Archive for August 14th, 2001


Tuesday, August 14th, 2001

You Are Going To Die!

John and Bob, two friends from the city, were hiking in the wilderness. They both were new to hiking and so as newbies often do stumbled into trouble. John had gone in to brush to relieve himself when Bob heard him cry out. As Bob ran towards the sound of his friend, he heard John yell watch out for the Rattle Snake.

Bob approached more carefully to discover John had been bitten on the buttock while squatting in the bush. Neither one was sure what to do so Bob covered John with his coat and ran back to the camp to get his cell phone and call his Doctor in the city. The Doctor advised him, “If you want your friend to survive, you must suck out as much of the venom as possible and then get him back to the city as soon as possible.”

John was starting to feel real shaky as he waited for Bob to return. As Bob finally came back into sight, he asked nervously, “What did the Doctor say?”

I am so sorry John. He said you are going to die.”

* * *

The lesson to be learned from this familiar joke is that we humans often condemn ourselves to much worse fates by seeking to avoid those actions that we consider unpleasant. Bob would risk his friend’s life rather than put his lips on his friend’s backside.

This seems to describe our human condition today. We humans have exceeded the limits of our natural environment. There are too many of us. We are consuming too much fossil fuel. We are destroying too many other species of Life. We are damaging too much of our planet. We are polluting too much of our water and air.

The Doctors (some of our best scientists and thinkers) are now saying to our generation of humans, “If we humans want to survive we must reduce our use of fossil fuels by 90%. We must reduce our human birth rate by 90%. We must work together and act responsibly.”

As David Korten says,  “There must be an immediate reordering of priorities. The use of every resource must be optimized to assure the health and physical security of every person with minimal waste. The life support system must be restored to full function as quickly as possible. Everything must be recycled, with no release of toxics into the environment. There will be no luxuries for the few until the basic needs of all are adequately met.”

This means we must change. This means we must accept some unpleasant actions now to avoid a much worse fate later. Are we wise enough to swallow the bitter medicine that can save our lives, our species, and our planet.

Only time will tell.