I’m living a quiet life. I don’t steal, destroy any wildlife, kill anything or hurt anybody. I am not guilty.
Except that is not true.
Just by virtue of living we are having an impact and, without enormous research, it is not possible to know exactly how big an impact we are having.
My trainers were made in a sweatshop in India which illegally employs children on starvation wages.
The electricity I use is produced by a power station burning coal which is pouring carbon dioxide and particulates into the atmosphere.
The standard of life I enjoy is the result of a long history of slavery and looting and now is bolstered through clandestine deals selling arms and torture implements to tyrannous despots.
The coffee I drink comes from Vietnam where huge swathes of virgin rainforest was cleared for coffee plantations.
The shampoo I used this morning contained palm oil from the Indonesia where the orangutans are being decimated.
The cheapness of my breakfast cereal is due to extensive overfarming. Hedgerows and copses were flattened, streams culverted and ponds filled in the create greater efficiency. It is laced with pesticide and herbicide because no ‘foreign’ life must exist to reduce the yield. Nature is the enemy.
The fish I ate for tea was trawled from the ocean by a superfleet who are gouging up the seabed.
The computer and phone I contact my friends and family on contains rare metals which have to be mined, heavily polluting the wilderness.
The teak coffee table I bought was made from a great teak tree that was hundreds of years old, stood in a rainforest and provided food and home for a whole community of life.
The steak I will eat for dinner was from a steer in South America. Great swathes of the Amazon rainforest were cleared so we could enjoy cheap beef. It was shipped thousands of miles around the world on a cargo ship spouting masses of carbon and particulate from the burning of poor quality oil in its diesel engines. It was delivered to my supermarket via train and lorry further adding to the pollution.
I could go on and on. But I am not looking to create guilt, just raise awareness. There is no way that we can possibly make ourselves aware of the ramifications of every single economic, political and social aspect of our interwoven world. Besides, much of what goes on is clandestine, hidden and illegal. We probably could never find out the real picture.
So what do we do?
I would suggest that we are all guilty of causing damage, pain and poverty. But we can reduce the damage we do raise our awareness and put pressure on all concerned to clean up our act.
We are one planet, one people. It is in our own interests to reduce the impact we are having on nature so that the planet is safe and life is cherished. It is in our own interests to reduce pollution and not cause suffering. It is in our own interests to reduce global poverty and support the rights of all people.
Not to do so risks a dismal future of global warming, gross pollution of air, soil and water, mass extinctions, war, mass migrations, gross inequality and misery.
None of us are innocent. Just by living we are party to this mess. Some are more guilty than others.
With care we can create a world that works for us all and supports a thriving natural world – With a little care, awareness and thought.