The War on Terra

“BE WORRIED. BE VERY WORRIED. Climate change isn’t some vague future problem – it’s already damaging the planet at an alarming pace. Here’s how it affects you, your kids and their kids as well.” Time magazine, April 3, 2006.

Which, as Jose Arguelles of the Law of Time foundation has already pointed out, makes old Gaia sound like a nasty piece of work who has it in for you and your kids and their kids. James Lovelock’s latest book is titled ‘The Revenge of Gaia’.

Prepare for the War on Terra!

Chile has taken a bit of hammering recently. In her 200th year she suffered a massive earthquake on 27 February. According to the Washington Post, the tsunami raised by the quake destroyed a shipyard where Raul Bustos, mechanic and father of two worked. A few months later he took a job at a certain gold and copper mine in the Atacama desert region. On 5 August, he was one of the 33 men trapped 4 miles by track and 2000 feet vertically in the mine, after a collapse sealed a section of tunnel. The men managed to attach a message written in red to one of the drills rescuers bored down to their location.

Yesterday, 13 October, all 33 men were rescued one by one via a cage-and-cable they called ‘the phoenix’. The world watched and wept along with the men and their families, reunited after the underground trauma. It was a joyous moment.


Chileans greet the emergents

By Martin Mejia, AP


But did the whole thing not remind you of another televised emergence? Yes, the emergence from the Big Brother House. Each man emerged, wearing wrap around shades thanks to razor-sharp product placement by Oakley, into lights and cheering and microphones and national songs. If only it had not been so dark down there, we could have had cameras and web cams and played back the miners’ more difficult moments to them once they came out. Movie and book rights have probably already been dealt with.

All’s well that ends well. But have we learned the lesson here? When world headlines about the rescue are by and large along the lines of ‘A triumph of technology and human spirit’, I wonder.

It seems to me that Gaia took a bunch of hostages, and after a sufficiently long period to guarantee maximum global attention, released them unharmed. Yes, testament to man’s ability to drill very deep holes in the ground. Testament to the human spirit in that coffee and sandwiches were sent down those same holes that gold and copper were sucked through. The great victory reverberates.

But I wonder if much thought has been given to the hostage taker. Just as in the War on Terror, the other side has no voice. No one stops to wonder why it is that they are taking hostages at all.

From Hernan Cortez destroying the Inca to cluster bombs in the catacombs of Tora Bora, our attitude has not changed. We are still the Sky People who fled blood-red and devastated Mars, or some planet like it, alighting here on Planet Earth for its gold and copper and hope the mounds of toxic sludge fall down the other side of the mountain.

The Earth does not want to fight us. But we are leaving her no choice. And she has a rather vaster array of terra weapons than “Al Qu’aida” and all the Sky People put together.

Celebrating technology and human spirit in that context might start to look a bit like George Bush’s “Mission Accomplished” [in Iraq] speech aboard the USS Abraham Lincoln way back in 2003.



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