Are we destroying the world? Are our natural resources about to run out? Has technology brought us to the brink of destruction? Should we be going green; using solar and wind power; becoming vegetarians; planting forests; etc? This post is a bit of a ramble about, well read it and see.
I have been struggling with these issues over the past two years or so and I am really grappling with both sides of the GREEN coin. Firstly, I am a technology addict. I LOVE gadgets of every kind. I own a Blackberry; Notebook; Netbook; Desktop PC; Ipod… and the list goes on. I don’t ever read user manuals because I love the challenge of discovering how things work and what to use them for. I make complicated excel formulas just for fun and love linking up multiple devices to create an audio/visual explosion. If I had more money my house would look like a Hi-Fi Corporation store. An interest in technology is part of my personality makeup.
On the flip side, I love the Earth. I was a boy scout for 7 years and couldn’t get enough of camping, hiking, abseiling, rowing, fishing and the like. If I don’t get into the outdoors at least twice a year I feel like I’m losing my mind. I love the sea; I love rivers; I love mountains; I love trees. My favorite part of the “Lord of the Rings” trilogy has always been when the fellowship enters the forest of Lothlórien, home of the elves, the most beautiful place I could ever imagine living. Even now, watching that scene from the movie (Part 1: Fellowship of the Rings) gives me a sense that we’re doing life all wrong and that we should be more like those elves, living in harmony with nature.
I have seen Al Gore’s “An Inconvenient Truth” a few times already, and I feel that every human on the planet should watch it at least once – in fact, go check it out right now at http://www.climatecrisis.net. The message here is that our actions and lifestyles are having a serious effect on world climate and could result pretty soon in the extinction of millions of species of animals and the deaths of millions of human beings as heat and water levels continue to rise significantly. Having said that, I have also spoken to intelligent people that disagree with many of Gore’s views on things, including my most recent chat with a geography teacher… hmmm. As it turns out, many of the images on the movie were emotionally manipulative and completely unassociated with the claimed effects. These people also counter Gore’s arguments with other scientific studies, which don’t have a motivational movie, but do apparently demonstrate that global temperatures have been rising and falling for thousands of years with or without our help, and things like natural disasters, extinctions and ice ages happen all the time quite apart from our carbon emissions… and yet life goes on and people have a marvelous propensity for survival despite it all.
Let’s look at some of the dynamics of this whole debate.
Firstly, there is money involved, and money tends to have an impact on what we choose to be aware of – the quote from the movie is scary but true, “It is difficult to get a man to understand something when his salary depends on him not understanding it”, amen to that brother! I think there are lots of very negative things happening in the world in the name of progress and industry that are being kept very quiet by those who make billions through these endeavors. Why invest in solar powered vehicles if we’re making a fortune off oil powered vehicles?
Then there is the issue of consequence. Ok, so we’re running out of oil and gas fast – then what? Well I guess the fear is that cars stop driving; trucks, trains and planes stop carrying goods and passengers around the world; the economy crashes and people are plunged back into a pre-industry subsistence type of life. So what? Is the idea of going back to a simple rural lifestyle that bad? My greatest dream in life is to move to the sea, grow my own vegetables, get out of the corporate carnage and write books while I catch fish. I’m not convinced that all our “progress” had made any significant improvement on our quality of life; our lives consist of nothing more than grasping for money so that we can afford all the trappings that help us achieve more money in a vicious never ending circle. I think that nature is like a market – when individual elements of the market don’t obey the rules, the market pushes those elements out or crashes and pushes everyone out and starts all over again. If the world can’t sustain humanity in its current state it might just crash all over humanity and force us to consider a different state of being. If Al Gore is right, that’s exactly what’s going to happen.
Then there’s the issue of truth and opinion. How many times have you gone on a diet because a convincing TV commercial said that ingredients X, Y and Z are bad for you and that ingredients A, B or C should immediately be introduced into your diet instead; only to find a year later that scientists have discovered that ingredients X and Y are not harmful at all and that not eating X or Y could lead to condition D; only for the whole theory to be turned on its head again three years later. Not everything you hear is true, whether Al Gore’s saying it, the president of America, Oprah or even this great blog… we need to learn to investigate truth from more than one angle. My personal view on this is that whether Al is right or wrong or somewhere in-between, it would be a great world to live in if we all changed our habits and became more Earth-friendly – I don’t want to live in a sterile concrete jungle, whatever the fate of the world.
I’m one of those that, like Al, hope we get our S#!T sorted out before the crash. I have to admit that for me it’s not about cuddly polar bears or disappearing Islands in the pacific – it’s about becoming great as a species; it’s about John Lennon’s dream of a brotherhood of man; it’s about evolving; it’s about having a place to go hiking and fishing on my holidays; it’s about discovering perpetual motion and human teleportation; it’s about looking out my lounge window at grass and trees; it’s about living in harmony with nature because that would be an amazing and healing way to live; it’s about not being a redneck; and it’s about a whole bunch of other things I might write a book about one day.
Would love to hear your views, please post comments.