Earth

Earth (Photo credit: stef thomas)

Let’s face it, most people don’t care much about the environment today, let alone in the future. We may have a fleeting concern about reports in the news of melting icecaps or disappearing tigers and chopped down rain forests, until we’re easily distracted by the need to cook dinner, get to an important meeting or just watch some mind-numbing rubbish on the television.

Biblical blunder
But one phrase that keeps cropping up in my mind is the Biblical quote about `Man having dominium over every living thing on the earth’. If God had an Environment Minister, that phrase would have been struck out of the Bible for being utterly misunderstood by humans who  think it means  we can trash anything we like because it’s ours to play with. After all, we `rule’ the earth.

So how well are we doing? Do we continue to have a flourishing and expanding bio diversity? I think you’ve guessed the answer.  Here in Britain a recent State of Nature report said 60% of animals and plants have been in decline over the past 50 years. And Britain has lost a staggering 97% of ALL its wildflower meadows since the 1930s. Another 3% to go and we’ll hit the enviro-trashers jackpot.

Forest elephants in the Mbeli River, Nouabalé-...

Forest elephants in the Mbeli River, Nouabalé-Ndoki National Park, Congo. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

And on a global scale, it’s not looking too rosy either.  You’ve probably heard about deforestation, deserts becoming wider and drier and rising sea levels. But I wasn’t aware until recently of the increase of incidents involving the massacre of elephants in Africa. Reports of militia using AK-47s and night vision glasses to hack off the heads of elephants for ivory, whilst infant elephants were left for dead. These massacres are purely to supply ivory for chopsticks and the like. And just before Christmas, another example of our madness, as the last known wild tiger in China was killed and eaten by a villager.

Human paradox

David Attenborough

David Attenborough (Photo credit: London Permaculture)

And yet bizarrely whilst most of us are resigned to this mess, we continue to be inspired by snapshots of nature. We can watch David Attenborough for an hour, sitting there in awe and wonder at our planet’s brilliant mosaic of life. But moments later we’ll do something directly helping to destroy it: like drive to the shop just 10 minutes walk away , or boast about cut price long haul flights – without a second thought for the destruction we’re contributing in our own little way, which combined with everyone else, could eventually lead to the demise of our own species due to lack of habitat and too few resources.

Contradiction or denial?
I can clearly remember a few years ago when I was driving through Streatham in south London behind an enormous tailback with nothing moving. My head was telling me it was everyone else’s fault that the High Road had ground to a halt. “Who are these idiots all needing to go somewhere?” I thought, until I realised that I was also part of the problem. Did I really need my car for that journey? I could have walked in half the time if I hadn’t been so lazy.

English: Streatham High Road, London. SW16

English: Streatham High Road, London. SW16 (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

I’ve been surprised by how so many friends, family and neighbours drive their children to school when its only a short walk away and yet will complain about all the traffic. On the flip side, they’ll complain that kids can’t play on our streets anymore, whilst insisting it’s their right to drive down every damn road whenever they want and often at whatever speed they want. They just don’t see the link.

Blame game
Maybe we could blame Capitalism – it certainly deserves some accolade in the creation/destruction process with its constant urge to consume and make a profit at whatever cost. But ultimately it’s us – mothers, fathers, brothers, sisters, grandparents et al – who are aiding and abetting this destruction even if not intentionally.
There’s no easy solution. Friends often cite that until China does something about pollution etc, there’s no point in us doing anything. That’ll clear their guilt, but it’s an abdication. In some ways I don’t blame them. But it’s quite sad to think about the potential long-term consequences.

I grant you that the pace of modern life makes it increasingly difficult for people to make those little changes that, combined with others, will help protect and boost our environment.  But with our planet experiencing the worst extinction of species since the dinosaurs were wiped out 65 million years ago, it makes me think that if we’re not careful, we’ll go back to the future – a kind of medieval brutal world with few luxuries and a biblical struggle for survival.

Forecast the future
So “who will run the earth once humans have gone?”, as my friend asked. I don’t blame him for his flawed thinking. It was a comedy moment when I realised just how little people think about things and the dangers that follow if we humans big ourselves up too much. We are an incredible species – noted from our exploration into space, planes, high speed trains, the internet and technology.

you want the best for your children...

you want the best for your children… (Photo credit: Solokom)

Maybe I should take a withering leaf out of other people’s books and not give a moments extra thought about what we are doing to our planet. Especially as it’s often the parents of children who seem have the largest carbon footprint. If they’re not bothered – and they’ve got kids – why should I worry?

But equally, at this pace of plundering, one day the planet might just decide that OUR time is up.

One response »

  1. roberta4949 says:

    So most people don’t care about the enviornment? how did you come to that conclusion? hopfully you didn’t come to that because people disagree that the only solution offered by those in authority and experts is the right one, don’t agree with it and don’t want to implement it? From what I gather many people do care just by all the protests against things considered harmful to the enviornment, like anti fracking, and anti GMO amongst others.
    One thing I have learned any time gov/experts offer only one solution to a problem (a very harsh draconaian and violent solution at that) that means that it is a poltical move not a enviormental move, or rather it is a power/land/money/centralization of power grab and has nothing to do with the actual issue. the issue is being used as a veil to hide behind. there are viable methods of solving real enviromental issues without robbing people of their standard of living or their development rights.

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