“Find out just what any people will quietly submit to and you have the exact measure of the injustice and wrong which will be imposed on them.” (Frederick Douglass)
Reason #1: 37 million bees died in the month of June 2013.
Reason #2: Women earn 77 cents for every dollar a man is paid.
Reason #3: The United States constitutes roughly 5% of the earth's population but consumes more than 25% of the earth's “resources.”
Reason #4: A 30% rise in ocean acidification.
Reason #5: Every 20%, a child dies as a result of poor sanitation. This means 1.5 million preventable deaths each year.
Reason #6: The U.S. Department of Defense -the interventionist institution formerly known as the War Department- is the biggest polluter on Planet Earth, releasing more hazardous waste than the five largest U.S. chemical companies combined. To add insult to injury, the world's worst polluter also gobbles up 54% of U.S. taxpayer dollars.
Reason #7: Total student debt now exceeds the total consumer debt and recently passed $1 trillion.
By now, you’ve likely caught on that I’m offering some urgent and salient motivations to express outrage. For the remainder of this article, please allow me to introduce a bunch more reasons to hit the streets -and stay there:
Reason #8: In the United States, 2660 children are born into poverty every day.
Reason #9: More than a decade after the U.S.-led invasion, Afghanistan has the highest infant mortality rate in the world -257 deaths per 1,000 live births- while 70% of the population lacks access to clean water.
Reason #10: Corporations enjoy "personhood."
Reason #11: Roughly 50 million Americans are without health insurance. Angry yet?
Reason #12: Eighty-one tons of mercury is emitted into the atmosphere each year as a result of global electric power generation.
Reason #13: In Pakistan, it's been found that one in seven U.S. drone strikes result in a child fatality.
Reason #14: Forty-four percent of the U.S. death row population is African-American (an ethnic group that constitutes only 12.6 percent of the nation’s people as a whole).
Reason #15: Hydro-fracking;
Reason #16: Tar sands extraction;
Reason #17: GMOs;
Reason #18: Homelessness;
Reason #19: Sweatshops.
Reason #20: Veal crates, fur farms, whaling ships, carriage horses, battery cages, dog fight rings, slaughterhouses, zoos, circus, rodeos, and the morally indefensible/scientifically fraudulent institution of animal experimentation. Has any emotion been stirred?
Reason #21: Gay bashing;
Reason #22: Landmines;
Reason #23: Strip malls;
Reason #24: Strip mining.
Reason #25: Every 28 hours, in the United States, a black person is killed by a police officer, security guard, or self-appointed vigilante. Is it possible you’ll tear yourself away from your smart phone long enough to recognize that we’ve reached the point of no return?
Reason #26: War criminals like Henry Kissinger, Bill Clinton, Dick Cheney, and Madeleine Albright walk free while folks like Leonard Peltier, Mumia Abu-Jamal, Lynne Stewart, and Bradley Manning remain in cages.
Reason #27: Nuclear weapons/waste/depleted uranium.
Reason #28: The annual worldwide use of pesticides is 500 billion tons.
Reason #29: The meat and dairy-based diet is the number one source of annual worldwide human caused greenhouse gas -all in the name of an industry also responsible for unspeakable animal cruelty, an epidemic of preventable human diseases, exploited human labor, the destruction of one-third of the planet’s land surface, and more control/profit for the 1%.
Reason #30: Under-nutrition contributes to five million deaths of children under five each year in developing countries. Do you believe those most responsible for the current state of affairs will voluntarily change their behavior any time soon? If not, when will you step up?
Reason #31: Every square mile of ocean now hosts 46,000 pieces of floating plastic.
Reason #32: The planet's leading cause of human death and illness is diarrhea and 88% of these deaths are directly linked to a lack of access to safe water.
Reason #33: Ninety percent of the large fish in the ocean are already gone.
Reason #34: Eighty percent of the world's forests are already gone.
Reason #35: Every single day, 200,000 acres of rain forest are destroyed.
Reason #36: Every single day, 150-200 plant and animal species go extinct.
Reason #37: Every single day, 13 million tons of toxic chemicals are released across the globe.
Reason #38: Every single day, 25,000 to 30,000 children under the age of five die from preventable causes. How much longer will you wait? How much time do you think we have?
Reason #39: Here in the (US), the land of the free, 1 in 31 adults is in prison, on parole, or on probation.
Reason #40: Here in the (US), the home of the brave, every 46 seconds, a woman is raped.
This is our way of life!
"The earth is not dying. It is being killed, and the people killing it have names and addresses." (Utah Phillips). All that I just listed is but a minuscule sampling of what business-as-usual has wrought. It’s standard operating procedure within our beloved “way of life” and, as Barack Obama announced to world at his first inauguration: “We will never apologize for our way of life nor will we waver in its defense.”
Reason #41: “Our way of life” has brought us to the brink of social, economic, and environmental collapse. Each of us plays a role in the endemic carnage and it’s long overdue we own up to our culpability. However, there’s an elite group of international criminals -now identified as the 1%- most responsible for the perpetual omni-cide. These insatiable sociopaths will never change their behavior voluntarily, which of course means: It’s up to us. Our entire belief system was on trial and each of us remains on trial. Before a final verdict is reached, we must ask ourselves: In this global crime spree called “our way of life,” will I be an accomplice or will be a monkey-wrencher?
Reminder: Complacent = Complicit. There is no neutral. I’ll see you on the streets, comrades…
Mickey Z. is the author of 11 books, most recently the novel Darker Shade of Green. Until the laws are changed or the power runs out, he can be found on an obscure website called Facebook.