“The question is, are we happy to suppose that our grandchildren may never be able to see an elephant except in a picture book?” ~ David Attenborough
In many respects the success of the human race has caused as many problems as it has solved for us collectively. Population explosion, the demands for food, pollution, the endless pursuit of profits at the expense of people, plants and animals, (especially the mega corporations such as Monsanto), who produce and use some of the most harmful ingredients known to man and nature.
Governments only seem to care about the environment when there’s something in it for them, such as tourist trade. Don’t even get me started on the destruction of rainforest for palm oil and other ingredients that fuel our ‘convenience’ lifestyle.
So many endangered species in Asia and the Amazon are seeing their habitats destroyed for the sake of a few companies and individuals making more than a few bucks. This is the dark side of capitalism. Making money no matter the cost.
But the end does not justify the means, because billions of people live on this planet. Harvesting huge swathes of the ‘lungs of the earth’ for timber and other land use may give a short term economic gain, but how can we measure the huge cost to humanity in terms of loss of diversity and disasters bought about as a result of such ecological destruction?
We can all do our bit, reducing waste, recycling, walking instead of taking a car, being aware of our buying habits, and asking ourselves, do we support environmentally conscious businesses? Do we buy cosmetics and food that is produced in an ethical and sustainable way?
Planet Earth II
I admire Sir David Attenborough in many ways, he is a brilliant broadcaster and passionate naturalist, but it’s mostly because of the man he is; the way he has dedicated his life to bringing the beauty of nature to the masses. Definitely a national treasure! He has done more in his life than probably any other person (except maybe Darwin), to help us understand and love the natural world, open our eyes to how complex and amazing planet Earth really is, showing us that humans and the natural world are interdependent. Their survival aids our survival.
Planet Earth II has been compelling viewing! Some highlights:
The last episode of Planet Earth II is airing tonight on BBC One, and it focuses on animals in urban environments. Here’s the trailer for Cities:
I hope you enjoy my poem, Elegy for Earth. It’s a bittersweet musing on what we’ve done to the animal kingdom and the planet we call home – Earth.
Elegy for Earth
Gravity pulls us to your perfect, rounded bosom,
Our feet, able to walk in soft earth, grass and sand,
Your endless bounty is a gift, pure and fulsome,
Evolved have we, to wield a greedy, grasping hand,
Eager to harvest, destroy and plunder your riches,
We continue to rape and pillage; burn nature’s bridges.
Many of our people appreciate and value such utopia,
Those who do not, give no thought to rainforests or
Wildlife; they are deaf to earth’s cry of melancholia,
No longer can she sustain this global ravage before
We reach the point of no return – alas, this is it.
Improve stewardship, or spin on a barren crypt.
Industrialisation supported our growing population,
Without thought of the consequences for our home,
We paused not, to notice the result of human invasion,
We lost the wisdom of our forebears, who used to roam
Mother Earth. Her resources are finite and dwindling fast,
If we heed not nature’s warnings; humanity will not last.
Poisonous fumes, silent smoke lace the air; breathe death
Plastic and detritus fill oceans deep and clog sunny shores,
Living rainforest cut-down, decimated, with startling breadth,
Pyres of man-made rubbish, polluting Earth’s pristine pores,
How far we have strayed, in the name of material progress,
We reap what we sow, our ultimate destruction to manifest.
How much wiser, to preserve this green and vibrant land,
As indigenous tribes have done, no need for fossil fuels
Instead we mine, we frack, we drill, we kill; be damned,
Pause, notice our impact; let’s protect our precious jewel.
Climate change accelerates, while man still procrastinates,
To continue unabated means the end of the master-race.
Ancient, tall trees and rolling seas offer healing escape,
Mountain air revives, soul solace, fresh foods replenish,
Let’s not take more than we need – replant and replace,
Waste is unforgivable when so many, from hunger, perish.
What polluted wasteland will we create for our descendants?
In all haste, will we act, to save Earth’s divine resplendence?
If thriving pastures and woodlands are turned to dust,
As we wage chemical warfare on all that is pure and good,
Complain we cannot, about modern plagues’ relentless thrust,
Wars, droughts and floods; apocalypse no longer misunderstood,
Through hardship of experience, source of harmful disease,
Species wiped out; no fish, no tigers, no monkeys or bees.
The ghost of Christmas past says, stop! Look! See!
How hunting made animals extinct, and smog is choking,
The spirit of the present says, you will not get off scot-free,
Serious consequences to stand and face; no point hoping…
For the ghost of Christmas future, to bring good tidings,
Redemption lies only in ceasing madness; our silver linings.
Imagine hell on Earth; no pristine wilderness left to explore,
No clean seas to sail on or swim in, surf polluted waves,
Dante’s Inferno would be a nightmare reality to deplore,
We have the power to do our bit, our planet to save,
Halt the mindless massacre, before it’s too late,
If we do nothing together, then we seal our fate…
By Virginia Burges