The World As I See It Part I: A Natural Response
So, I’m going to try something here. I can write seriously, and i do often in regards to university work. However, i do not partake in the act for things that i am interested in, as i often find that adding a degree of humour and light heartedness into reviews and the sort builds a more personal bond between the reader and writer. I am a friendly guy and i would really like to have a friendly relationship with my readers. However, sometimes you have to take a step back and talk about things that are genuinely important. So important that joking about it may demean the subject. I’m not really talking about controversial subjects like religion at the moment, but rather things like the environment.
And that is what i am going to talk about today. How i perceive environmentalist issues, from a distinctly NOT hippie like background, but with enough respect for science and the natural world to be concerned by it. So, here i go. A serious matter, from me, for once.
If you would like some music that emulates my thoughts and feelings on this matter, here is some astounding ambient music, by Brian Eno. If you are into that sort of thing, then it is worth a listen.
Our planet is literally the most important thing in all of human history, ever. Without the planet, we would not exist and nothing involving us would ever have happened. You think you have problems? You don’t have problems. Our planet has problems. What is our planet? How do you guys view our planet? A blank canvass for sketching out your hopes and dreams, in our brief moment of existence? A playground for indulging yourself in your wildest desires? A vast territory for your inquisitive mind to explore? It is all of these things. But should we look at it in a more structural, intrinsic fashion?
It is the leftover remains of interstellar matter, caused by a variety of events throughout the vast expanse of the universe. These pieces slowly formed larger pieces with the help of gravity, over a span of millions (possibly billions) of years. Eventually, a certain, dense material manages to gather enough matter to form a planet. Our planet. And that is where everything that has ever happened, has happened. At least for us. This congregation of matter is a violent, confusing place where even the tiniest upset to the balance could throw us in at the deep end. Our floating rock, hurtling through space at an unimaginable speed, seems so sturdy and unchanging. But none of the problems it has faced so far matches with the sheer ignorance and stupidity of this monkey-like lifeform that has taken up residence here. We have claimed this planet as “our own”. We have drawn up boundaries so that “your people” will be kept separate from “my people”. We have taken to “owning” areas of the world, with our scraps of paper, saturated in the imaginary concept of value. We have invented a hierarchy of importance, in regards to anything and everything. You aren’t as important as me, because you believe in a different imaginary sky man. You aren’t as important as me, because you are a different colour from me. You aren’t as important as me, because you don’t have as much of this scrap paper as i do. We squabble over what is “ours” and often kill for things which don’t really matter. This is completely understandable. This is based on a deep carving into our instincts: that I am the most important thing there is. If we did not have this instinct, we would not have survived this long.
However, there comes a time when the mind overtakes the body. We were the luckiest animal on this planet, to develop such amazing cognitive abilities. Our mind is so developed that we can CHOOSE to abandon our instincts, as they our our most primal method of thinking. We have much more advanced ways of thinking now – we can think about the big picture. Our longevity, on the largest scale possible. We can abandon this primitive notion of self-importance and discover some truly wonderful things, if only some people would gather the courage to look. When we look at our planet, a large percentage of us consider it “our planet”. The planet owned by humans. When it isn’t.
We are guests here. We did not create this place, this place created us. Every living thing on this planet came into being in some way, and we are merely making use of what our planet offers us. We have no right to be here. We just happen to be. As does everything else. So why do we cling so defiantly to this idea of our ownership of the Earth? In doing so, we have affected literally everything on it. We have tore down rainforests for our coffee tables, excavated precious metals so our fingers can sparkle in the sun, we have drilled down to the liquid remains of ancient lifeforms so we can alter their corpses to make clothes, iphones, televisions, ornaments. Sure, all these things help us in many ways, all of these things make our lives just that little bit better, and i would be a hypocrite to claim that i did not use any of these things. I even support it, to a general extent. It just seems like we think there will always be these precious materials of which we can build contraptions of convenience. Well we’re using it up pretty fast. Things that take millions of years to form are being harvested and wasted in decades. On a global scale, we are the biggest threat to the planet yet. And altogether too many of us don’t realise this.
