THIS BEAUTIFUL PLANET EARTH
“ I would say that there exist a thousand unbreakable links between each of us, and everything else, and that our dignity and chances are one. The farthest star and the mud at our feet are a family, and there is no decency or sense in honouring one thing, or a few things, and closing the list. The pine tree, the leopard, the Platte River, and ourselves – we are all at risk together. We are each others’ destiny.”
This summer I retrieved a small shrub from a communal garden where I live. It was in poor condition having been uprooted for weeks. The foliage had gone completely and all that remained was a few brown, brittle stems and a dried up root system. Any reasonable gardener would have pronounced the death sentence, but I couldn’t. I saw it as a horticultural challenge to do all I could to bring it back to full life, if I could. I snipped the stems back, untangled the root system and placed it in a bucket of water on my balcony. After a few days I prepared a fine compost mix in a terracotta pot. I bedded the plant in its new home and gave it a good watering then finding a sunny position, I left it to rest and heal. Days came and days went but all I saw, whenever I looked at this ‘ plant,’ was a few short, brown stems. It had been a good summer and my gardening work took me off to many areas. New growth, new blossoms, new blooms everywhere which always amazes and delights me. Then one evening, whilst in the process of tending to some cuttings, I noticed a very small, green shoot on my ‘patient plant.‘ I just couldn’t believe it, as a few days earlier I was ready to discard it because I felt I had failed in my caring duties. Soon more shoots started to appear and just before the movement into autumn my ‘ dead ‘ plant was in full, micro foliage ready to flourish next season.
Nature is resilient. It has remarkable homeostasis qualities that quite simply astound me and my hope for the future is that our much-mistreated planet can heal itself, just like my dying plant. Certainly the forecasts on climate change are a cause of great concern but perhaps this beautiful earth that we all live on – with our sustained and committed support – may just surprise us all.
We are now living in a technological age of such rich sophistication, a period that offers people such unprecedented benefits from scientific advances that it seems unlikely we would attempt to move backwards into former times, even if we so desired. Trying to return to a former, pre-technological age just doesn’t seem an option. So perhaps we have got accept our current state of advancement and work constructively with the tools it provides, especially the greener ones, to secure a better future. Up to now the pursuit of economic goals has dominated the political landscape but now that must be replaced. The new political agenda, one that is gaining in popularity, must be the health of the planet. This must be our priority now. Something we all need to attend to with environmentally friendly lifestyles that lead the way for others to follow.
CLIMATIC CHANGE: TIME FOR A RETHINK
“ Clearly the problems we suffer cannot be solved at the same level of thinking with which we created them. “
Mainstream news reports, that focus on averting global warming, have asked questions such as:“ How much will this cost?” “ How much will we have to cut back on economic growth?” Such irresponsible and naive questions highlight the scale of self-interests and ignorance that dominate national debate. If you we are not part of the solution ( attempting to seriously reduce carbon emissions ) then we are part of the problem ( ignoring the serious consequences of global warming ).
Whatever the ‘ costs ‘ are to save the planet this will be our greatest challenge, our greatest investment and if we fail in this task then we will perish
A crucial question, that has often been raised, is that regarding the trip over point. How near are we to the stage of committing irreparable damage to our planet earth? How near are we to final melt down? Many leading experts take differing stances on this issue so it’s difficult for us to assess what exactly the real position is. But however near or far we are from this pivotal point, one thing is for certain – action is required from all us, both individually and collectively, to minimize any likely catastrophic effects.
What we desperately need is imaginative, innovative, inspired visions for a more sustainable, fairer world before it is too late. We must start thinking radically – outside the box that created this problem in the first place. We must look beyond unsustainable economic growth – that is fueled by corporate capitalism – and devise better sustainable, egalitarian systems that meet real human needs rather than human greed. What we need is a new worldview and a new philosophy of life ( weltanschauung ) that embraces everyone and everything on this living planet of ours. But are we big enough for this new worldview? Are we big enough to work wholeheartedly for this new vision, or do we just allow the forces of the marketplace to dictate? The same forces that contributed to the problem in the first place.
BUSY, BUSY, BUSY
” I have read much and found nothing but uncertainty, lies and fanaticism.
I know about as much today of the essential things as I knew as an infant.
I prefer to plant, to sow, and be free.”
If only we could take the lead from Voltaire and simplify our lives, pull back from an ever-deepening dependency on materialism in order to pursue something far nobler – a sane life. In our post modern age we are increasingly pushing ourselves into busy-ness, too much busy-ness that is harming our bodies, our minds and our planet. We need to slow down more, take time out to reflect on the important issues of life. We weren’t built for a 24 / 7 existence as if it was the only way of being in this world. There is simply too much preoccupation with ‘ doing ‘ and not enough simply with ‘ being. ‘ Part of this modern, hyper activity is, I suspect, evasion – an escape from confronting thoughts that could challenge us personally and the economic system we are involved with. If only we could give ourselves time, precious time to contemplate on this wondrous gift of life we have been given and the tremendous purpose we could serve in this world. A purpose that is large enough to embrace the wellbeing of the planet and all of its inhabitants.
Governments and powerful agencies may, in the end, let us down in this fight for planetary survival. They may do too little, too late in stemming the tide. But we as individual must still continue to do what we can to live in much greener ways – irrespective of the outcome. We must show future generations to come that we tried to be the custodians of this beautiful planet not its exploiters, not its destroyers, and that we did everything we could to protect it from catastrophe – even if, in the end, we failed in the quest.
Carry on with the simple life…….
“ To find the universal elements enough; to find the air and the water exhilarating; to be refreshed by a morning walk or an evening saunter….to be thrilled by the stars at night, to be elated over a bird’s nest or a wildflower in spring – these are some of the rewards of the simple life.”