And God said, “Let us make man in our image, after our likeness: and let them have dominion over the fish of the sea, and over the fowl of the air, and over the cattle, and over all the earth, and over every creeping thing that creepeth upon the earth.”
– Genesis 1:26-28
You know the deal: if there is a choice to be made—the environment or the human need to destroy shit—the latter wins out. Every time. If we had a slogan, it would be “Humanity — Fucking Up Everything Natural for 200,000 Fun-Filled Years.” This was true long before anyone thought to write this concept down, and then some enterprisingly insane Israelite decided to frame it as a holy edict by this God thing they made up: Dominion. The Torah, or as the Christians started calling it a few centuries in, the Bible, is silly with it. Webster’s defines it as “sovereignty or control,” or in more detailed conventions, “a governmental system.” Given this, we are responsible for this planet, but more times than not, provided a choice between the planet and us, we choose us. Welcome to humanity, the virus of our terrarium.
Okay, so there is my opening paragraph for Earth Day.
When my fantastic new managing editor, Dan Alleva, asked me to add my two cents to this occasion, I shuddered. But I like Dan. He is doing a fine job already. He deserves much better than this, because I believe he generally cares about this thing. And that is quite noble—if not a tad naïve, at least from this damaged perspective.
“Yeah, we know, Campion… we’re all doomed, blah blah blah.”
Well, this seems about right, especially when considering I was asked to play at a No Nukes rally in the mid-eighties and showed up with a song I wrote titled “Living in the Underground” that gleefully hoped for the end of times so we can all dance around in a tunnel to Elvis Presley records, or that I was invited to speak at a Tea Party thing in the late aughts in which within the first two minutes I called everyone there a blithering idiot before being roundly booed off the stage. And then, there was the time a thoughtful and brilliant writer asked me to pen a screed on freedom of speech for an online community of creatives, and I handed in 3,000 words of such rancid bellicosity that she could not run it.
So, considering the source, you are probably not going to get any kumbaya out of me. And to be fair—even in the context of the great human experiment: America—the previous administration was the kindest ever to the Earth in its policies. I believe most of it was overkill and hindered our economic growth, and so I am as guilty as anyone in assisting in the planet’s demise. Quite frankly, I will always be guilty of choosing my own comfort over the Earth. We all do. Come on. Shit, Al Gore spent years decrying Global Warming while whisking around in a private jet. Why? Because Al Gore is a human, and he can’t help it. We mean well, or we think we do—coming up with fancy philosophies and mottos and (ahem) Earth Days, but we still merrily burn fossil fuels and use plastic all over the joint and eat animals who are filling the ozone with methane.
Right now, as I write this, coal is being burned to make the electricity that lights my way and I used a car to get here to write it. Wait, I have to sip water out of this Styrofoam cup to keep hydrated, so I have the energy to slowly and quite deliberately erode the livable space my kid will have to inhabit.
But for the purposes of mocking the doofus that sits in the White House today, who doesn’t believe in things like science or really any ounce of reality, I offer what our God-fearing country is now doing to help speed (and I do mean speed) along the destruction of the planet, or as the master, George Carlin, put it: “Pack your shit, folks. We’re going away. And we won’t leave much of a trace, either. Maybe a little Styrofoam…. The planet [will] be here and we’ll be long gone. Just another failed mutation. Just another closed-end biological mistake. An evolutionary cul-de-sac. The planet [will] shake us off like a bad case of fleas.”
First our game show president, after he struck Climate Change as a threat to national security, appointed a man who had sued the Environmental Protection Agency 13 times to run it. Scott Pruitt, a science-denying ambulance-chaser from Oklahoma, immediately bragged to the Washington Post that he has “moved to shrink the agency’s reach, alter its focus, and pause or reverse numerous environmental rules.” Then, within weeks of making a move akin to choosing Al Capone to head of the FBI, Pruitt loosened all regulations on toxic air pollution. Because, you know, it’s not bad enough we don’t give a shit about the planet, but we need to use kill-friendly toxicity to ramp it up.
Pruitt then began gutting every clean-water act known to modern law before he had to quit in ignominy under 14 different counts of fraud and who knows what else. The man is scum, even by human standards. But wait, he was replaced by an anti-environmental lobbyist for coal, Andrew Wheeler, who is currently poisoning something, I’m sure.
But these two are merely poster boys for what has transpired thus far over the first two dismal years of this farce.
The United States pulled out of the Paris Climate Agreement that was not necessarily one headed by Barack Obama, but fit into his agenda to “save us” from ourselves. Poor bastard. But the Clean Power Plan was Obama’s baby and of course the Trump Administration has rolled back even the most common sense aspects of it to “save the coal industry,” which is also dying a slow death that has actually accelerated during Trump’s silliness.
Then there’s my favorite, since we all claim to love animals, but really, really don’t: in July of 2018, the Trump administration announced its intention to change the way the Endangered Species Act is administered, saying more weight would be put on economic considerations when designating an endangered animal’s habitat, this includes the Migratory Bird Treaty Act reinterpretation—which means as long as you can make a buck you are allowed to kill birds, lots of birds, endangered or otherwise.
There’s more horrible shit going on, and I haven’t even gotten to China, which will surely erode the ozone so drastically that everyone will have some form of skin cancer to go with all the poison food and allergies and out-of-whack hormonal damage our offspring’s offspring will suffer until we indeed mutate into every creeping thing that creepeth upon the earth.
Did I mention the oceans?
Who has time for that condemned shit? Not me. Gotta get back to polluting.
Happy Earth Day.
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James Campion is the Managing Editor of the Reality Check News & Information Desk, and the author of Deep Tank Jersey, Fear No Art, Trailing Jesus, Midnight for Cinderella, Y, Shout It Out Loud—The Story of KISS’s Destroyer and the Making of an American Icon, and Accidently Like a Martyr—The Tortured Art of Warren Zevon.