The Effluence of Man

“Be fruitful and multiply, and fill the earth, and subdue it”

Way back, way back in the dawn of human history, this is what God told Adam and Eve to do.

“. . . and rule over the fish of the sea and over the birds of the sky and over every living thing that move on the earth.”

Now since that ancient job description was laid on us by the One who had set it all into motion . . . that is what we humans have done. Look around and you will notice that, yes, we have taken charge of things here. Our present arrangement includes, for instance, a bureau of wildlife and fisheries, among the many agencies and entities of our civilization.

Consider that couple I mentioned earlier, Adam and Eve. When they were told leave the special garden, they wandered out upon the earth. And the earth was a wonderful place. But it was also a wild place. Homo Sapiens was, in truth, not the only critter roaming around. There were many others; some were relatively easy to get along with, and to manage. Others, not so much. Some were downright vicious, even murderous, and  we humans had to deal with them.

We had to “subdue” them. We had to whoop them into submission, or sometimes even slay them.

Life was not easy for the early people. They managed to pull it off, you know, and to slay the wild beasties, and to erect structures to shield us from the heat of the sun and the cold of winter. Taking unto ourselves native resources we managed to subdue the natural world in in such a way that we could actually survive, and not only that, but . . . prosper!

Yes, prosper we did. Big time. Look around in 2019 and you will see that we have taken this subduing and ruling and managing earth’s bounty to such a point of advanced development that you can hardly find a spot on earth now that hasn’t been somehow impacted by what we do.

Ole Adam, you know, when he had wandered around for awhile, discovered a little odd wrinkle of unpleasant result that he had to deal with. Whenever he and Eve and their kin would take unto themselves some fruit of the field or slain beast of the earth and consume it through the mouth, a little while later, a deposit would be ejected from the the lower end of themselves.

Probably, in that early phase, that deposit was not such a big deal. Oh yes, it smelled a little unpleasant, and it obviously was not a thing to be handled by hand, or re-consumed, or anything like that, so chances are they could just step around it and keep on goin’.

Since that time mankind has become so adept at subduing earth, and so prolific with not only the good stuff but also the bad stuff . . .  we find that we have quite an accumulation of stuff that we leave behind, stuff that—if we didn’t deal with it, it would come back to haunt us.

So we deal with it in a way that makes some scents:


And we have to remember too that our deposits are not only of the fecal category. There are other deposits, many varieties of stuff that we release into the earth. While some of it goes down, such as the effluence dropped into that facility pictured above—some of it goes up.

Up until a few hundred years ago, our stewardship assignment from God did not necessarily seem like such a big deal. We figured out that mankind was faced with certain clean-up chores. These chores must accompany our subduing of the natural environment, or we have a bit mess on our hands.

But then two hundred or so year ago, we started powerizing everything we do. Industrialization ramped up with the steam engines, burning fossil fuels to power our development in such an advancing way that our impact on the subdued world was multiplied exponentially . . .

and the next thing you know, it got ahead of us, and we had a big mess on our hands.


Now when I was a young man—I’m talking 1950’s-60’s etc—some of us caught a whiff of what would happen to us and our planet if we didn’t somehow get a handle on this thing.


As it turns out, not only do we “subdue” the earth, but we discover along the way that if we don’t resolve to act responsibly, the earth will react against us in a big way. What happens is: the air and water throws right back at us, injuriously, much of that same junk we have been dumping up and dumping down on God’s green earth.

So it turns out that in addition to subduing the earth, we must, in some careful ways, subdue ourselves. We need to curb our effluence and control our emissions. Otherwise, down the road we’ll be up shit creek without a paddle.


Now there are a whole bunch of noxious substances and complex-molecule compounds out there floating around in the mudholes of our civilization. Many of them are not easily broken down by natural processes, although they do seem to disappear. . . out of sight, out of mind—smoke, smut, exhaust, particulates, sulfur dioxide, chemical waste, polycarbonated biphenals, etc., carbon monoxide . . .

Yes, Virginia, there is an awful lot of this unhealthy stuff going up and down every day that we need to deal with. And you know what?  We need to curb our wastes as much as possible. Just like mama always said, Clean up after yourself.  This is true on a worldwide level.

 We have figured out that we do need to clean up on a planetary level, because we, the human race, do occupy this planet on a worldwide level. Nowadays, the folks who are paying attention to this sort of thing think it’s all about carbon emissions, and they’re making a big issue about it. But actually it goes much deeper than just carbon emissions.

There are, in truth, a few, you might say, “canaries” out there in our great planetary coal mine–the industrialized  world–and those birdbrain indicators are obsessing that, yes, collaborative stewardship is necessary if we are going to retain any decent quality of life on our planet for future generations. Reminds me of Genesis:

“. . . and rule over the fish of the sea and over the birds of the sky and over every living thing that move on the earth.”

“Rule over” does not mean merely control; it also means: Protect. Protect those fish and birds . . . and, btw, all the rest of us critters, especially those who walk around on two legs.

In the current playing out of this scenario, I came across an article this morning that identifies and analyzes constructively some of the issues we are now–and will be from now until eternity—dealing with in order to subdue our planetary problems.

Chris Martenson writes a cogent analysis that initiates a process of clearing the hyped-up political air:

Let’s work together and work this mess out. Do unto your political opponents as you would have them do unto you.

Song:  Deep Green 

Glass half-Full


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