A recent outbreak of mass protests called the Extinction Rebellion has swept across the world. The movement uses civil disobedience to pressure world governments to decrease their environmental impact at the risk of causing social and ecological collapse.
These extinctions have happened naturally five times in Earth’s history, but this extinction level event is different. It is caused not by nature – but by human beings who have bought into a white supremacist system of western values.
The indigenous people of the world are very familiar with the destructive power of white values systems. Even whites themselves admit that they have always had a culture of savagery.
In addition to scholarly works like the Iceman Inheritance, a growing number of white intellectuals are taking ownership for the devastation their groups are responsible for.
“Europe was the most savage part of the world for 500 years. Part of the reason Europe conquered the world was because it had a culture of savagery that was beyond anything that anyone saw anywhere else …thats why small European armies could conquer big groups; partly they were ahead in the technology of war but partly it was just the culture. In fact, for centuries [European’s] prime concern was to slaughter one another. That was part of the imposition of the nation-state system. It’s a brutal, murderous system. Everywhere it’s been imposed its been a disaster. It took centuries to impose it in Europe and it was centuries of savagery… One 17th century war wiped out a third of the population of Germany! So its an extremely savage civilization that extended its atrocities all over the world and if anyone resisted they went berserk…they practically wiped the place out.” – Noam Chomosky
Western values have been destructive not only for humanity, but for other forms of life that we share the planet with.
For example, Indigenous Americans lived in harmony with the ecosystem of North America for more than 12,000 years – only hunting as much as they needed, using every part of the animal after its death.
Then white settlers arrived.
In less than 100 years Bison were hunted almost to extinction. By the mid-1880s, Bison numbers were reduced from millions to just a few hundred.
White settlers hunted the animals relentlessly – not for food but for economic expansion. Bison and other animals were shot, killed, and skinned on the spot. Their bodies were left to decay, and white settlers carried off the valuable pelts for trade.
The story was the same in South Africa, where our Ancestors also lived in harmony with their ecosystems. But when White explorers landed there, they hunted each and every quagga down and killed them. The last wild quagga was shot in the late 1870s, and the last specimen in captivity died on August 12, 1883 at the Artis Magistra zoo in Amsterdam.
Whites have also hunted the Dodo, the Cave Lion, the Aurochs cattle, the Caspian Tigers, the defenseless Sea Cow, and the Tasmanian Tiger all into extinction.
Most of these creatures played important roles in supporting the natural balance of their environments. And most of these creatures were not hunted for food, but for sport or commercialism.
And that is the crux of issue:
A white supremacist sense of entitlement and rampant consumerism is integral to the system of white supremacy. It fueled the slave trade. It fueled colonialism. And now it is fueling mass extinction. And when there are no more animals alive to profit from, unrestrained consumerism demands that companies plow up the ground and burn down the forests to feed the insatiable appetites of Christmas shoppers.
Factories are built to process these (often looted) raw material, poisoning the people nearby who pump their employee paychecks right back into the system.
The world is on the brink of a mass extinction.
If the Extinction Rebellion is honest about its aims, their target must shift from a focus on governments and corporations to the white values systems that made their exploitation possible in the first place.