George Carlin was an American comedian,actor and author. As well as being a social critic, he was also famous for his reflections on various topics. In this article, we are going to discuss reflections of George Carlin on deforestation and saving planet. As whole, it contains consequences and solutions related to deforestation.
Firstly, we need to know what deforestation is.
What is deforestation?
Deforestation is clearing of forest lands for non-forest purposes like urbanization and industrialization. This reckless cutting of trees leads to many problems like soil erosion, climate change and extinction of species. Melting of glaciers, increased global warming and change in sea level are also included.
Why deforestation is occurring?
There are many reasons behind deforestation. Unfortunately, most of them are because of us. As George Carlin said: ‘Environmentalists changed the word jungle to rain forest, because no one would give them money to save a jungle. Same with swaps and wetlands.’ Likewise, not enough funds are available for management of forestry. Trees can’t be maintained and proper care of trees isn’t taken.
The increasing need for urbanization, industrialization, the need of wood for timber, furniture and for construction all lead to deforestation. Agricultural expansions, forest fires, mining, all are causes of deforestation. It can be noticed that this problem is indirectly because of human activities.
George Carlin in this regard says: ‘The planet is fine. The people are fucked. Because everyone is trying to save the planet. The planet doesn’t need that. The planet will take care of itself. People are selfish. And that’s what they are doing is trying to save the planet for themselves to have a nicer place to live.’ Here, an example of nicer place is having more comfortable, fashionable furniture which leads to more cutting of trees; deforestation.
Consequences of deforestation
As a result of deforestation, many problems arise. Some of them are listed below:
1. Climate change due to global warming
2. Melting of glaciers
3. Soil erosion
4. Extinction of species
9. Decrease in rainfall
10. Loss of biodiversity
In this regard, George Carlin said: “I look at it this way… For centuries now, man has done everything he can to destroy, defile, and interfere with nature: clear-cutting forests, strip-mining mountains, poisoning the atmosphere, over-fishing the oceans, polluting the rivers and lakes, destroying wetlands and aquifers… so when nature strikes back, and smacks him on the head and kicks him in the nuts, I enjoy that. I have absolutely no sympathy for human beings whatsoever. None. And no matter what kind of problem humans are facing, whether it’s natural or man-made, I always hope it gets worse.”
Detailed description of some of these consequences is given below:
Climate change due to global warming:
Due to reckless cutting of trees, carbon dioxide absorption greatly slows down as less trees are available to photosynthesize and use carbon dioxide. Carbon dioxide being a greenhouse gas results in depletion of ozone layer since very less carbon dioxide is absorbed. Consequently, increased global warming occurs. This climate change leads to increased average temperature.
Since trees are cut down, the land becomes exposed making it vulnerable to be washed or blown away. High winds and running water carries away topmost fertile layer of soil making it unsuitable for growing crops.
When trees are cut down, capacity of soil to hold water is greatly reduced. Therefore, infiltration of water into ground is also reduced and flooding occurs.
Extinction of species
Because of loss of natural habitat, many animals die and others are at risk of extinction. George Carlin says: “Humans are the only species on earth who deliberately kill members of a species for personal gain. Or pleasure. Sometimes it’s just fun. We’re also the only species who deliberately kill members of another species for personal gain.”
Decrease in rainfall
Shortly, it can be said that when number of trees are reduced as result of deforestation, process of transpiration is reduced. As a result water cycle gets disturbed and rainfall decreases.
Important saying by George Carlin
“We’re so self-important. Everybody’s going to save something now. “Save the trees, save the bees, save the whales, save those snails.” And the greatest arrogance of all: save the planet. Save the planet, we don’t even know how to take care of ourselves yet. I’m tired of this shit. I’m tired of this Earth Day. I’m tired of these self-righteous environmentalists, these white, bourgeois liberals who think the only thing wrong with this country is that there aren’t enough bicycle paths. People trying to make the world safe for Volvos. Besides, environmentalists don’t give a shit about the planet. Not in the abstract they don’t. You know what they’re interested in? A clean place to live. Their own habitat. They’re worried that some day in the future they might be personally inconvenienced. Narrow, unenlightened self-interest doesn’t impress me.
The planet has been through a lot worse than us. Been through earthquakes, volcanoes, plate tectonics, continental drift, solar flares, sun spots, magnetic storms, the magnetic reversal of the poles … hundreds of thousands of years of bombardment by comets and asteroids and meteors, worldwide floods, tidal waves, worldwide fires, erosion, cosmic rays, recurring ice ages … And we think some plastic bags and some aluminum cans are going to make a difference? The planet isn’t going anywhere. WE are!
We’re going away. 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.
The planet will be here for a long, long, LONG time after we’re gone, and it will heal itself, it will cleanse itself, ’cause that’s what it does. It’s a self-correcting system. The air and the water will recover, the earth will be renewed. And if it’s true that plastic is not degradable, well, the planet will simply incorporate plastic into a new paradigm: the earth plus plastic. The earth doesn’t share our prejudice toward plastic. Plastic came out of the earth. The earth probably sees plastic as just another one of its children. Could be the only reason the earth allowed us to be spawned from it in the first place. It wanted plastic for itself. Didn’t know how to make it. Needed us. Could be the answer to our age-old egocentric philosophical question, “Why are we here?”
Solutions of deforestation problem
- Planting trees; doing afforestation
- Recycle paper
- Reduce paper consumption
- Use eco-friendly products
- Protect rainforests
- Education and awareness
- Enforcing strict laws and regulations
- Avoid palm oil
- Use recycled paper and paper products
- Don’t burn firewood excessively