Should we blame Men for the mess the world’s in? War, greed, pollution, devastation, cruelty – the climate crisis???

We should blame men for the climate crisis

Lucy Ellmann on 5,000 years of male-led environmental destruction

The Cyclops Steel Works in Sheffield in the mid-19th century.
Men ‘are they the instigators of the ruinous Industrial Revolution, which led to the vast contamination of air, water and land’. The Cyclops Steel Works in Sheffield in the mid-19th century. Photograph: Science & Society Picture Librar/SSPL via Getty Images

LettersThu 29 Jul 2021 18.10 BST

Arwa Mahdawi claims that men are not responsible for climate change (Don’t blame men for the climate crisis – we should point the finger at corporations, 27 July). This lets men off the hook a little too lightly. Not only are they the instigators of the ruinous Industrial Revolution, which led to the vast contamination of air, water and land, but men have also spent the last 5,000 years fighting, killing, colonising, enslaving, marauding, and yelling about football.

Who invented the capitalist system that Mahdawi agrees is so destructive? And who owns the corporations she so rightly condemns? Men.

So, no need then to quibble with the cited Swedish study. Of course we shouldn’t blame individuals. We should blame all men.
Lucy Ellmann

As a man I am tempted to agree with her. Men through their greed and belligerence have created this mess.

The question is whether women would have done it any better. Looking at examples like Thatcher and Priti Patel. I reckon they’d have made as much of a mess.

But then there is Jacinda Ardern.

And most of us men are not uncaring, thoughtless, vicious, greedy bastards. We just keep voting the bad ones into power – and women are just as guilty of that!!

Poetry – The Big Green Ball

The Big Green Ball

Big green ball

To kick around

It’s just a game

Too soon and gone

The wear and tear

Such a shame

Opher 25.6.2018

Big Green Ball

While I was driving around the country I had plenty of time to think. What we are doing to the planet, the loss of so many species, the ravaging of our rainforests, the overpopulation – it all drives me mad.

In the course of my lifetime the world has changed enormously. Nature has been devastated. What I used to take as granted is being eroded every single day.

Living creatures are being wiped out and their interests ignored. If there is money to be made they come in a poor second.

Many people are so cruel. Recently I read of reports of attacks on orangutans. On three different occasions orangutans have been found dying or severely injured riddled with air-gun pellets. One had 140 pellets, including 70 in its head. One died after being riddled with 107 pellets, another had 137 pellets and lost its sight. Which crawl maggots would do such things to such intelligent gentle creatures?

What are we doing to the world? We are kicking the life out of it.

Poetry – It Takes Billions

It Takes Billions

Billions – it takes billions.

5 Billion to evolve,

8 Billion to destroy,

How many Billion to put right?

Billions – it takes Billions.

First you have to wake right up.

First you have to realise.

First you have to value it.

First you want to try.

Billions – it takes billions.

5 Billion to evolve,

8 Billion to destroy,

How many Billion to put right?

Billions – it takes Billions.

If 8 Billion were to become 4

There wouldn’t be a problem

Any more.

Opher 13.4.2018

There are 8 billion of us sharing this lifeboat of a planet with all the myriad types of life. 8 billion of us taking up room, killing, flattening, cultivating, building, taming, simplifying, reducing and eradicating.

The effect is dramatic.

The teeming masses of which we are part, from which we came, from which we draw our sustenance are being reduced by the minute.

5 billion years of evolution, slow step by step, is being undone in mere decades.

But if 8 billion was trimmed to 4 then we could all have room to live in harmony and all of us would be winners. We would all have our lives enriched.

Poetry – 8 Billion Reasons

8 Billion Reasons

8 Billion reasons why the gorillas must die

8 Billion reasons why the elephants will die

8 Billion tragedies

For all of them.

Opher 13.4.2018

8 Billion Human beings chopping down trees, spraying pesticide, burning wood, hunting animals, eating ivory, culverting ditches, producing sewage, filling dustbins, buying goods, mining, peeing, shopping, driving down roads, building houses, flying around the world, eating, drinking, playing and having sex.

