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What on Earth?

by Josh Firmin 3 years ago in habitat
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We are threatening our future, destroying our history and punching this Earth, which has provided for its inhabitants for over 4 billion years, right in the mouth.

What on Earth are we doing?

Rising sea levels, melting ice caps, Pacific Islands at risk of flooding and the Amazon is on fire.

We are threatening our future, destroying our history and punching this Earth, which has provided for its inhabitants for over 4 billion years, right in the mouth.

There is more to the story than saying we need to take better care of our planet. Our word is so deeply connected by complex webs of trade, political alliance and economic interests that requires us to take from the Earth; and to exploit it.

But if you think about it logically; accepting your bias for what it is and attempting to weigh it against alternative biases as best you can, is there any scope for us to genuinely contend that everything is okay?

Some of you may be familiar with the cartoon drawing of a dog (wearing a hat) sitting at its kitchen table surrounded by an inferno with a speech bubble which reads “this is fine” in the second frame. For those who aren’t, you can get in on the joke here:

In the event that you don’t understand my point, we are the dog. Our Earth is the house. The inferno which surrounds us is climate change, mistreatment of natural resources and the loss of precious wildlife—entire species in some cases.

Now, before we go any further I need to acknowledge some things. First, writing this article as an Australian whose family has been connected to the coal-powered energy sector for decades, I acknowledge the deep-rooted reliance on coal in Australia for jobs and the security of our parents, brothers, sisters and friends. Second, as I mentioned earlier, it is not lost on me that in a world which is increasingly reliant on international trade (which usually requires the exploitation of natural resources) it is simply impracticable to suggest that we should take a ‘hands-off’ approach to our Earth. We need to take from the Earth, it is simply the reality we are in. Thirdly, and finally, I want to make it very, very clear that if you simply deny the existence of a climate crisis and refuse to take action accordingly, you are entirely unhelpful and you may as well stop reading now.

Okay, so, here’s the deal.

I was prompted to write this article by the news that the Amazon Rainforest, one of our global treasures, is on fire and that Brazil has experienced 84% more fires than the same period in 2018. I note that many of these fires are man-made and are the consequence of political leadership encouraging deforestation and economic activism in the regions affected.

In any event, it got me thinking. How can it be that despite all of the noise we’re trying to make to highlight the importance of taking steps to reverse some of the damage we’ve caused on the natural environment which we call home, that we’re continuing to make things worse?

Something has to change, I suppose. And it seems to me that the primary emphasis in creating change needs to be on changing our mindset. No longer can we think in terms of financial and/or personal gain to determine our behaviours. We must think bigger.

Last year I wrote an article encouraging business to move away from measuring their impact based on financial profitability and to instead include social impact metrics in their data. You can read it here on Vocal. And I guess my point in this article is similar.

We need to think about what the hell we’re doing here. I’m going to challenge you right now. I put it to you that you are so incapable of overcoming your own self-absorbed interests and your unquenchable greed that your actions are a detriment to the Earth you live on.

Most of you disagree with me. Right? Then do something about it! I’m not saying we need to eliminate entire industries (except poaching; that can go) to combat the environmental crises which exist. I’m simply telling you that we need to work collectively to shift our mindset.

Think about the impact you’re having on your friends, your family, your community. Think about how your actions are affecting the natural environment that is under extreme and unprecedented stress to keep up with our demands.

For those of you that are fighting the good fight; keep going. For those of you who want to know more, do some research. Shock-horror! Research fuels knowledge; I promise that is the truth. For those of you who know you want to do more about social and environmental issues but don’t know how; remember that you can be as effective with your mouth, and with your dollars, as you can with your actions. For example; you can provide someone sleeping rough with basic necessities simply by buying a pair of socks.

It is 2019, people. Time to grow up.


About the author

Josh Firmin

I'm an entrepreneur, law student and a thinker. This is where I combine all those wonderful phenomena into a creative outlet for myself.

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