The Last Planet on the Left: Climate Change as Revenge

Image by Matt Palmer.

There is a creature stalking the human race, a colossal ferocious beast with tentacles that lash every last corner of the globe, a pitiless monster the likes of which mankind has never encountered, and this thing is out for blood. Its methods are as brutal as they are efficient. Its weapons are as deadly as they are diverse. It will reduce entire villages to ash with blazing infernos and it will drown entire islands in the deep blue sea. It will erase ancient agrarian civilizations in the blink of an eye and engulf once fertile bioregions in billowing waves of towering sand dunes.

This thing is coming after our most precious resources. It’s targeting our food and our water and our children too. It’s pitting us against each other, tribe against tribe, race against race, nation against nation, watching us rip each other to bits just for its own sick sadistic pleasure. Some people swear that it doesn’t even exist, that it’s some kind of boogeyman too ghastly to possibly be real, but then it gets them too. Others have gathered vast armies and built sweeping industries to hunt it down and reign it in. But nothing seems to work. Our deadliest weapons and most advanced technologies seem totally impotent in the shadow of this colossus, and it only seems to grow more merciless by the hour. What have we done to deserve this fate; we beg in our final hour. The beast just laughs and reminds us that we know exactly what we’ve done and that this is exactly what we deserve for our sins.

This creature has many names, myths passed down through the ages between wisemen, poets and heretics. Armageddon. Kali Yuga. Judgement Day. Ozymandias. The Second Coming. The Decline of the West. Most know it today by the title of climate change and despite what some of my fellow libertarians may tell you, this is indeed a very real monster stalking the human race, but the human race is anything but an innocent victim. All of these colorful monikers and metaphors are really little more than elaborate ways for mankind to disassociate itself from the fact that this creature is just the planet itself, Mother Earth, and that deadly bitch is out to spill the blood of her own children because we have spent centuries violating and debasing her for our own carnal pleasures.

We have dumped 365 million tons of carbon dioxide into her atmosphere just so we can drive glorified tanks from our gated suburban plantations to bullshit office jobs in half-empty cities and another 180 million tons has been added to the heap just so we can mow down forests to expand the sprawl. All of this garbage, this commercial ejaculate, has changed the very composition of the atmosphere itself and rendered our oceans into bottomless pits of acid that promise to corrode every last coral reef by the end of the century.

Mother Earth is pissed, she is on a rampage, and as unpleasant as it may be to say out loud, we the species who have ravaged her probably deserve to die for our crimes. Climate change is a horror story alright, but if you’re looking for cinematic allegories to our current existential predicament, you’re going to have to look for something a little darker than your average monster movie or slasher flick. If climate change has a genre, then it is that of the much-reviled rape revenge picture.

Made infamous by Wes Craven’s 1972 debut shocker, The Last House on the Left, the oeuvre typically gets labeled as exploitation cinema and some of it may very well be, but Last House on the Left is one ugly parable deserving of far more respect than that label carries. The story of a group of sadists who rape and murder two teenage girls only to find themselves at the mercy of one of their victim’s vengeful parents, Last House on the Left was actually a brutal statement about a nation who had willingly engaged in a genocidal war in Southeast Asia but was somehow mystified by the fact that their global campaign of ultraviolence had followed them back home in the form race riots and serial killings.

Few people seemed to get the message then and few people seem to get the message now. As Malcolm X astutely observed in the wake of the Kennedy Assassination, the chickens always come home to roost, and this time humanities preference for ignorance could very well lead to its own extinction. Even the liberal establishment’s highly publicized global crusade to combat climate change amounts to little more than an arrogant and feckless gesture by a cabal of deranged ecological sex criminals. Solar farms, wind turbines and electric cars aren’t solutions to this rampage. They are shallow attempts to pay off our terrestrial victim with trinkets of silence so we can continue on with our debauched modern lifestyles and this bribery will only be met by more violence.

There exists no form of green energy on the planet that can adequately sustain our globalist, fossil-fueled superstate, our freeways and metropolises and world trade deals. That is because oil itself is not the problem, we are. This rapacious crime spree that defiled the planet began long before the automobile which has become its perpetrator’s weapon of choice. It began with the Agricultural Revolution. This is when human beings first began to take more from the earth than what we gave back so we could take more and more and more.

Before this point in history, mankind had lived in relative harmony with the planet that sustained us, respecting her boundaries, seeking consent from her soil, and living within our means in a world without race, property, rigid gender roles or organized violence. But then human beings decided to take advantage of a healthy relationship and invented civilization to justify its predation. This is the kind of heinous mistake that only a rapist could make and Mother Earth’s brutal campaign to avenge herself will not cease until mankind forfeits the cruel invention of modern progress and repents.

This doesn’t mean going green. This means going small. Drastically reducing our global presence by dismantling our entire multinational corporate infrastructure and returning to some form of sustainable village life. A world without highways. A world without skyscrapers or jumbo jets. A world without standing armies or the Westphalian nation state. Anything less will be met with nothing in the way of mercy, nor should it be. Unlike the murderous parents of Last House on the Left, our planet is not merely out for revenge. She is out for survival and if human beings refuse to cease living a lifestyle defined by an ecological rape culture, we will be erased.

This is the ugliest truth about climate change, the fact that it might be necessary to keep humanity from obliterating everything of beauty in its wake. With that being said, I am not a misanthropist. I happen to believe in the inherent goodness of mankind as exemplified by Peter Kropotkin in his magnum opus, Mutual Aid. Humanity only evolved to the level of intelligence that we have achieved by working together in harmony with nature. I believe that our choice to abandon that path is what has led us down the dark twisting road to the last planet on the left in an era of devolution that has led us to play the real monsters in our own horror movie.

But I do not believe that it is too late, at least not for all of us. Our best hope as a species is to independently disengage with these systems designed for violation entirely and prepare our individual communities to withstand the earth’s wrath against those who won’t. This means dropping out of our rapacious economy with a self-sustaining network of autonomous communes and homesteads. This means abandoning government and replacing it with culture. A stateless counterculture of mutual aid, localism, voluntaryism, peace and perseverance. In other words, we don’t need a Green New Deal, we need an Amish New Deal.

But more than anything, we must make peace with the creature stalking us and except responsibility for the fact that it was we who made its wrath inevitable. If not, we can expect nothing less than getting exactly what we deserve while we tell ourselves over and over again that it’s only an apocalypse, it’s only an apocalypse, it’s only an apocalypse… while the credits slowly roll into the black abyss.

Nicky Reid is an agoraphobic anarcho-genderqueer gonzo blogger from Central Pennsylvania and assistant editor for Attack the System. You can find her online at Exile in Happy Valley.

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