14/02/2017 by Carl Reynolds
As there is not a piece of land, air or sea in the UK not bearing the mark of homo sapiens, we indulge in a fantasy of wild. Wild has been and gone, sometime back in the long distant past when we arrived, slashed, burnt, harvested all the large mammals, killed off the other human species and laid down our rocks as markers. Here we are. We are the best. We have God given right and dominion over all things. And so the consequences of species wide delusion begin.
We are living in the Anthropocene. All previous geological eras differ from the Anthropocene, because now humans define planetary health; and previously we didn’t. CO2 rises and falls across geological time, but it has never risen as quickly as it does now; plastics now are in their thousand bits in every cubit metre of ocean; and still we fight among ourselves, scrabble for transitory power and indulge in irresponsibility. The irresponsibility of not thinking through impact; of equal distribution of food; of health, education and shelter for all. The Tragedy of the Commons is planet wide. We do not see it; as it is akin to a cancer, growing within until announced by some dispassionate diagnosis in a dingy doctor’s surgery. And the remedies seem unpalatable and remain unchosen.
Life may go on with 30 billion people on this Earth, but will other life teem, will the sea ever be milky again with life, will the forests live in the future with a cacophony of noise into the dark night…as opposed to the near silence now revered?
A clear sea in the Mediterranean may be ‘lovely’, but it has no life. The coral has gone, the fish are minute, the desultory fronds of sea weed are a fragmentary reminder of the luscious locks that would have once stroked the swimmer, the seal, the siren.
Consider your swimming kit. Who made it? Where did the source for the material come from? Who extracted it? Was their labour treated well? How much does your discount cost the standard of living of those along the supply chain? Where does it go when you’ve done with it? How much more than you need, do you have?
We can all take small steps, just get up and start walking this path.