Many of us are awed by the beauty of a morning sunrise, inspired by the golden veil of evening stretching over the landscape, delighted with animals in their natural environment, and think it cute to see ducklings toddling along in single file behind the duck and drake.
We profess to love nature, while being part of its destruction, tearing down forests, including valuable healing plant species, in order to build homes, or plant palms for oil, destroying bird and animal habitats. Many love nature so dearly they throw their waste out car windows, soft drink bottles, cigarette packets, food waste and more.
In this age of climate change and fears for our future, we look back to the pristine lands of the early days with nostalgia. The air was pure and we could drink from almost any stream. Pollution of the land and oceans has increased dramatically since we became a throw-away society.
Large areas in Italy have borne the brunt of criminal activity where crooked operators dump toxic products in land-fill or scattered over the surface, including industrial and nuclear waste, which has leached into waterways, causing skin rashes, respiratory problems, even cancer. All too often, a worship of the God money has taken precedence over good sense, health issues and human decency.
During the last century mankind has exploited more raw products than at any time in human history. Fracking in America has caused earthquakes in areas previously free of such activity. It poisons ground water and makes farming and human use untenable. Acidity of the ocean, combined with a rise in temperatures, is leading to the death of ocean species. The polar ice caps are melting at increasing speeds, as a result of increased emissions from burning fossil fuels.
Man has arguably caused more damage to nature than all the other animal species combined. Yet there are still people with their heads firmly planted in the sand, refusing to believe that we are in any way responsible for this looming disaster, afraid to admit there’s even anything out of the ordinary.
Yet the bulk of scientists agree its a huge issue. One wonders what, if anything, can be done? Is it already too late? We who regard ourselves as superior to animals, and destroy with impunity, yet, in the final analysis, the whole web of life is interdependent. We need to lobby governments, to act immediately on global warming, reduce our carbon footprint –whatever the cost, action must be taken.
Money, technology and effort are needed urgently to reduce carbon emissions, and, according to Dutch economist Reyer Gerlagh, the leading author of a report on the subject – keep global warming to only 2 degrees higher than the pre-industrial world. Otherwise, he writes, it will be impossible to reverse the present trend.
The worst-case scenario? Carbon emissions and global warming could lead to the extinction of homo sapiens and all animal species on our earth.
Finally, here is a little poem I wrote on one aspect of the problem. Surely if art and science combine we’ll not only save our planet but restore it to a beautiful place in every sense of the word.
one man sees a mountain
and the moon
mirrored in a lake
meditates on love
the soul the universe
and weeps not
for barren lands