A long time coming

It’s been a while. I’ve got excuses, but I won’t waste your time with them.

I’ve been thinking – a lot.

I’ve been noticing how most people are only half happy. Or pretending to be happy when they’re really not. Or getting by on a happy moment to get through the harder stuff. Perhaps it’s my age. Or my generation’s time of life. Or the zeitgeist – the spirit of the times.

People talk a lot about what is wrong. All the problems – of which there are many – small and large that we face each day. In listening to all this complaining I hear, underneath, a lot of palava about how sacred human life is. How bloody special we all are. How we must preserve ourselves, protect our future, save ourselves from crime, from poverty, from the weather and the earth and its vagaries. I find myself asking the question ‘Should we?’ I mean, do we, as a species, really deserve to be saved? Do we really deserve to be protected from these things? Or is nature just kicking us back?

I saw a TV program the other night about a young man and his mother, who not only believes in aliens, but travels the Western world talking about them. [Funny how aliens only seem to bother us Westerners. I’ve yet to hear about a Bangladeshi man or an Afghani child being abducted, but still, that might reflect the limitations of our media than the cultural biases of aliens.]

The point is, she believed, and in the end had her son erring on the side of caution, that aliens do exist and do visit this planet on an irregular basis. And I got to thinking, if I were an alien, what would I make of the human race? If I were a conservationist type of alien, would I think the we were a race worth preserving and protecting?

The short answer was – No.

It seems to me that the humans are effectively a plague on this earth. We dominate it in every way with our sense of entitlement, our insatiable greed for more, our dumb desire to climb Mt Everest simply because its there. We interfere with the natural ecosystems, chew up gazillions of bioenergy, causing the extinction of thousands of plant and animal species, all in the name of a comfy night in front of the telly and a thumper of a holiday each year.

But to suggest publicly that perhaps human life isn’t sacred, that we are part of the natural environment – in fact are equal to the lungfish or a rare species of native grass – to suggest that we are not entitled to ever increasing standards of living (whatever that means) is to commit heresy in this modern world. Apparently we all deserve as much free internet, hot water, theme parks and McDonalds as we can stomach, without limit and without consequences.

We are victims of our own superiority. All great empires fall. Ours is no exception. To think that we can wriggle our way out of the situation we have got ourselves in is denial at its best. Let’s be honest. We don’t want to go back to the ’40’s and live without sewerage treatment plants, shower recesses, washing machines, ipods, reliable cars, holiday destinations, cafe latte’s, laptops, airconditioning, supermarkets, packet cakes, DVD’s, deli’s and air travel. Think about it. What will we give up? What would we be willing to give up in order to save ourselves from ourselves?

Our kids? Because that’s the biggest problem. There is simply too many of us. We talk about population control but it’s couched in the immigration debate. No one wants to name the elephant in the room, the issue of fertility and family planning. It’s our right to have children, right? We’re entitled to them, right? Wrong.

I can hear it already – ‘fertility is dropping in Western countries – it’s those Indians and Africans having too many kids that are the problem.’ We’ll conveniently forget the fact that an average Western child puts out 250 times the carbon in their lifetime as a Bangladeshi child.

We have to stop having so many kids. Globally. Because it’s people who are killing people – directly and indirectly. People consuming vast amounts of food and energy, way more than they actually need, to live a standard of life that is way beyond comfortable, all at the expense of their fellow third world brothers and sisters, or at the expense of other species.

Sure, let’s just stop having kids. Tell that to the childless parents on IVF of 7 years. Tell that to the just married 25 year old’s planning a life and family together. Tell that to the tax man and the economics expert and see where you get.

Nowhere. Or worse.

So, where do we go? Interim measures. Solar power. Hybrid cars. Recycling. Useful, but not the real solution to the real problem. Too many who all want too much. We want to keep making the mistake and not paying for it. We forget that Mother Nature has a funny way of kicking back. At the end of the game, it’s nature who holds the stadium.

1 Comment (+add yours?)

  1. Eleanor
    Mar 14, 2011 @ 16:30:04

    Kate I love your latest piece. It is people killing people and we are all too self absorbed to do anything about it.
    Wonderful piece of writing.
    Thank you


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