In a recent puff piece by National Public Radio (USA), Danish journalist Sidsel Overgaard gushed over an upcoming trend for exuberant foodies: “jellyfish chips.” Overgaard extolled them as an answer to falling fish stocks and the concomitant explosion of jellyfish blooms around the planet thanks to global warming. Puerile? Perhaps. But the normalization of climate change and our existential crisis has become all too common in recent years. And the trend to make it profitable is even more disturbing.
It may be a symptom of oversimplification and the pervasive nonsense of an aggressive, irrational and willfully blind optimism; or a byproduct of the corporate mindset and the repressed angst that accompanies late stage capitalism. But the curse of positive thinking has aided in creating huge blind spots that allow us to ignore the impending collapse of the biosphere that sustains us all. It is not to say that we should all be pessimists of course. Far from it. But ignoring reality or greenwashing it with trendy alternatives will not make the looming catastrophe vanish either.
The prevailing and dominant economic model based upon industrial scale consumption and neoliberal (free market) capitalism has ushered in an age where when one species is decimated another, “previously less desirable,” one is turned to for unbridled exploitation. Haddock, cod and tuna were ruthlessly harvested until their numbers crashed catastrophically, so fish like farmed tilapia were “up marketed” to replace them. And this is not only true of fish populations. Forests and farms have also suffered from insatiable plunder of more profitable timber or the “monoculturing” of crops.
Industrial scale technology fed the all consuming, insatiable monster of global capitalism. Today all life is being rapidly commodified for fast profit and easy disposal. But this scale of industry demands the burning of the earth’s deadly, primordial blood and a livable climate can only withstand so much. Global biodiversity is now in a staggering state of free fall, out doing the speed of the previous five mass extinction events in the earth’s geologic history. Climate change is wreaking havoc on the world’s oceans. Acidification, coral bleaching, plastic pollution, dead zones, toxic and radioactive chemicals are all contributing to the mass extinction of scores of fish species and other marine life. It is a human driven carnage that is off the scale.
But don’t worry. According to some enthusiastic foodies we’ll have tons of jellyfish chips to feast on in hip bistros when every other lifeform in the sea is gone forever.
Kenn Orphan 2017
More willful blindness.