Yes, I know. You’ve heard it all before. Or, you haven’t and don’t care. Or, the whole idea terrifies you and you’d rather not know.
But this isn’t a piece to frighten, bamboozle or preach. Looking at the news; hearing, watching, and reading items about what has now popularly become labelled the #ClimateEmergency, I’ve detected certain elements that seem to be neglected, some more so than others. So, I thought I’d share some thoughts and see what sort of response I get.
1. Population. Evidence, both historical and current, suggests humanity is the most destructive species on the planet and has been since we became an identifiable family. Might we reduce our effect on nature and the environment if we weren’t so successful in our breeding habits? Maybe we could use our science to reduce population growth, rather than extend it? As far as we know, we’re the only species capable of deliberately engineering our chances of ‘beating’ Nature at the evolution game. Maybe it’s time to look at how good that’s really been for us and the planet as a whole? If you’d like to see our current state and growth, click here (World pop is at 7,759,223,595 as I draft this – 11:39, 22nd Jan 2020.)
2. Consumerism. This may upset the USA and those other countries that follow the ‘American Dream’. Is it time to take a step back and examine the consequences of our drive toward material possession as a desirable measure of success? After all, the more we consume, the more we deplete the Earth’s resources, and the more likely we make conflict in the desire to obtain those, often diminishing, resources.
3. Urbanisation. The larger the city populations, the fewer the individuals who have any real connection with nature and the more likely the alienation of many from the consequences of their actions regarding the natural world. Should we consider the idea of decentralisation of industry, commerce and government, to remove the inevitable congestion that results from such concentration?
4. Transport. Does it strike you as odd, even unwise, that so many workers are forced to travel often long distances simply to reach their place of work? Frequently it must be the case that John, who lives in place A travels to place B, where Jane lives and is travelling to place A for the same work. Perhaps we should consider the idea of enabling and incentivising employers who show preference for local workers?
5. Science. In certain nation states and other localised pockets of opinion, science is mistrusted even more than the words of politicians. It might be difficult for many to understand how this can be. But one topic is rarely brought to book: the simple fact that religion, as a general rule, requires its adherents to believe in, have faith in, something for which there’s either no evidence or where the evidence is seriously compromised by its own internal contradictions. Perhaps, and I suggest this with some trepidation, it’s time to question our global, national, and local laws that require us to show respect for such beliefs. Most religions, through their doctrine and dogma, encourage belief in things that are unproven and often unprovable: such encouragement devalues the reality of science.
There are, of course, many more aspects of the way we live we need to examine. Often, we go through life happily continuing habits and activities without any real consideration of the consequences of what we do.
Two major and urgent problems face our world today:
1, the rapid decline in many species, leading to a probable mass extinction, the results of which are unknown;
2, the increase in greenhouse gases, which inevitably leads to higher global temperatures resulting in greater meteorological extremes, including drought, flooding, heatwaves and sudden freezes, and the increasing intensity of all storms. That these events are often apparently contradictory leads many people to question the science, because they see them in local rather than global terms.
Mixing up ‘weather’ with ‘climate’ is possibly the biggest instance of scientific ignorance standing in the way of change.
Weather is local.
Climate is global.
I could go on for many pages. But my intention here is simply to ask questions and hopefully get some dialogue going on urgent problems facing us as a species. The world, the planet, will continue for countless millennia regardless of whether or not we inhabit it. Our own future as a species on this small rock in space is, however, an entirely different matter.
Please comment below. And, if you’d like to see the discussion widened, share this post on whatever social media you use. Thank you.