Sustainability v. Environmentalism
"Leave the baggage behind"
Just as an individual is the product of both his heredity and his environment, so too is a given culture the product of the people who create it and the physical environment in which it develops. For example, Inuit culture is largely constrained by the snow, ice, caribou, and seals that have influenced its development and spread in the Arctic. These elements not only define the material surroundings of the Inuit, but also comprise the sources of inspiration for their stories, songs, ideas and mythical constructs. Likewise, every culture (with the exception of techno-industrial urban culture, which is global in nature and defies the constraints of its immediate surroundings) derives inspiration and materials from its physical environment. Even modern urban societies are constrained by the capacity of the global environment to sustain them. Thus, when discussing our sociological pathology, it makes sense to analyze not only the innate capacity of the people who create our society, but also the environmental constraints that direct our society's evolution.
So let's begin with a definition What exactly do we mean when we say "the environment"? As mentioned above, it has at least two meanings: 1) "the social and cultural conditions that influence the life of an individual" (Webster), and 2) "the physical, chemical, and biotic factors that act upon an ecological community and ultimately determine its survival" (Webster). Obviously, these are two very different concepts; one specifies the human environment, the other, the natural (or nonhuman) environment.
For those of us with a history of environmental activism, the confusion over the term "environment" helps illustrate why the environmental community lacks focus and accomplishment today - and why so many of us involved in "environmentalism" were forced to either hide our personal politics or leave the movement altogether. The problem is that environmental organizations today attempt to address both sides of the environmental coin by fighting land despoilation while concomitantly promoting democratic/Marxist ideals. Modern environmentalists believe it is not just capitalism and consumerism that are dooming the natural world; they believe it is also, patriarchy, racism, classism, tribalism, fascism, and a whole slew of other "isms". While some of these factors perhaps do exacerbate environmental problems, many do not (indeed, fascism is the key to solving most of our environmental problems). Also, modern environmentalists ignore the overpopulation and glut (i.e. democratization) of technology factors that contribute to environmental destruction. The result is that environmental groups that formed (for one of untold examples) to end strip mining in Appalachia will hold workshops on dismantling racism, often before coming close to accomplishing their titular goal(s). Thus, the effort, time, and money that could have been invested in creating solutions to environmental problems are, instead, divested into channels that address social issues for which no adequate solutions have yet been discovered (i.e. our cities are still rife with poverty, starvation, disease, crime, and prejudice, despite sociology's illustrious attempts to ameliorate them).
If the problem with environmentalism is largely the product of the confusion that its name engenders, then perhaps, a new label should be used to describe an environmentalism with a more pragmatic focus. Actually, such a term already exists, and with a little nihilist tweaking, we can make it one that will be useful for our purposes.
Sustainability, in contrast to the ambiguous term "environmentalism", is the idea that human society should operate by utilizing industrial and biological processes that can be sustained indefinitely; this implies that those processes are cyclically rather than linearly oriented. What a brilliant idea!? Instead of living in a nuclear and fossil-fuel crazed civilization that will burn itself out in a few decades, we should instead strive to create a civilization that operates in eternal cycles – reflecting the tested and proven methods of the natural world. Inherent in this cyclical world view is the idea that waste does not exist – each turn of the industrial cycle is the food for the next process (just as in nature soil nutrients become food for trees, which are food for insects, which are food for birds, which are food for fungi, which reincorporate nutrients into the soil to become food for trees).
There are several advantages of using the term sustainability over environmentalism. First, unlike the term environment, it is nearly impossible to bastardize sustainability by turning the philosophy it espouses and its adherents into isms and ists (if you don't believe me, try it). Thus, practitioners of sustainability elude labeling by the public. Second, the term sustainability lacks the baggage that the term environmentalism carries with it. Everyone (well at least the Right) knows that environmentalism is a Leftist movement and should be dismissed at face value because of its unsavory reputation as a bastion of Marxist/socialist/anti-republican ideals. Thus, by adopting the term sustainable to describe our activities we shed this negative association. Third, the term sustainability more accurately describes what nihilists are trying to accomplish – we want a civilization that will persist for countless generations without undermining its own existence. Likewise, we want a civilization that holistically merges with its physical (and biological) surroundings, rather than one that extricates itself from nature (as some environmentalists assert).
It should be obvious that an unsustainable civilization is doomed to failure – it might burn brightly for awhile, but it will eventually fade. It should also be noted that the term sustainable possesses the negative connotation of "stagnation". Thus, for nihilists, we should adopt the more descriptive term "evolutionary sustainability" into our vocabulary. This term imparts a dynamic aspect to sustainability and more accurately describes nihilism's evolutionary focus for society and the individuals who are a part of it. In other words, nihilists realize that evolution is one component of being human (indeed, of being any living being) – new genes emerge as a result of mutation, are shuffled throughout the genome, then passed to subsequent generations, and, if useful to the survival of the race, spread throughout the population. The problem is that natural selection no longer occurs in Western populations. Today, westerners are barely reproducing at replacement level, and even this is not good enough. Defective genes are slowly spreading throughout our genomes (many of these are recessive), and it could be generations before we understand the extent of the damage caused by mutagens, medical technology, and poor breeding during the twentieth and twenty-first centuries. The point is, in addition to our responsibility to future generations to endow them with a habitable planet, we also must bestow them with functioning chromosomes. More than that, we must ensure that the process of evolution continually sharpens our skills – refines our adaptations – to thrive on this world. Thus eugenics is necessarily incorporated into the idea of evolutionary sustainability.
The Earth is our home, it provides all the things we need for survival and nourishment. Anyone who believes in the preservation/development of his nationalist culture, should likewise make it his prerogative to protect the land that engendered the flowering of that culture. Nationalists and fascists are inherently proponents of evolutionary sustainability.
For the last hundred years, we have seen the effects of the "environmental" movement. We have witnessed the culture wars it spawned. It is time for us to leave this term and adopt the more lucid term "evolutionary sustainability" to describe the functioning of a more competent civilization. A circumspect people will adopt a sustainable way of life – they cannot deny that it is a necessity for their long term survival. Forget environmentalism, forget environmentalists, use what works and leave the baggage behind.
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