Recently, awareness has grown of the damage we’re doing to the world that surrounds us.
All of us, really, know that something should change.
I agree, and as a culture, we can achieve great things, once we’re aware that action must be taken.
Making changes can be frightening, and does require commitment from all of us.
None of want to – and none of us should – have to suffer as a consequence of change.
However, action is needed.
I don’t have the answer, but I firmly believe that between us – all of us, the billions of minds on this planet – we can come to an agreement about how to proceed.
I think we must come to that agreement, and rapidly.
Soon, our children’s children will know the Rhino like they know the dodo, or the dinosaurs.
Something from a picture book.
Something of legend.
Let’s prevent that.
Woops – Audio
I’ve noticed the scientists don’t talk about prevention, it’s not about avoidance, it’s all about limiting.
Limiting means it’s already happening: we’ve caused the change now, it’s too late – we’re damaging the system that supports us, maintains us, sustains us.
We really ought to be alarmed and concerned – change is happening, change beyond reckoning: anthropogenic climate destruction.
It’ll keep on changing without something fundamental, something far reaching, something completely beyond preparation.
Our efforts don’t stop at changing the climate – we’re also good at affecting other species – drastically, dangerously and quite fundamentally.
Like causing the sixth, global mass extinction, – woops, what an error, we acted with innocence, but never again will those species awake.
To a world that’s hostile to their very existence, a world turned against them by the very custodians who could protect the land they called their own.
Custodians who could, had they chosen other pathways, have preserved Gaian life in the model of Eden.
Everything was there, at the birth of our species, for the taking, for the sharing and for the caring of Eden were it not for our curious bent.
A bent we thought makes us stand tall, shows our mastery of life in our universe but showed our contempt for Earth and how she works.
We control completely vast swathes of Earth’s surface – we totally dictate what grows, what survives – and that is, in reality, remarkably little.
So our paradigm of growth in production and economy is addiction to more, more and more without ceasing.
We need to correct mistakes and misadventures, centuries of damage, centuries of building a society that’s killing its own harbour.
Focussing on stopping the tide of plastic – single use, permanent, indestructible, toxic – is useful but ultimately, forms a distraction.
Fashion-carbon, food miles, air travel, diesel – we cannot live without these things damaging the world we love but are bent on destroying.
And we’re going to hand this error to our children, our nieces and god-children, nephews, and grand-children, the vulnerable people we’ve promised to protect.
Children we instruct to clean up their rooms, to be tidy and obedient, put stuff away, to be good global citizens – be tidy and behave, to do good in the world and in all that they do.
And let’s examine what we’re leaving, what we’ve got as a legacy, for ‘though we’ll be dead in the blink of a moment, compared to the scale of our Earth’s persistent orbit, our legacy will last for geological time and may be permanent.
The sixth mass extinction – our fault, anthropogenic – is happening around us; it’s happened, it’s happening, it’ll keep on happening for a long, long time.
Our choice is to murder vast swathes of biology, to force evolution in cropping and husbandry, to sterilise Earth into monocultured deserts, to force mother nature to bend to our will.
We’ve traded biology for metal and gizmos, for constructs inspired by our curious bent, we’ll forsake the pollination of plants and food crops for access to easily usable machines.
Our lives don’t work without this technology, we’ve created a behemoth: the technosphere, it’s scary.
We all play a part in technology’s grip, relying on machines to plan and equip us for life in our world, in our technospheric madness.
I order my food on internet markets, I never meet the people who bring me my clothes, synthetic solutions packaged in plastic.
Delivered to my door, at my convenience, delivered by folk I don’t even see, notice or pay anything other than lip service to.
I use my machines to do all my work, I can’t get away from the use of computers, inherent to life in my little world, I’m bound to technology, I can’t get away.
I was, however, created biologically, and I depend on the biosphere, the atmosphere, the lithosphere, the hydrosphere, the cryosphere for somewhere to live, in peaceful perpetuity.
These spheres, not conceptual – you can touch them, you can taste them, you can see them, you can study them – were here before we were – before our dangerous two hundred thousand years.
Contrast these to artefacts of our minds, like politics, division, yours and mine – the artifice of war, the artifice of boundaries, which you and I step over, to be arrested, ready to deport.
Those things are fundaments of the human universe, but those things have been created by us – take away the humans, they’re no longer there.
The spheres, however, exist independently, they’re always – hopefully – going to be there but they’re now – I hope not always – damaged beyond repair.
They’ve been fundamentally altered by us and our ancestors, it’s too late to stop the effects manifesting, it’s too late, full stop.
This time the change will not be geological, or planetary, orbital or impact-catastrophic, this is anthropogenic, we’ve done this, it is our fault.
And we know that we’re doing this, we know what we’re doing is harming the world we love in and live in, we worship and praise in.
So we’re consciously breaking Earth’s unique systems, purposefully ruining the Eden we’re born into, purposefully continuing our mission to destroy.
We’re no longer innocent, we’ve been told now, we’ve proved we’re the cause, the problem, the solution.
So, two hundred millennia – long, long ago – we were born to a world that held great danger, but that also held everything that anyone could want, that anyone could ever need to survive.
Food a-plenty, you just had to gather it, no processing needed, no farming necessary, no food miles, no slaughter houses, no pollution, no suffering.
With fire we kept warm in the cold of the winter, animal skins would keep us from rain, we found that a roof is shelter, from the worst of the heat of the burning sun.
Perhaps that was it, the start of mad hurry, to go one better keep up with the Joneses, bones and flints and rubbing stick for fire grew into cars and machines and persistent, environmental horror.
We worked in and with all our fellow creatures, the biosphere we found would comfortably support us, with enough for any human, anywhere on Earth.
Enough food, drink, shelter, conversation, companionship, love, interaction, interest and beauty and this is Eden, it’s here, the original Eden.
We are purposefully ruining the remnants of Eden which, miraculously, still exist here, there but no longer everywhere.
Perhaps we’re jealous, maybe we’re stupid, but we’re doing this on purpose so we can, actually, stop.