We opened our eyes into a beautiful universe. We came from nothing and will return to nothing. In the meantime we have all this and we take it for granted. It is so wondrous.
There are those who can see that wonder all around us. Those are the ones we should take heart from. They are living.
There are those who would look to build, to make things better, to provide a pleasant word or helping hand. They are the ones we should take heart from. They are worth so much more than the mindless nasty types.
There are those who realise the incredible wonder of every living thing. They see the amazing wonder of our evolution and our place within the spectrum of life. We should take heart from them.
So here’s to the positive forces that live among us!
I wanted to write a poem to encapsulate the incredible beauty of the universe and life on this vibrant jewel of a planet.
Evolution has provided us with sense in order to enable us to survive. It has provided us with a brain to process the data. Our senses see all that is around us in order to protect us from predators and enable us to find food and shelter.
An offshoot of this is that we have developed consciousness that allows us to comprehend, create and wonder.
The world around us is full of immense beauty. Life on this planet has evolved into immaculate forms. The natural features of this planet are marvellous to behold.
We should open our senses to the full and bask in it and thank chance for dealing us this hand.
We are possibly the only intelligent life in the whole universe who are able to witness the extent of this wonder. I hope that we are able to not only appreciate but preserve the splendour we are surrounded with; much of it is delicate.
In Scenario 1 the population continued to grow eating up space, wilderness and destroying all naturally living creatures. Technology dealt with the problems of food, water, energy, weather and even oxygen in the atmosphere. We lived in huge urban developments and the world is devoid of wild-life and natural areas.
a. We realise the impact of our actions on the environment and limit our numbers, conserve the wilderness and wild-life, stop our habitat destruction and pollution.
b. We lay aside 50% of the planet for wilderness and wild-life. We do not allow roads, hunters or development in these areas.
We are extremely good at solving problems. We can easily create a sustainable future where wilderness and wild-life has a place.
a. We introduce contraception, education and family planning on a global scale and successfully reduce our population.
b. We use technology to produce better transport, housing, energy production, and food.
c. We do not have urban sprawl, deforestation, overfishing, or other unsustainable exploitation of the environment.
d. We raise the standards of life for all people globally so that there is no longer war, conflict or poverty. There are social services, pensions and sick pay enabling people to live without requiring large numbers of children to support them through hard times.
e. We produce technology that is not polluting and is sustainable. We have ample energy (probably through nuclear fusion and solar) and our farming methods are not cruel or ineffective. We can produce ample good food to support the population without encroaching on the wilderness areas.
f. The forests are conserved. Fishing is sustainable. The weather and global warming is controlled.
g. 50% of the world is teeming with wild-life that we can marvel at. The air, water and soil are not contaminated with carcinogens. We globally control the weather and global warming. Everything regarding conservation and pollution is controlled and enforced globally.
I know which of the two possible future scenarios I would prefer to live in.
Let us look into the future and extrapolate from where we are to where we are heading.
a. The population continues to grow
b. There are no catastrophes that wipe us out
Man is extremely good at solving problems. So let us assume that we negotiate our way through problem after problem. We do not annihilate ourselves through nuclear war or manufactured biological warfare. We do not succumb to a virus. We merely continue to grow in numbers.
These are the consequences:
a. Space and shelter. We need land and housing and our cities, towns and villages grow. The countryside becomes consumed in plastic and concrete. Roads connect and transport systems enable easy access.
b. The Wilderness. The wilderness and natural world become open to us and exploited for farming, mining, logging and habitation until there is no more inaccessible wilderness areas. Roads run through every place.
c. The Wild-life. The wild-life now has no habitat left, no food, shelter or way of living. It is butchered for meat, hunted for ivory or medicine (The rarer it gets, the more it is worth, the higher the price, the more worth the risk). The remnants of the wild things are corralled into parks or zoos and confined, protected and used as objects of tourism. Those considered pests, unpleasant or dangerous are eradicated.
d. Food. Even with all the wilderness opened up for farming, the seas fully harvested and hydroponics, genetic modifications and intensive farming methods there is not sufficient food for the burgeoning population. Food is produced from bacteria and fungus in vast industrial vats (Pruteen, mycoprotein etc. – already produced in large quantities – in our pies, sausages etc.), textured, flavoured and used as a meat substitute. Proper meat is a luxury food item.
e. Water. Water is a dwindling resource and desalination plants provide supplies.
f. Energy. Fossil fuels are replaced by large-scale sustainable technology – probably nuclear fusion supplemented with solar.
g. Weather. The effects of global warming are alleviated. The hurricanes and extreme weather conditions are now able to be controlled.
h. Oxygen. Oxygen is a natural product of photosynthesis. With the destruction of the forests and pollution of the oceans it is no longer being produced in sufficient quantities. Oceans are seeded to produce algal blooms and hydrolysis plants produce oxygen from water.
Our lives in these huge metropolises are highly controlled. Our environment is plastic. Our food, water and even the air we breathe is manufactured. We take our children to see the last remaining trees in the tree museum. We then go to the zoo to get a glimpse of and wonder at the little animals that used to run free in the wild.
A narrow belt of bright colour on the sea of monoclonal green;
An elongated oasis of life among the sterilised land;
A thin strand.
Within these tiny parameters,
Vestiges of what once was,
Nature makes its last stand.
As I went for my daily walk here in early June I was heartened by the thick swathes of flowers on the verge and hedgerows of the country lane.
The other side of the hedge was a great sweeping field of wheat – identical plants, sown in rows, all the same age, carefully supplied with nutrients, sprayed with pesticide and herbicide and nurtured into a huge sweeping green desert in which nothing else can live.
The other side of the hedge was a sanitised nightmare.
One day, when we are gone, the verges and hedgerows will reclaim the fields, the vestiges will expand to become all, and the land will spring back to life again.