I saw this picture the other day while i was browsing around the net and I have to admit it had a rather thoughtful impact. We kind of take for granted that we’ll always see our cities, and always be able to enjoy the world as we know it today, but history has taught us that nothing is guaranteed and this wild world of ours is constantly changing. So why on earth should we be stupid enough to assume that we’ll always know the land we see today as our world tomorrow? More so than any thought towards global warming, or anything man is doing to change the world, was the realisation that we are totally at the mercy of this world and what nature chooses to do with it.
I guess the reason for reflection when I looked at this picture is an internal longing to be able to explore the world we live in before it is all too late. I mean it is clearly obvious that man has an effect on this planet in many ways, and the rate at which we burn fossil fuel must have its effect on the world at large in terms of global warming, but I don’t believe that it’ll be global warming that will change the world as we know it. Yes the ice caps are melting, but as a keen watcher of the Discovery Channel I am not convinced that this is all down to global warming, and this is partly due to science and the people who study it. Watching the Discovery Channel is probably only leading to my confusion as one theory cancels out another. The idea the earth may be orbiting closer towards the sun. The planets magnetism is changing, or the natural cycle of the oceans conveyor system could be any one of the factors of global warming. Or hey, hell maybe it’s all of these combined together into one big process?
I think science today gives us far too much information to be able to convincingly process as one individual. I remember reading an article the other day that pointed out that fat people on average live five to fifteen years longer than skinny people. Ok so what does that do for the whole obesity argument? We watch all these programs about how man is changing the planet and sending it crashing towards a doomsday crisis of biblical proportions unless we stop creating so much carbon emissions, and while yes I do realise that we are impacting the planet, I am more inclined to feel that it is the fact that we have a population that is far too large to physically sustain with food, housing, education, electricity and all those other things that we take for granted. How do you endlessly feed 7 billion people? You can’t keep chopping down trees for wood as a raw material for housing those 7 billion without running out at some stage. 1/3 of the worlds water is salty and 1/8 of the fresh water is now polluted. That will surely only continue to degrade further over time. The third world is being dragged either willingly or kicking and screaming into the world market place, and as such people are waking up to the possibility of owning a car, or running a business, or living in a decent house. That means more pressure on human resources. Electricity production leading to more and more hydro electric projects around the globe. Fishing production at an all time high whereby there are places in our oceans where fish no longer can be caught. Whalers having to travel right into Antarctic waters to find whales to hunt. Giant squid over populating parts of the Mexican Gulf where they are systematically hunting out other species because man has inadvertently altered the balance of hunters and predators in our oceans. Polar bears running out of places to find food as the ice melts in Canada. Seals suddenly in explosive populations in areas where killer whales no longer roam. Desertification as larger and larger tracts of the African savannah are subjected to roaming flocks of cattle.
Yes man has an effect on this planet, but I believe it is in ways that we haven’t really even begun to be real with. Mortality is a critical issue today. Far too many of us live, and live for too long. Science is wonderful in that it keeps us alive so skilfully, and I guess sitting here writing this I kind of feel cold really. I am talking about humanity being less successful and thinking of it from everyone else’s point of view. I wonder how I’d feel having to sacrifice those near and dear to me to make way for tomorrow’s generation. It’s easy to say we need fewer babies to survive, and more people to die off through that natural cycle when it’s not your own circle of friends and family that are involved. So I can understand why we strive to protect and keep the one’s we love, but ultimately I believe that this cycle of hanging on to life is the death of our planet. And maybe that is a very harsh impression to have, but fewer of us would certainly have a lesser impact on our world.
Another reason that perhaps I am not so hung up on the idea of global warming as the be all and end all of humanity as we know it, is the fact that mother nature on her own is one hell of a power to be reckoned with. I mean the Boxing day Tsunami of 2004 is proof enough of how powerful a world we live on. One event wiped out a quarter of a million people in seconds, with no mercy, not choosing fairly nor being compassionate while doing it. If you were in its way the waters took you. Now that is a power to be thoughtful of. In 1976 and again in 2008 China saw devistating earthquakes that in total wiped out over 300 thousand people. And it is not uncommon for earthquakes to have a massive impact on regions of high population. We have seen huge death tolls in Japan, Indonesia, Pakistan, Taiwan, Mexico and so many others just to consider a few. Infact according to USGS over 1.5 million people have succumbed to earthquakes or their effects since the 1990’s. But nature does not just stop there. Consider the mighty hurricane. 2005 is still one of the busiest hurricane seasons on record with 15 named hurricanes hitting the Gulf of Mexico with a combined estimated cost of 13 billion US$ and over 6000 lives lost. This figure is not including the most famous hurricane of all time. Katrina is still a name feared and spoken in hushed tones around the world, with damages in excess of 100 Billion US$ just under 3000 people lost and well over 5 million people were displaces in an area almost the size of the United Kingdom. Hello, now that’s a force of nature to be concerned about. Considering that’s just mentioning two forms of natural disaster. If you also build into the equation landslides, flooding, volcanic eruptions, cyclones, heat waves, tornados, fire storms, famine, health epidemics and so on, nature is possibly our worst enemy. I’m more inclined to wonder what the hell is going to strike next than which type of carbon fuel I should burn or not to burn!
Yes, you see in my own opinion humanity is more willing to hide its head in the sand, and worry and shout about things that could quite possibly be happening as a result of too many bodies producing too much body heat! Well, ok maybe that is taking it to extremes, but let’s be realistic. I really do believe that governments spend far too much time pulling the wool over our eyes over matters that really do not concern us. Let’s forget for a moment about carbon emissions, and hear Mr Prime Minister how you propose to feed us in 20 years time, when 1/4 of the worlds crop production goes into fuel extracts to burn endlessly to keep our machine hungry world ticking over. Tell us Mr Chancellor, how governments plan to pay off their ever increasing black holes of debt as they march onwards into oblivion! More importantly Mr President, explain to us where we are going to put the next 3 billion people that are meant to join our ranks of populous as the world’s population approaches 10 billion in 2015. Are these not issues we should be pressing home and concentrating on? We worry about the impact that burning all these fossil fuels have on the atmosphere, well please allow me to throw one more consideration into the pot. What happens to all the huge vacuums and cavernous expanses of air that used to contain crude oil, natural gass, gold, iron and all those other wonderful minerals that we draw from the earth’s core? We have taken so much out of the crust of the earth without putting it back that surely the effects that our greed have had on ravaging the earth’s crust in the manor we have will eventually bring on consequences of its own? And isn’t this possibly something we should be thinking about? Consider this – Johannesburg is said to have tunnels just short of four miles deep into the crust of the earth, with well over 800 miles of tunnelling criss-crossing the landscape underneath the city. The gold mining process in the South African city is so effective that they have an air conditioning plant the size of a small European village to ensure that the temperature at the rock face is dropped from 60 degrees Celsius to a more tolerable 36 degrees. Over 5600 men bore out around 409,000 ounces of gold each year from one of three mines located in the region and considering that in some cases it can be upward of 50 tonnes of ore to produce one ounce of gold, you can just imagine the scale of earth being removed from this mine. Now take one single category 9 earthquake in or somewhere near Johannesburg!!!!!
It won’t be at the bottom of a swimming pool that you’ll need to visit to see the skyline of the city of Johannesburg let me assure you!!!!