Now, i admit, i am not the biggest environmentalist. I barely recycled. I even littered on numerous occasions. I have left my xbox on while i went for a shower, wasting electricity. I’ve done all of these things, just as i am sure you have. I’m not even that big a fan of animals. I hate insects with a burning passion. I’m wary of small animals, as i am a clumsy man, and i would probably cause a lot of harm to them as a result. I can’t stand cats. They are ferocious, evil little things and for some reason, they all take a hatred to me, as i take a hatred to them. Reptiles are cool, but i wouldn’t know what to do with one. Fish are cool too, but i can find myself almost being bored with them. The only animal i can claim to genuinely love is a dog. I love dogs and i do my utmost best to ensure that any dog i am in contact with is happy. The “smile” of a dog, with the wagging tail and big tongue, is one of the most heartwarming things i have ever seen.
But i have recently been through a change. Dog’s are still my favourite animal, and i still have a resentment for most others, but i have also gained a massive amount of respect for them all. Humans are actively impeding their evolution, by stealing all the resources, encroaching on territories that they could also use and even killing them, for pleasure. Eating animals is another part of evolution, so i do not oppose it. If you are a vegetarian or vegan, then good on you. You have taken a step in the right direction which i cannot bring myself to take. You have my respect (just don’t be a dick about it). However, poachers murder Silverback Gorillas for their hands…to use as fucking ashtrays. Elephants are hunted for their Ivory…to make piano keys and cigarette boxes? Rhinos are hunted for their horns…for use in medical purposes based on religious and superstitious bullshit. These creatures, who have just as much a right here as we do, are being needlessly tortured to the point of ending their existence entirely. We don’t eat Rhinos. So killing Rhinos is not a requirement for survival. As far as I’m concerned, no Rhino should have EVER been killed by a human (unless in a life or death situation, which is understandable – not good, but understandable).
We are hindering these creatures chances at evolving further. Who knows what they may become thousands of years into the future. Who knows what beautiful creatures may come into existence. Who knows if, eventually, one of these animals might become sentient. We should not be hindering. We have an unimaginable head start on these animals, so we should be helping them.
Many biologists and environmentalists believe in helping out in non-interventionist ways. Giving these animals that extra push, but from a distance, so they can retain their ability to live in the wild, productively. I agree with this in many ways. The more they can do on their own, the better. We can do many things to kickstart this. First of all, we can stop hunting them in such vast numbers. That is the main problem. If we stop that, it will be an instantaneous, massive help. We can do this by educating people on the nature of the world. I believe, that if everyone knows exactly how we place in the great scheme of things, they will be more sympathetic towards those further behind in the race than us. This race need not have a winner. We can all continue along this path alongside each other, we don’t need to sabotage others attempts in such a drastic way. Another way we can help is alter our spread. By this, i mean we stop expanding in such a climatic, all-encompassing way. The human spread is like an infestation, growing larger every day and stealing more area as “human territory”, when it is all everyone’s territory. We should live with the land, not on or off it. With advancements in technology, soon we may be able to do such a thing. Abandon areas once inhabited to nature once more, while we find somewhere more economical and less damaging to live. Underground is a good plan. It will take a lot of work, but it’s where we can do the least damage.
Now, there is another school of thought, which i am also inclined to agree with, and that is actual intervention. When we see an animal (which is significantly endangered) in a state of injury, then we must do all we can to help it. We must give some food and plenty of water to groups of people who can span out in times of drought, particularly in Africa, and feed animals that may otherwise die as a result of our gross negligence of the planet and its other inhabitants. They may not learn anything useful from this, but at least they will have a greater chance of surviving. If there is any way we can help these animals, we must. It has gone beyond the point of simply stopping our negligence – we have to actively work at fixing the problems we have already caused. If we do that, hopefully the numbers shall start to rebuild and eventually flourish. Humans have been offered an inch and taken the entire planet. We need to learn our place in the universe, and stick to it. We are not the most important thing in the known universe. We just happen to be the most advanced.
This brings me to a man i have the highest level of respect for, Sir David Attenborough. For years, this man has done all he can for the environment and the animals within it. He is a scientist of incredible calibre, but he takes that one step further. Some people would say that “commercialising” science is selling out, or doing something immoral. I completely disagree. We must remember how unfathomably ignorant the majority of our species is. If they can turn on the television to a friendly face, with a soothing voice, explaining the wonders of science and the benefits of environmentalism, then regardless of how dumbed down it may be, it is advantageous to the human race in a way that differs from actual science, but is just as important. Turning people on to this kind of thing via a popular medium is incredibly difficult, but hugely beneficial. That is why i respect this man so much. He is influencing so many other people and teaching them how to look at the environment. Sir, i salute you.
