Photo by Vivek Kumar on Unsplash
We are natural
Not only the climate catastrophe, but also quite everyday thoughts and observations, bring me again and again to the question, why we as the only life form deal so carelessly and destructively with nature. Because we are a part of it. We come from it. Over millions of years we have evolved from it. And since the industrial revolution, we have been destroying nature on an unimaginable scale.
I regularly read online the magazine Science on science.org. Although the subscription is relatively expensive at almost 100 EUR a year, the contributions in the form of articles and scientific papers are excellent. When reading the articles in the field of climate, nature and oceans, 99 % of them are about the negative impact on these areas by us humans. Habitats are so extremely threatened or destroyed by pollution that it is tantamount to naturally occurring “extinction events.” Among other impacts, when 256 million years ago, ocean temperatures rose so high and ocean oxygen levels declined by 80 % that this “contributed to the greatest species extinction in Earth’s history. Up to 96 % of all marine species disappeared.”.
The earth is a biotope
I always think of the ecosystem as being like a biotope in the garden. It is subject to a natural balance and regulates itself. If I intervene as a human being and, for example, introduce too many fish or do not provide sufficient shaded areas, the ecosystem tips over and what remains is a stinking water hole. As long as I do not intervene negatively, I participate in the biotope. Because it provides a good climate, offers plants, insects and animals a healthy habitat and I can drink the water.
Our earth is just as much a biotope. We humans don’t understand that the impact from our interventions is so negative that we are heading towards creating a stinking water hole.
What is the problem?
I can only guess or try to understand what drives us humans to maltreat the earth like this.
On the one hand, there are societal aspects. We have managed through the industrial revolution and through our scientific achievements to “improve” life for us in many areas. Advances in medicine, for example, allow us to suffer less and live longer. The production of machines and the use of electricity help us to live a pleasant life with comfort. And finally, our economic system is based on the production of goods, commodities and services to make money and serve the business cycle. I would never disagree that I enjoy that just as much.
But what we disregard is the fact that this is only a temporary phase in human history. Our very scientific achievements show us daily the negative consequences of our actions. Why don’t we change anything?
I believe it has a lot to do with power and the conviction of “doing the right thing.” Because otherwise, wouldn’t our governments in the industrialized nations, as the main perpetrators of the climate catastrophe, act quite differently? They read the articles of the scientists in the same way. They notice the climate activists and their message. They also have children.
Mankind has no desire to go back to nature. The majority of people do not want to give up luxury and comfort. They don’t want to live in a house that is powered only by natural energy. Because the way there is (too) exhausting, they lose their power and they do not want to change. They are simply ignorant and selfish.
What to do?
I will continue to work for the protection of nature and the climate. As far as it is possible for me and as far as I want it. I do by no means everything I could do. Because I fall like 99 % of mankind into the same, above described grid. But I have gained an awareness and certainty that without massive changes in our way of life we will build a stinking water hole.
What we need to do further is to make it clear to everyone that we are headed for disaster. A simple search on the web has as a result thousands of resources that show and prove this. Most importantly, we need to help our children understand that they are supposed to do deeds to the “adults”. Because currently the “adults” are still in power without thinking in a reasonable measure about tomorrow and the day after tomorrow.