So, 15,000 eminent scientists have issued a collective warning about the fate of humanity if we do not face up to global warming and other issues, concerns that we should have been tackling since their first alert twenty five years ago.
Whatever one's views on climate change, it seems to me that (even for the sceptics out there) one thing is for sure, the message the scientists are sending out is an important one. That is to cut pollution and waste, find more efficient energy production and do everything that we can to protect the environment.
Nobody in their right mind would object to those goals. And yet the scientists are not telling us anything new. Their message is old news because, at least in the Western world, we have known our responsibilities for decades.
The problem is that the general population have no intention at all of changing their way of life. I don't see vast numbers of people giving up their cars, I don't see concern for the environment or the welfare of animals amongst the majority of people – and for all their sanctimonious words, I don't even see science and industry making much progress in saving the planet. Behind all the 'green' innovation there still lies a primary focus on making money. Electric cars, as an example, are no more green than petrol cars when one takes into account their manufacture and the infrastructure involved in maintaining them, despite all the glitzy advertising suggesting that they are more ethical in some way. It's little more than a marketing ploy.
People continue to cut down trees in increasing numbers, whether it's vast ancient forests such as those in the path of the HS2 rail fiasco in the UK or the South American rainforests or individual trees in suburbia. And this in spite of everything we know and have known for years – we need trees.
So even with scientists issuing joint statements warning us of impending doom, the biggest problem of all is getting anybody to actually give a damn. Sad to say, people just don't want to change. We all know the consequences but disaster is just far away enough into the future that we can all be detached, safe in the knowledge that we will be long gone when the real problems begin.
Humankind is inherently selfish. We know that animals suffer so that we can eat our burgers and chicken nuggets, we know that our plastic ends up in the oceans and we know that our planet is dying – but unfortunately no-one really cares enough to make the shift in lifestyle necessary to turn things around. That's the truth of it. And it's not just the people, it's the governments....and probably most of those 15,000 scientists too.
And nobody will hold themselves accountable. “It's terrible but what can I do?” we all cry. Pass the responsibility on to someone else – desperately shifting the blame – some even going so far as to suggest that global warming is down to flatulence from cows. If it wasn't so very sad then it would be funny.
Human beings are the problem.
Leave the world to the animals and plants and it would, without doubt, be a naturally balanced paradise.
So, unless a vast wave of sudden compassion washes over the population of the world, the warning from 15,000 scientists might as well just be more hot air contributing to global warming.
Earlier in the year I wrote a poem for Earth Day, that one day a year when we are all supposed to take time out and think about our home, the earth. I'm republishing it here today, sadly it seems fitting.
Blackbird song was plaintive, crying
"Hurry now the earth is dying"
Swallow, Swift no longer bring
their magic flight to welcome Spring.
Summer sun is hazy, fleeting
Glimpses of the past repeating
Echoes of a life now gone
With little chance to carry on.
Mankind killed us all, abandon
all the life he killed at random
Pumping gases, poison raining
on the earth, no life remaining.
All the beauty now has perished
All the wondrous life once cherished
Leaving but a barren waste
Where once the whole of life embraced
The miracle created here.
Man made the magic disappear.
© Jason Endfield 2017. All rights reserved.
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