The Great Barrier of Nationalism

In the last post, Today is Earth Overshoot Day, the mariner wrote of global issues that are ignored by governments around the world. Water and minerals have reached an end game and face inadequacy during this century. Food is both abused by waste and unavailable to millions because of political obstruction. Ecosystems of all kinds are wantonly destroyed to increase profit. One-third of the Gulf of Mexico is a dead sea because of the toxicity flowing off the Mississippi River. 90% of Monarch butterflies have disappeared. Coral reefs around the world are dying. Coral is the bottom of the food chain; without coral whole species of fish and mammals will disappear. Much of Micronesia will vanish beneath the sea in 50 years. Although we know deforestation of great forests is not good for our atmosphere, yet the clearing continues.

The mariner knows he sounds like Chicken Little but the ramifications of not caring about our planet or ourselves already are measurable. While there is a futile attempt by multiple nations to limit Carbon Dioxide, that effort miserably falls short of functional change, let alone actually modifying global circumstances. Still, governments feign ignorance about global warming and converting to alternative energy now and deny passing legislation to prevent profit taking at the expense of everyone’s biosphere.

Why is each nation so reticent to join with others to avoid terminal catastrophes for humanity? The answer is nationalism. The twenty-first century presents issues that can only be solved if the world politic changes its priorities. These priorities are not nation-sensitive. The type of government does not matter be it communist, socialist, capitalist, authoritarian, monarchy or tribal. In every case, the wellbeing of the nation, its economy, its culture, and its advantage among nations, are the first priority.

The one new nation that has evolved without nationalist priorities is corporations. Focused on profit as a first and last cause, corporations glean unfathomable amounts of cash and assets from the world economy. This cash is used to grow and acquire more assets or it is parked in long term investment. Corporate profit is sufficient to take serious steps toward global rejuvenation but does not for the sake of profit. If the sums stored away by corporations were taxed for the benefit of global issues, relatively simple issues like fossil fuels could be bought outright – diminishing the pressures against Earth’s biosphere in short order. Although the solution is simple, the process is tangled in worldwide nationalism – nations who benefit from their corporate contributors.

Operating largely outside the jurisdiction of nations, corporations are in effect today’s pirates – not roaming the seas but roaming the Internet that allows rapid reorganization and fast-dollar marketing and to move to nations that are more amenable and enable larger profits. The Trans-Pacific Partnership in Congress right now will make participating corporations virtually impervious to nation-based human rights and labor law. Corporate payoffs to legislators and kings are huge and difficult to resist.

To a small degree, one can understand greed as a goal. Certainly, it is personally rewarding. On the other hand, fairness is a tangible factor. If one makes a mess in a friend’s home, one pays the price of cleaning the mess rather than leaving it for the friend. Somehow, governments have forgotten fairness. Some of this forgetfulness can be attributed to outdated government concepts. The founding fathers of the United States left fairness to the individual so that there can be freedom for all, freedom to pursue happiness, etc. This liberated the new country from the abuses of colonialism but it provided no structure for fairness. If one could pick a single issue why the US and State governments are broken, one would have to say the governments don’t enforce fairness – hence the ease with which the US has become an oligarchy and allows the fast-buck, under-taxed marketplace.

Humanity has been unfair to Mother Earth. All of human history has been an expansion of skimming Earth’s riches but not cleaning human mess, not restoring or respecting what Earth has given toward our arrogant sense of success. Not only has humanity been thoughtless, humanity has been wanton. Without Earth, there would have been no success; without Earth now, there will be no humanity tomorrow. A respected ecologist has put the end 600 years from now.

Ancient Mariner

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