Some use the word speciesism. Some use anthropocentrism. While still others use humanocentrism. In the end they all lead to the idea of human supremacy. The thought that humans are the central species on the planet and therefore are intolerant of other species and act in a discriminatory fashion by treating “others” as inferior. This belief will terminate humanity.
I eat meat and have been called a speciesist by vegans. Fair enough. Vegans however do not escape the human superiority complex by just living a vegan lifestyle. They, like me, depend enormously on the industrial model. There is no escape of the human supremacy imprint on our lives and outlooks because we live in the dominant culture. The dominant culture is civilization. Civilization requires the importation of our basic human needs. Food, water and our shelter are provided for by the division of labor and the collection of institutions, organizations and business which collectively make up our systemic living arrangement. In order to receive these goods and services the exploitation, oppression and ultimately the extinction of other species is required. Last time I checked very few of us (if any) who have access to readThe Good Men Project are living outside the global industrial system.
Many of us (billions) are supported by the industrial model. Our food shows up and we purchase it. Sure some of use do a bit of research and avoid GMOs and seek out organics, but in the end most of what we buy has been touched by fossil fuels. We’re soaking in it. Whether in production or delivery, fossil fuels play a central role in our food model. “But I buy my produce locally at a farmers market.” How did the food get to the market? How did it ultimately get to your home? How was it produced? This is not a bad choice but its not making a bit of difference in scale. The industrial model will not be stopped because we love it and it is all we know. We think it’s living but instead it’s just making a living.
So what to do? We want polar bears, salmon, old growth forests and rain forests. The predicament is we also want grocery stores, municipal water and a house with heat and central air. We love cars, cell phones and Amazon but not the Amazon itself. We want our children to grow old and enjoy the perks of a growing economy. Our existence is all about us. That’s okay, as long as you don’t mind mass extinctions, severe and abrupt climate change, shortened lives for you and your children, and the mental and physical illness that come along with this brief, shiny, bright existence of our industrial culture. We can’t have civilization without eliminating species and ourselves along with it. That fantasy is about over.
Nature Bats Last and the few left in places like the Brazilian Amazon and Papua New Guinea clearly know what’s not obvious to the rest of us. I’ve been called a fatalist and an alarmist over the years. That’s fine because we are fatally and alarmingly arrogant.
Now say it with me, “My name is (say your name) and I’m a human supremacist.”
Mike Sliwa is a husband and homesteader. He taught high school for 12 years and left his career for a simpler existence. Currently he and his wife are living off grid, perfecting their durable living skills in rural New Mexico. Mike speaks about a wide variety issues concerning simple living, white privilege, abrupt climate change, Near Term Human Extinction, and other consequences of the civilized industrial global economy. He is a co-founder of the social justice speaking agency truality.org. Mike is the author of Chasing a Different Carrot, A Manifesto for the Predicament of Privilege. You can find more information at michaelsliwa.wordpress.com.