert with sulphuric rain is a crime demanding punishment:

As reported by a University of Toronto student newspaper, Suzuki stated that government leaders who aren’t acting quickly enough to save the environment “should go to jail for what they’re not doing right now … What our government is not doing is a criminal act.”

Here one might ask if not it ought to be the ultimate crime to destroy the planet? What could possible be a worse crime against humanity, against civilization, against all life?

However, the consultant, God knows who he’s been consulting?, “thinks” that this is a fascist action:

This bit of eco-fascism was no mere slip of the tongue. A few weeks later at McGill University, Suzuki again equated government inaction on the environment with a criminal act and again was reported to have told students to find a legal way to throw politicians in jail for ignoring climate-change science.

It is worth keeping in mind that Suzuki is a geneticist turned broadcaster and not an expert on climate change. He apparently is no expert on the fundamental tenants of living in a democracy either.

The consultant, obviously an expert on democracy, in other words, is of the opinion that fiddling while Rome burns is a democratic – right or privilege?

What exactly is it that renders the socalled elected representatives beyond jurisdiction? Why does Kissinger get the Nobel Peace Prize and not life in prison?

That is because the rich and the powerful control the law – through expertise and raw power – and the poor are kept poor by law. Small gains here and there have been made, such as some basic negative rights – however, most of these gains, generally made under the banner of social-democracy and pushed for by movements of marginalised people, have entrenched an oppressive system, a mode of production and way of being – culturally speaking – that is leading human civilization and many other life forms into extinction. But still – the law can protect and be used as a weapon against your enemy of riches – and for better and worse the law is everyone’s, so let’s use it. We have to keep trying.

So, back to the consultant, why does the think so, … well, backwards? That is probably because he is symptomatic of what some philosophers, one might have been Foucault, have called things like “self-discipline” – power, of society, operates from within each and everyone of us. It is not that he is stupid as such, but that he acts out of unfree will – that is on the basis of an ingrained admiration and aspiration for life on the top of the hill, where there is room they are telling you still, but first you must learn to smile as you kill.

Great philosophical insight with regard to self-discipline – with vast political implications, but somehow this line of thought often leads people to forget that even though it is not a simple top-down pyramid hierarchy we live in, and that even though there are many nodes in the network of powers that be, and that even though we discipline ourselves to be like the rest of those self-interested rational agents out there in the market place, – then, power, raw as it is when questioned, is nevertheless orchestrated, in a manner of speaking, from the top down by the top layer in the hierarchy of the many networks that make up the world. And these people have names and addresses. Against these people we have to take action. As suggested:

“What I would challenge you to do is to put a lot of effort into trying to see whether there’s a legal way of throwing our so-called leaders into jail because what they’re doing is a criminal act,” said Dr. Suzuki, a former board member of the Canadian Civil Liberties Association.

“It’s an intergenerational crime in the face of all the knowledge and science from over 20 years.”

The statement elicited rounds of applause.”

So far humanity has not exhibited many signs of collective intelligence, in the way that we’d consider ants or bees to be collectively intelligent, but climate change is the great opportunity for the human kind. We now know that we have a problem, we know it is ultimately collective and that it would be rather intelligent to deal with it promptly.

So why not use legal processes to get rid of those mad men and women who carry on building roads, airports, trucks, tanks, SUVs and other manifestations of their (striving for) world domination disorder?

It is time for a big clean up of the world – where the poor, the indigenous, the peasants, the landless, the homeless, the rejected and the junkies and whores and other forgotten beings all come together to end repression and rebalance the natural and technological environments.

An appropriate first step might indeed seem to commence legal procedings against Bush, Cheney, Rumsfeld et al. for genocide in Iraq and elsewhere, for deliberately oppressing climate change data – and whoever governmental people who do not support the motion can get a taste of the same. Up your jurisdiction!

That’s not ecofascism, Mr. Consultant, that’s rational, reasonable and enlightened. It is showing a sign of collective intelligence and a dream for the future of happy life on the planet.

7 thoughts on “Are humans collectively intelligent? Rejecting the ecofascist label.

    colono responded:
    Monday, May 19, 2008 at 15:56 (705)


    The world’s species are declining at a rate “unprecedented since the extinction of the dinosaurs”, a census of the animal kingdom has revealed. The Living Planet Index out today shows the devastating impact of humanity as biodiversity has plummeted by almost a third in the 35 years to 2005.

    The report, produced by WWF, the Zoological Society of London (ZSL) and the Global Footprint Network, says land species have declined by 25 per cent, marine life by 28 per cent, and freshwater species by 29 per cent.

    Jonathan Loh, editor of the report, said that such a sharp fall was “completely unprecedented in terms of human history”. “You’d have to go back to the extinction of the dinosaurs to see a decline as rapid as this,” he added. “In terms of human lifespan we may be seeing things change relatively slowly, but in terms of the world’s history this is very rapid.”

    And “rapid” is putting it mildly. Scientists say the current extinction rate is now up to 10,000 times faster than what has historically been recorded as normal.

    As nations meet for the Convention on Biological Diversity in Bonn, these alarming figures will cast a shadow over government pledges to make a “significant” reduction in biodiversity loss by 2010. In fact, the report’s authors say that global inaction has already made such a goal totally unattainable.

    “It’s very damning for the governments that are party to the convention that they are not able to meet the target they set for themselves,” said Mr Loh. “The talk doesn’t get translated into action. We are failing, and the consequences will be devastating.”