8 Billion reasons why the rhino and elephant have no chance at all.

Poetry – Consequences


Skeleton tree, acid lakes,

                Small changes,

                                Complex systems,

                                                Drastic effects.

Lungs of the earth,

                Trees and plankton,

                                All else

                                                Is dependant.

Fossil ice to raging torrents,

                Bare soil to naked rock,

                                Abundant life to barren dessert,

                                                It’s for real.

Flooded cities, drying land,

                Burning houses, plumes of smoke

                                Walls of fire.

                                                It’s real.

People stricken

                Animals stricken

                                Forests stricken

                                                Climate change.

Opher -22.4.2021

The ecosystem has taken billions of years to settle into this spectacular balance.

That balance is one of life, climate and weather woven into a stable rhythm.

That rhythm is being unsettled by our actions.

As we trawl the seas, cut down the forests and pour our waste into the air, the water and on to the land, we disturb that balance.

Change comes.

The delicate system is disturbed.

It is that system that gives us life.

There are consequences.

Poetry – An Endless Poem

An Endless Poem

Endless seas

To sail to infinity and over the edge

To dump our garbage and swill

With ease.

Endless skies

To carry the sighs of our smoke

And the winds would carry off ours woes

And cries.

Endless trees

Forests like oceans of waving pleas

To chop and clear and burn

As we please.

Endless water

For our industrial waste to sully

The crystal clear gully with sour taste

And never falter

Endless meat

To tease and tame, butcher and kill

To have our fill and leave to rot

Not eat.

Endless room

To spread into and conquer.

Wilderness and forest both incur

The gloom.

Endless life

To squander, waste and fill

With party kisses, frivolity without taste

And strife.

But now it is our numbers that are endless

Our technology that reduces space and time

We have machines to commit any crime

Endless has an end that is far less.

Opher 19.1.2015

An Endless Poem

Everywhere I look there are people, slums, dirt, garbage and beauty. Such a short while ago the planet was so huge, the great oceans a voyage of years and the endless jungles impenetrable. The waters were pure and life in such teeming abundance that we took it all for granted. Beauty was extant.

Beauty is there but it is on the run. Where it is preserved it is tidied up and served up to be consumed and devoured by the hordes. Nowhere is inaccessible. We are a sphere of tourist attraction.

And still the numbers grow, the human tide sweeps through the beautiful and leaves a wake of plastic and concrete, garbage and shit.

Every time I hear of a new vaccine or scientific invention that will save countless lives I sigh. The one thing we do not need is more people. Perhaps the plague would be preferable?

I do not like feeling that. On the personal level I can appreciate the agony of sickness and death, particularly for our children. I am filled with compassion. I would sacrifice anything for mine. But I fear we are sacrificing the world and it is too high a price.

There are too many of us.

What was once endless is now palpably limited. Yet we continue to plunder, destroy, slaughter and pollute as if it was infinite.

In my short life I have witnessed destruction of the environment on an industrial scale. The common animals become rare or extinct and the wilderness is tamed.

The world has changed from an infinite universe to a tiny ball in space.

Still our numbers grow, nature is destroyed and we carry on mindlessly.

Presidential election – Who to choose to protect nature and long-term economic security?

We’ve all seen the terrible fires in Australia, Africa, South America and California. We’ve seen the floods, hurricanes and strange weather patterns.

It is only going to get worse and not only cause mass devastation, mass migration and huge damage to nature; it is also going to ruin economies and cost a fortune.

We need our rainforests, don’t we? We need environmental stability, don’t we?

How long does a forest last when you put in place a President who has removed legislation on mining and logging, reduced environmental standards, doesn’t believe in global warming, promotes fossil fuels and wants to exploit the environment for quick profit (basically anything goes if you can make a buck and temporarily boost the economy) or a President who wants to move away from fossil fuels towards sustainable energy, who believes in protecting the environment, who knows that we have damaging global warming and would be part of a world-wide struggle to protect nature, with things like the Paris Accord, who believes in science and will fund it properly – let me see now – this is a difficult one isn’t it?