THE MAGNIFICENCE OF THE EARTH is staggering; its beauty utterly phenomenal. There are glorious snowcapped mountains, vast pristine forestlands, majestic rivers and waterfalls, and shiny blue seas. There are tropical islands brimming with emerald jungles, colorful rocky terrain and shimmering lagoons amid hot golden sands, the waves cobalt, sapphire, turquoise and lime in hue.
Is it even possible to imagine a more lovely or stunning image of paradise?
I think not.
And, yet, our global leaders continue to put profit ahead of sparing the Earth from pollution, even as the world’s most renowned and respected scientists collectively insist that there is but twelve years or so left to turn this catastrophic situation around.
The dire warnings we are being issued are not the rantings of alarmists, extremists nor fanatics. There is sound scientific evidence for the assessments we are being given. The last four years, for example, are the hottest on record and we know that our oceans are now brimming with such quantities of artificial debris that no forms of marine life are without pieces of plastic in their stomachs. There are cities with such horrendous levels of air pollution nowadays that residents often have to wear filtering masks over their noses and mouths just to go out on a public street.
There is more. We have wildfires burning out of control and destroying homes and communities. Violent weather phenomena have increased significantly and, of course, our polar ice caps are melting at a rate that could see ocean levels rising so precipitously that our coastal cities will be utterly inundated.
How can so many turn a blind eye to such facts? How can millions of us retreat into a fantasyland of denial and just ignore the data? How can we, the human species, keep playing such a deadly game of roulette with our survival, with our children’s future, with the very existence of all that we hold precious?
Even as I sit writing this essay there is yet another shocking report in today’s newspaper. The article details how pesticides are threatening to drive the insects that populate the world’s ecosystems to extinction. Their numbers are apparently plummeting so precipitously now that almost all insects could vanish within a century. Imagine that. Where will we be without a bee population to pollinate our flowers? Where will we be without the requisite biodiversity that now enriches our soil? Where will we be once we drive, not only insects, but wildlife in general to utter extinction?
The answer is we may not be at all.
And, yet, there are those who say that climate change is a myth.
I won’t belabor the point. Such denial is quite simply madness and not the kind of madness that brings a smile to our faces by cleverly entertaining us, nor the kind of madness that thrills us, nor the kind that enchants us.
It is the kind of madness that is, in a word, killer.
It is quite unsettling to write such a line. I would much rather be extolling the wonders of Planet Earth and trolling through the mysteries of humanity’s fantastic intellectual, spiritual and artistic heritage, but when one reads that time is running out, then yes one must speak out and sound the alarm, as well.
To sit on one’s thumbs conjuring some enchanted madness in one’s own mind while the world burns and turns thoroughly toxic all around us is scarcely the act of a loving parent, a caring neighbor, nor a genuinely concerned citizen of Planet Earth.
Unfortunately, we must all sound the alarm, for foolish and greedy government, corporate and industrial leaders have given us no choice. So let us get wise and join together in a chorus of determination before we are left with nothing, at last, but Paradise Lost.