It seems as though we find out more every day about just how grave the future might be, yet less is being done, well maybe not less, but it is safe to say what is being done certainly isn’t keeping pace with our collective and exponentially increasing problem.
Citing the aforementioned report, as a mammal bound to this earth, I have a deep concern for the apathy and disregard that so many seem to hold. Cancer of the mouth is threatening the survival of the Tasmanian devil? Do they chew tobacco? Can we really separate ourselves from the ones that are silently disappearing?
“Human activity is wiping out close to one per cent of every other species on earth every year, a global environmental report said Friday.The report, compiled by the World Wildlife Fund, the Zoological Society of London and the Global Footprint Network, said the population of animals, birds and fish has dropped by a third in the last 35 years.” You’d have to go back to the extinction of the dinosaurs to see a decline as rapid as this," said Jonathan Loh, editor of the report.” –CBC news
As an animal with primal instincts, I am feeling the instinctual need to flee, but there really is nowhere to escape to. Maybe if I buy a good digital cable package... Many of my family and friends have been affected by cancer. Grandparents, friends, friends parents; pretty much anyone I know or could think of knowing has had experiences with cancer in one way or another. I see what is happening to amphibians and other sensitive species around the world and have to wonder if endlessly searching for the cure with runs accompanied by plastic water-bottle and ribbon giveaways is somewhat of an ugly paradox.
Clearly, if there is a plastic island twice the size of Texas in the Pacific Ocean, and black pollution clouds over Vancouver Island from China, searching for answers to merely cure the acute effects of our heavily degraded environment isn’t all that is needed. It’s a terrible irony that the medical industry relies so heavily on polyvinylchloride; a known carcinogen and dioxide producing chemical. As many lives are saved through the drip of an IV from a plastic sac, many are lost to cancer in Lake Charles Louisiana. The cure for many of our ailments must surely lie partly within addressing our collectively poor attitudes and despicable treatment of our world and fellow humans. Is there a run or a ribbon for the "Human problem" cure? Can it be mandatory? Health care costs due to pollution are so high that they probably outstrip the cost of actually dealing with some of the root causes. Just look at asthma. This report:
claims that asthma is on the rise world wide to the order of 50% per decade.12% of Canadian children suffer childhood asthma. In 1990, Canada spent an estimated 600 million per year on asthma treatment. I am so happy that Stephen Harper has promised to spend 113 million on the environment over 5 years… what a great mind and wonderful leader he is. There are so many complex problems and I would be the first to admit that I am an integral part of them. I try to make the best choices I can, but often I find myself hamstrung. The "coming recession" is heralded as a really bad thing because people are slowing their spending (consumption). Is that really such a bad thing? Well, yes, because people lose jobs and suffer hardships, but that begs a question, how can we have lower consumption, something crucial to the concept of that buzz word sustaina..., yet many call for the encouragement of spend spend spending to keep the economy going. I don’t see a solution coming out of this backwards way of thinking. People are seriously deluded if they believe that we can spend our way out of our financial or environmental problems.
I don’t see how there can ever be an environmental solution with an economic one, that is to say if the traditional notion of endless expansion is considered to be vital to a functioning economy. Why growth growth growth? What happened to maintenance? Sustained pace? Sustain... hmm reminds me of a buzz word that gets tossed around a lot these days... Why does a country like Japan, experiencing a serious population decline, have to have an expanding economy? Shouldn’t an economy match a population's growth? Following that logic, many developed countries should experience flat or near negative growth. Many are panicking and losing sleep over gloomy reports of a coming recession. I am losing sleep over something much different, but perhaps not entirely unrelated.
After all these decades of hearing the repeating rhetoric of the "one day we will wake up and wish that we had made better choices" type statements, really, honestly, that day will come, and maybe it already has.Despite our 'best efforts' and increased awareness, climate change commitments thus far have failed, biodiversity protection has failed and extinction rates have accelerated, solving or reducing national or international socioeconomic disparity has failed and increased. Does this mean our economic, social and political systems and models have failed us? Likely not. Culpability lies in our own languid reactions to the transmitted information. The bottom line is that there is still time to throw everything we have at solving our environmental woes before it is too late. Transdiciplinary ideas and philosophical discussions represent an important basis of a new "economy". If we treat each other, and all other living things, as being integral parts of the much greater and very unique chance of existence we have been given, petty inter-species squabbling and personal greed can be overcome. Human creativity, compassion, scientific understanding and technology can surmount; only if we allow them to. It is essential to take knowledge we have gained, whether it is of political, economic, ecological or social focus and transform the knowledge into tangible action. Education and bridging information gaps is vital. No one faceted solution exists, thus there may be no 'right' answers, rather many differing methods of arriving at a similar destination. I hold out hope that the destination includes a little more than half of the mammal species on earth, otherwise this planet will get a whole lot more lonely.