    Tracking nearly 4,000 species between 1970 and 2005, the team has not only revealed the destruction of the Earth’s wildlife, but also pointed the finger at the perpetrators of this devastation.

    Ben Collen, extinctions researcher at ZSL, said: “Between 1960 and 2000, the human population of the world has doubled. Yet during the same period, the animal populations have declined by 30 per cent. It’s beyond doubt that this decline has been caused by humans.”

    colono responded:
    Monday, May 19, 2008 at 15:59 (708)

    and more:

    Yesterday marked the first time the US Endangered Species Act was used to protect a species threatened by climate change. The US Geological Survey says that two-thirds of the world’s polar bears could be gone by 2050.

    The bears will only be protected from the direct effects of hunting, and some other activities, because of limits imposed by the Interior Department. It invoked a seldom used loophole to make it easier for the energy industry to actually expand activities that already threaten the bears and their habitat.

    The Interior Secretary, Dirk Kempthorne, who spent much of his political life opposing the Endangered Species Act, said it would be “inappropriate” to use the polar bear listing “to regulate global climate change”.

    Rapid ice loss is endangering the bears which need to move on to sea ice to hunt seals and then migrate along the ice to their dens on the Arctic coast.

    American scientists believe that sea ice loss will likely result in two-thirds of the polar bears disappearing by mid-century.

    The plight of the polar bear has also caused vehement disagreement within the Bush administration and last month the conservative Canadian government refused to list the polar bear as endangered. Canada has some 15,500 polar bears and it has given the polar bear its weakest classification, that of “special concern”, saying the animals were in trouble but not at risk of extinction.

    The oil and gas industry of both countries fears that moves to protect the bears may end up being used as a lever to regulate carbon emissions.

    Yesterday’s ruling only came after environmentalists filed a lawsuit aimed at forcing a decision, and before a deadline of today.

    President Bush is publicly committed to the rapid expansion of oil and gas exploration along the Alaskan coast, even at the cost of the polar bears’ habitat and opposes any moves to combat global warming through regulation.

    But faced with overwhelming scientific evidence that already rapid loss of sea ice is accelerating, Mr Kempthorne said and he no choice but to declare the species threatened. “Sea ice is vital to polar bears’ survival,” he said. “This has been a difficult decision. But in light of the scientific record, and the restraints of the inflexible law that guides me,” he had made “the only decision I can make.”

    He warned that he was limiting the impact of the decision on energy development and other climate related activities: “This listing will not stop global climate change or prevent any sea ice from melting,” Mr Kempthorne said.

    colono responded:
    Monday, May 19, 2008 at 16:02 (710)

    and that’s just a few …. notice the rapid change in the science news over the last half year based on new results from the last two-three years – things are rapidly accelerating:

    England’s green and pleasant land is in catastrophic decline, with some of its most precious wildlife at risk of disappearing for ever, the first comprehensive report into the nation’s natural life has shown.

    In a landmark study into every aspect of the environment, the government advisory body Natural England has compiled research from all corners of the countryside, from woodland and wetland to marine life and salt marsh. Its findings make for bleak reading. Under siege from climate change, development, pollution and aggressive new farming methods, the country’s biodiversity is already significantly less rich than it was 50 years ago, The State of The Environment report said.

    Just 3 per cent of grassland is rich in native plants and a fifth of the countryside is already showing visible signs of neglect, it reported. The collapse of this habitat is having such a devastating effect on native species, including the red squirrel, the turtle dove, the bumblebee and the adder.

    “If we don’t act now, there’s a real danger some of our most precious wildlife will be lost for ever and our lives will be poorer for it”, said Helen Phillips, chief executive of Natural England.

    colono responded:
    Monday, May 19, 2008 at 16:20 (722)

    Mark Klein & Thomas Malone at The Climate Collaboratorium: Harnessing Collective Intelligence to Address Climate Change Issues at MIT Center for Collective Intelligence seem to agree in part to what I was getting at above:

    “Global climate change is perhaps the most pressing and important problem currently facing humanity. It is also unique by virtue of being a truly systemic problem of vast complexity: it affects every one of us, and is directly affected by every one of our actions. Like nothing else, dealing with climate change calls upon us to engage in effective collective decision making on a global scale.”

    colono responded:
    Monday, May 19, 2008 at 16:24 (725)

    more on that Malone note:


    “I recently interviewed Stephen Buckley from MIT’s Center for Collective Intelligence. He used the example of global climate change to explain the necessity of collaboration:

    “One of the problems that we have identified, and want to help people study, is global climate change. This is a problem that really spans a whole lot of disciplines. There is the scientific aspect to it, and then there are the economic and political aspects of it. Now that we have classified the existence of the problem, how do we navigate the scientific challenges, the organizational, economic and political challenges, still has to work itself out.””

    colono responded:
    Monday, May 19, 2008 at 17:03 (752)

    While clicking around for this entry and the comments (and in general doing research on climate change science for a workshop here in the Amazon) I just came across this site:

    “What is Collective Intelligence?

    Collective intelligence is the capacity of human communities to evolve towards higher order complexity and harmony, through such innovation mechanisms as differentiation and integration, competition and collaboration.”

    Will have a look to see if it tells us something new and good 🙂

    Bug said:
    Wednesday, May 21, 2008 at 00:41 (070)

    Interesting stuff……but I dont think this -> is going to fix it all… many places this is a form of “sprawl”………do you have any thoughts on New Urbanism?

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s