Well, it’s official: We’ve really screwed the pooch. Scientists have announced that human beings have altered Earth so much that we’ve now entered the Anthropocene Epoch. To put things in perspective, the epoch we are now exiting, the Holocene Epoch, started approximately in 9,700 BCE. Minus all the war, plague, famine, genocide and Black-Eyed Peas songs, it’s been a pretty good 13,700 years. And we’ve gone and fucked it all up.
I’d say “excuse my language,” but please don’t. Being offended by shit that doesn’t matter and ignoring things that do is what got us here in the first place.
This news came to me earlier this week, in an article I read on the Independent UK’s website. And to be perfectly honest, it’s pretty terrifying. To paraphrase the article, “We’re well fucked,” said in a British accent, of course.
As individuals, human beings are capable of such magnificent feats of kindness that it’s hard to imagine how the world got to be in the shape it’s in. But as soon as you put us in a group setting, we pretty much become assholes. The bigger the group, the more asshole-ish we become. If you want proof, just go to a game between the Oakland Raiders and San Francisco 49ers.
For decades, there have been thousands of scientists saying, “We’ve done some exhaustive research and if we don’t change things quickly, the world is pretty much doomed.” To which an unsettling amount of Americans have responded by belching, “Shut up, four-eyes! Science is a liberal conspiracy. It said so on Fox News.”
I am barely exaggerating. We’ve somehow gotten to a point where people who’ve read and written countless books and have multiple degrees are called cry-babies by a mass of people who’ve only read a smattering of passages from a single book full of spooky, poorly translated stories. For those of you not too quick on the uptake, that book is the bible.
The Democratic Machine is no angel either. Your girl Hillary (OK, fine, reluctantly mine, too, I guess … whatever) almost named her granddaughter Fracking Clinton, but Chevron didn’t offer her enough money. Her plan was to deflect the criticism by just saying she was a Battlestar Galactica fan. But the root of the problem lies in this joke. Our system of onerous and extravagant political bribes — called “lobbying” — has pretty much emboldened our leaders to lead us down this path toward world annihilation. The industries that derive obscene profits from things like fossil fuels, plastic waste and deforestation — thus hastening the end of the world — are paying our elected leaders to not only look the other way, but also assure us that “it’s not that bad.”
As a species, we’ve done some really dumb things. We’ve worn mullets, slept on waterbeds and laughed at Dane Cook’s jokes. But by continuing to elect people who aren’t committed to the environment, we’re acknowledging that not only are we stupid, but we also can’t be trusted not to vote against our own interests. What’s the point of being an elected official if you’re not interested in saving the world? Isn’t that one of the main job requirements?
Well, Holocene Epoch, we had a good run didn’t we? See you in hell.
Stuart Schuffman, aka Broke-Ass Stuart, is a travel writer, TV host and poet. Follow him at BrokeAssStuart.com. Broke-Ass City runs Thursdays in the San Francisco Examiner.Broke Ass CityBroke-Ass StuartSan FranciscoStuart Schuffman