I would particularly like to talk about his latest series Africa, on the dying continent. Many people do not like to describe it as that, but i believe if we refer to it in the way it truly is, we can educate more people on how to change it. Global warming and mass logging have affected this continent in a way like no other. Africa, the hottest continent, is getting hotter. The Sahara, the largest hot desert in the world, is growing. With each year, areas of Africa that could sustain life are being extinguished by the engulfing sand of the desert. The rainforests and jungles diminish each year too, with more and more animals being forced to escape the destructive reach of our forever-hungry race. Even our evolutionary ancestors are feeling our wrath. We are murdering our own family.
David Attenborough’s Africa is a stunning display of the beauty of the old continent. It is a deep look into what makes this place one of the most exotic lands on our world, but it is also a harsh insight into the reality of our effect. We can see how animals have adapted to the needless problems created by us. We see the burdens they must undertake as a result of our lack of sympathy. We see the unhappy existence of these hungry, dehydrated, biological machines. And it is heartbreaking.
The final episode recently aired, and is available on bbc iplayer for those in the UK for a limited time. Here is the link;
Hopefully it still works, but if not, then i’m sure you can stream it online somewhere. I’m sure Sir Attenborough won’t mind, if its for the process of education and may help his cause. The man is a legend, and does not care about his income in this regard. I hope you will watch the entire series, but if you only see one episode, let it be this one. It highlights some truly heartwarming situations where people have taken things into their won hands and helped out our planetary neighbours, improving their chances of survival.
His ending monologue is beautiful. He really talks from the heart. The sight of the poor, blind, baby Rhino adds to the atmosphere in a unique way. If i was to review this Africa series, i would give it 5 stars. It is my favourite Attenborough series to date, and i believe everyone should watch it in order to open their eyes to some of this.
Like i said, i am not a hippy. I don’t have some ridiculous spiritual ideology on the nature of the earth. I am looking at this from a logical point of view. Healing the Earth will massively benefit us as a species, and helping the animals is our duty as sentient beings. We cannot argue with that. I am a writer. By this, i mean i am too stupid to do anything worthwhile, in my opinion, like discovering ways to heal the planet etc. I have what i like to call “Joe Rogan Syndrome”. I mean well, i am inquisitive, i am moral and all i want to do is be nice to people and help out any way i can, but i am not intelligent enough to actually get into the actual science. I am not advancing the human race in any way. All i can do, is tell you about people that are. And hope that other people, with a superior intellect or sense of motivation, will go on to become the heroes this planet needs. And on that note, i would like to pay homage to some of those heroes.
David Attenborough and his entire team are amongst those heroes. Carl Sagan and all of those associated with his work, too. Professor Brian Cox. Professor Michio Kaku. Neil DeGrasse Tyson. Bill Nye. Charles Darwin. Richard Dawkins. Christopher Hitchens. Marie Curie. Nikola Tesla. Galileo. Jane Goodall. Alan Guth. Stephen Hawking. Edwin Hubble. Allan Sandage. Craig Venter. James Watson. Edward Witten.
And many many more. These are but a few of the pioneering minds that have opened up unfathomable doors for us to pass through as a species. And i bid good luck to all of those to open future doors. One thing i didn’t know about science as a whole, is that lifechanging discoveries happen in the thousands every day. Every day discovers a new piece of the puzzle. I can’t wait to see what happens next.
I would like to thank you for indulging me in this matter. I hope it made at least a degree of sense to some of you. I welcome criticism and thoughts, please comment if you want. Now i’m going to use this time to advertise a few things you may be interested in.
First of all, i am a historian. I study history at university, and i am in the process of building a network of historians and history enthusiasts on facebook, who can provide each other with interesting topics as well as help each other out when we need it (whether that be for university exams, school essays or even your own projects). There are no requirements for joining except a love for history. I encourage you to join and to invite anyone else you may think would be interested.
If you are so inclined, i also run a page that posts on Atheism and the problems that religion causes in this world. I am an atheist, and i believe Religion to be holding us back as a species, so i hope to educate people in the ways of free thinking and the nature of scientific evidence.
If you are in a band and would like some internet promotion, reviews and more fans of your music, then please go to our facebook page, like us and let us know what you need. On top of that, if you would like a review, then please send your links and information to firstname.lastname@example.org and we will stick you on the list.
Here are the various mediums i use;
Thank you very much for reading. Goodnight.