Nihilism and Beanbag Chairs

We’re all doomed. At least, that’s what I and the majority of my classmates thought at the end of our first week in DHM 1101. Sitting in beanbag chairs (which proved to be both comfortable and stylish) we spoke of our inevitable demise at the hands of ourselves and our corporate overlords. Peppered into our discussions about the wicked problems the Earth has faced and continues to face was the sound of occasional laughter as a plush unicorn (whose name I have yet to remember) was tossed about the room to facilitate further discussion. I think this shows that even when faced with impossible challenges humans can find something to be happy about, even if it is just a stuffed unicorn. This warmed my cold, nihilistic heart, and made me look forward to the next time we get to sit in beanbag chairs and throw a stuffed animal around the room. 

Now that I’ve gotten that exposition out of the way, I’ll get to what I’m actually being graded on, which are my major takeaways and my contributions to the learning community. This past week we watched The 11th Hour, and we did a reading on the collapse of Easter Island. I contributed to our Easter Island discussion by pointing out that history repeats itself and humanity has a proclivity to repeat our mistakes and not learn from them. I also pointed out that capitalism is an unsustainable system that causes environmental destruction long-term.  

My major takeaways from this past week is that human greed has been the reason for so many societies collapsing. Our desire for more and more has led to devastating consequences for our environment and for members of our own species. Corporate and individual greed has led to special interests (I.e., oil and gas lobbyists, etc.) and money being prioritized over human lives and the long-term health of our planet. Unfortunately, this greed for more resources was present with the Easter Islanders, and I wonder if they realized the consequences of their actions either too late or were too blinded by greed to care what was happening. Humanity now has an opportunity to change how we consume resources and learn from those before us. This brings me to my next takeaway; humanity as we know it is doomed. Sounds nihilistic right? In order to save ourselves we will have to drastically change the way in which we make and consume resources. Entire countries will have to change their economies in order to meet the standards needed to sustain human life over the next 100-500 years. I don’t think that humanity is up for the task. Our consumerism has blinded us and made us dependent on consuming more and more to feel any happiness. If I were to give it a guess, I think humanity has about two to three generations left (provided a natural disaster doesn’t wipe us out first) before the climate crisis will cause such severe damage to the environment that it will render it uninhabitable for humans.  

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