I am 56 years old. I read Rachel Carson's Silent Spring when I was 12 years old. When I finished her iconic treatise, I made two fundamental decisions: 1) I would not bear children, and 2) I would be an activist for the rest of my life. I am so glad that I achieved both those goals, especially considering where humanity finds itself at present...
During my brief tenure on this planet, I've witnessed:
--the heavy metal pollution of this planet's groundwater
--the nationwide existence of 'Superfund Sites' that are so toxic, massive amounts of our tax dollars have been allocated to 'clean up' these abandoned, hazardous areas (visit Superfund websites and you'll find "Superfund for Kids!")
--an exponential increase in diabetes, heart disease, and other diseases directly linked to the consumption of refined sugars and animal products (let's not even BEGIN to discuss hydrogenated oils...)
--the 'War on Drugs' (an ironic ploy that benefits the uber wealthy in two primary ways: more money, more money, more money; and keeping the hoi polloi distracted and addicted)
--a pile of floating garbage--in surface area, the size of the state of Texas--in the doldrums of the Pacific Ocean AND in the Atlantic
--a measurable decline in the amount of food fish we pull out of our oceans and lakes
--the steady decline of the honeybee population worldwide (called "Colony Collapse Disorder" by the scientists who are 'struggling' to identify the causes)
--nutritional deficiencies in almost every fruit or vegetable harvested since the 70s
--vast swaths of soil erosion and silt runoff
--measurable declines in the quality and flavor of most produce
--GLOBAL monopolies on seed stocks
--Genetically modified foods (should I mention Pink Slime?)
--cross contamination of vegetable foodstuffs from cattle and dairy operations
--inhumane treatment of cattle, sheep, goats, pigs, calves, chickens, turkeys, geese and ducks
--Three Mile Island
--the BP disaster in the Gulf of Mexico
--Monsanto (need I say more?)
--Global Climate Change
--a growing percentage of adults (as of the 90s, this figure was forty percent) who are functionally illiterate (thus, easily manipulated)
--a now ubiquitous 'message delivery system' (television) that has turned a significant number of humans into distracted, misinformed zombies
--a toxic, dangerous economic system that has concentrated the wealth of this planet into the hands of a minuscule fraction of our planet's global population (writing the representative percentage requires scientific notation with a large negative exponent).
--destructive, endless 'wars' based on lies and profitability (and, don't even get me started about Depleted Uranium)
--a radical shift to exponential growth (read 'change') that few recognize and even fewer discuss.
I don't have time to list all of the other issues I've been witnessing. This would take weeks, if not months.
I'm watching as more and more of us resort to 'react' mode, letting our inchoate fears and frustrations manifest as road rage, name-calling, sarcasm, and other forms of mental, emotional and physical violence. Do I think we humans are experiencing a critical tipping point in our evolution as a species? You bet. Do I think we can do anything about it? I'm skeptical, although #Occupy gives me a modest measure of hope.
We’ve reached a stage in our evolution where the tiniest stressors create the most enormous fissures. I find it disheartening that some among us dismiss concerns about these events as “end time fear.” The grim fact remains: we have no frame of reference for what IS happening.
(BTW, I don’t think we’re witnessing ‘end times,’ because this incredible planet WILL survive our species’ vile, narcissistic hedonism.)