The most pressing matter must be the life of the planet. There will be 10 billion of us by the next generation. It was 2.5 billion when I was born. Yet we seem to get drawn into other arguments that fail to bear down on the fact that our ability to function as human beings will terminate some time soon, if we don’t act now. How soon is soon is open to speculation, depending on which expert you speak to.
The environment seems to be the big issue. But the problem is, how do you crack open this particular nut? By which I mean how do you crack the nut that, although lots of people talk about the environment, most people are more tied up with other things. Like getting through the day. Making ends meet.
In fact most people who exist in the world at the moment are having a hard time of things. They are up against it. So drawing them into arguments about the life of the planet seems as relevant as asking them to choose the new wallpaper for a royal palace.
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So if the environment is the big Big One then how do we get it into the minds of people who are exhausted just surviving? How do we move the fight for the environment away from solely those that have the time and energy to contemplate the life of the future planet? And pass it on also to those who don’t have the luxury to conceive of risks that are not immediate.
Not to say that the planet’s health is not threatened immediately. The loss of species – a UN report says we’re threatening one million with extinction – means a decreasing ability to experiment with natural products coming out of a biodiverse world: and this lays us open to pandemics. Not being able to learn from a disappearing nature will seriously stymie our ability to counter the pandemics of the future.