let the world burn

let the world burn

When reading or engaging in discussions about animal welfare, human-wildlife conflict, or zoonotic disease, things can become emotionally-charged very quickly.
For this article, I recommend using an indica to help keep you focused yet calm and emotionally-regulated. Grinding less than 50mg of indica (much less than 1/4 of a 1g bud) and then smoking just a small pinch of that once or twice over a 3-5hr period is perfect for maintaining a calm state of mind when studying socially-, emotionally-, and even politically-challenging concepts.
Black Flower Science Co. does not claim to be a medical professional and does not offer recommendations as a substitute for medical advice. All advice and recommendations are based on personal experience of the benefits of medical marijuana. If you are experiencing severe or declining mental health symptoms, please seek the advice of a medical professional.

Last year, a world-famous architectural landmark, the cathedral, Notre Dame, found itself ablaze. The world was left stunned and heartbroken, and it looked as if this historical church would be lost forever.

That is, until less than 24 hours later, billionaires around the world raised £519 million, the equivalent of USD 679.2 million.

Yep, you read that right. In less than one day, a few of the richest people and corporations on Earth – including Bernard Arnault (Europe’s richest man), François-Henri Pinault (fashion designer associated with Selma Hayek), Apple, L’Oreal, and Total (an oil corp) freely pledged and gave nearly USD 680 million to rebuild a church.

Now, in and of itself, there is nothing wrong with that. Architecture – especially architecture which is symbolic of religious customs – is at the core of cultures all around the globe. The preservation of architecture is central to the persistence of history and cultural identity. That said, I am in no way against the raising of funds to protect and preserve Notre Dame.

However

Where the hell have all of these billionaires been as the world continues to burn? When the Keystone Pipeline spilled 380,000 gallons of oil onto Native lands in North America? When Flint, Michigan has to depend on a preteen to get the population clean water? When the Amazon rainforest, the lung of the Earth, disappear into smoke? When Jakarta is sinking under the rising ocean? When the entire continent of Australia burns into the new year?

Ah, I know where they’ve been. They’ve been at fancy parties and runway shows, texting sad face emojis as their support to those not privileged enough to get out of the wreckage.

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They’ve been in their limousines having their staff package their luggage and teacup dogs while they’re private firefighters save their million-dollar homes from the same flames ending the lives and businesses of their neighbors.

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They’ve been trying to grasp their last few minutes of fame by attacking the youth fighting against this devastation to get some half-assed media attention.

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Why was it so easy to donate millions upon millions of dollars to a piece of old European architecture than to save the lives of human beings and non-human animals and the Earth for goodness’ sake with that same money? To me, it’s simple. It’s because we value living, not life.

Not only is the underlying tone of conservation and green initiatives inherently Eurocentric (notice how Greta Thunberg, though I love and respect her, has risen to the top of the climate fight instead of – and to the exclusion of – Autumn Peltier or Amariyana Copeny… did you have to look those names up? Yeah that’s the problem.), it is also dangerously inspired by colonialism.

The privileged people of the Global North don’t care about what happens outside of their borders. They don’t. As long as they can take their annual (obligatory or “volunteer,” AKA for the clout) missionary trips to countries of the Global South so they can post pictures of their benevolence on Instagram, they could care less about the devastation that befalls those who can’t leave with them after their visit.

Photo by Priscilla Fraire on Unsplash

They want to live comfortably enough that they can sit in their air conditioned apartments and watch the natural disasters unfold, just far enough to be comfortable but just close enough to feel the reality of the climate crisis and pretend that they are just as vulnerable as Indigenous peoples, impoverished people and nations, and the like.

They value their time on Earth, the fun they can have while they’re still around. They value their manifestation of privilege, their disconnected reality of living, but they do not value life.

If they were to value life, oh, would this world look different. Valuing life itself would mean taking a moment out of our day to talk to an Indigenous person about what the environment means to their culture and heritage, and changing our attitudes and behaviors to respect that. Valuing life would mean taking the time to understand the inevitable effects of losing half the world’s biodiversity and what that means for the planet, the global ecosystem, and our own persistence as a species. Valuing life would mean consciously stepping away from Eurocentrism and respecting all cultures and all people as equal, and all deserving of rescue from the devastation of natural disasters. Valuing life would mean we could raise USD 680 million to save the world right now.

But we don’t value life. Because we can’t. Those of us who are not Kendall Jenner, Jeff Bezos, or some other person loaded down with disgusting amounts of money don’t have the time or means. We are caught in the chains of capitalism, living paycheck to paycheck, trying to shop local but unable to get off work in time to make it to the weekly farmer’s market.

Working two or three jobs to pay off the student loans we were forced to take out but couldn’t afford, and still can’t afford because we can’t get a reasonably-paid job. Raising as much awareness about green initiatives as we can while battling mental and physical health disorders. Crying out to the corporations and governing authorities that own our country only to be ignored or bought out. We are trying every day to just live, to survive. Because that is all we’re given the opportunity to value.

On the other hand, those who have the means, well… they value living in the form of magazine covers. Trips to Paris. To Dubai. Taking private jets and cruises. They live just to live, and nothing more. They don’t give a shit about life, they’ve got their own. Everyone else be damned.

So… let the world burn. Because they don’t want life. They just want to live.


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