Monday, 31 October 2011

One Earth - Why are we Squabbling over it?

First off, yes, I am idealistic and make no apologies for the simplicity of my views.

But the point of this post can be grasped by anyone if they just zoom out from wherever they are, not even as far as an orbiting satellite, and look down on what they see.  One beautiful blue planet, but with insignificant little specks running around on its surface - all trying to stake their claim or influence the other seven billion or so ... and some wanting more than their fair share.

No matter what our race / creed / orientation, or whatever tags we're obsessed with putting on one another, we are one species and should respect and accept each other.  From the dinner table to the committee room, from local to international affairs.  What's so hard about calling one another "Friend"?  Surely a table shared is better than seeing it smashed to debris in the streets?

We'll never completely rid the world of evil, but society is broadly enough aligned to agree a definition of crimes perpetrated by the individual.  We just have to work on measured justice.  Global conflicts, however, don't arise from the actions of a single bad egg, but the fallout when dodgy deals go wrong or religions clash (ironically, trying to enforce their own version of peace and holiness).

Keep it simple.   Love thy neighbour and accept their faults - you have them too.

Thank you, Dalai Lama - you've since said it all ... there IS common ground between religions:


  1. If the Earth was your garden and you saw all those little specs running around, you would notice all the destruction they are causing and give it a good dose of bug spray. (Species specific of course.) That would solve a lot of problems and any survivors would be much more willing to get along with each other, I'm sure.

  2. One Earth. Why are we squabbling over it? It's going to take me more than 4,096 charachers to explain it clearly. How much is a fair share for 7 billion people? If the worlds resources were shared equally between all living people, I think you and I would have our life styles significantly downgraded. One can’t expect 7 billion people, on one tiny planet, to all join hands and sing “Kum Ba Yah”. It’s not religious and/or racial intolerance that starts wars. More often than not, it’s a struggle for resources. Land, power, money, food, jobs and more recently, energy, are the real reasons people fight. Race and religion, just chooses the side they fight for. There is a plague of humans on this planet and every time nature throws up a new disease to bring us back into line, we overcome it. Furthermore, as long as we postpone a population reduction, the worse the outcome will be when it happens. Like yeast in a brewers vat, we are beginning to poison ourselves in our own waste. In the same way that yeast dies off, when the alcohol it produces reaches a level it cannot survive, so are we polluting our environment with CO2 and the general filth that we pour into the seas.

  3. At the Beijing Olympics, the nutrient levels were so high in the rowing lakes, that they had a massive algal bloom. Before the events could start, this had to be mechanically removed, which took over a week. Some of the waters off China are so polluted that they cannot support anything but jelly-fish. There is a pile of trash, floating in the circular currents of the north pacific, which is so enormous, that it has its’ own name. “The North Pacific Garbage Patch”. It is the size of Sri Lanka and consists mostly of plastic.

    From sampling air bubbles trapped in the ice of Antarctica, we now know that CO2 levels were 250ppm at the beginning of the Industrial Revoultion. CO2 levels are now at 400ppm, which last occurred on this planet 800 thousand years ago. OK. So with the exception of a few blinkered souls, we now know that climate change is a problem and is being caused by mankind, but are we changing our ways? That’s a good question. Everyone is now looking “off shore” for more oil. The USA has been drilling in the Gulf of Mexico for many years now and is considering extending drilling in Alaskan waters. Canada and Russia are squabbling over the rights to drill in the waters that have opened up, due to the melting Arctic ice cap. Australia has actually considered drilling on the Great Barrier Reef, several times in recent years and is now opening more new coal mines to meet demand from China and India. With the ongoing clearing of tropical rain forests, where can we ever hope to sequester the additional CO2 that all this extra activity will cause? “Clean Coal”. I doubt it.

    We haven’t yet considered the other creatures on this planet, which mankind is increasingly encroaching upon, or just plain destroying. Every day a species goes extinct, generally without mankind even noticing. The black Rhino was announced “Extinc in the wild” last week and the Tiger and Orangutan are going the same way, largely due to destruction of their environment . Over fishing of Blue Fin and Yellow Fin Tuna is beginning to threaten the ongoing viability of the fishery and shark numbers are crashing around the world, due to demand for their fins. Furthermore, increased levels of CO2 in the atmosphere are beginning to increase the acidity of sea water. CO2 dissolved in water makes Carbonic Acid, which is already beginning to impact corals and small marine crustaceans such as krill. Scientists are studying the effects of increased acidity on krill in the Southern Pacific Ocean, as I type. If this problem continues to increase, then many or all of the worlds reef systems may collapse, with the loss of a major food source. While humans are progressively replacing all the other creatures of this world, “Food security” is rapidly becoming an issue for the near future. Over 850 million of the poorest people in this world depend on fishing for their living and we are continuously destroying the oceans and wild fish stocks.

  4. So what does the future hold for mankind? Answer - More of the same and worse. Napolean once said of China “Let her sleep, for when she wakes, she will shake the world.” Well now, she’s yawned, stretched and has both eyes wide open. China has identified the Straits of Malacca as a point of threat to her oil supplies, which come largely from the Middle East. The tensions between China and India have resulted in India strengthening its’ capabilities on Andaman and Nicobar Islands and China has built up her capabilities in Bangladesh. USA announced today, an increase in its’ capabilities in northern Australia. We are probably past “Peak Oil” and the Great Powers are now positioning themselves to “protect their interests”. Indeed, China has been rapidly expanding her military capacity and is building a very big “Blue Water” Navy, presumably, to protect HER “interests.”, much as the British did in India 300 years ago. Everyone is making soothing noises at the moment, but they’re all watching each other very closely and gently “rattling their sabres”, just a little bit, so no one forgets the others are prepared for action, if needed.

    The struggle for resources is not just limited to the third world, where we see lots of little dirty wars springing up, almost daily. “Peace” and “Love” generally only exists between like-minded people, when they don’t feel threatened. All the great nations of the world look to protect the interests of their own people and if this comes at the cost of others, then someone will probably “push back”. I have only just skimmed the surface of matters that are unfolding around the world, so to say the future looks “interesting”, is putting it mildly. Dreaming is a good thing, but it’s not helpful if it prevents you from seeing the realities before your eyes.

    “Kum Ba Yah” to you, Brother.


  5. Thanks, Anon. I think we're on the same page as to the reasons squabbles occur (my generic reference to "dodgy deals", which are inextricably linked to the struggle for resources you mentioned). As for "Kum Ba Yah", I don't think my idealism is an unrealistic, unworthy or unachievable quest. My point was, whatever challenges we face as stewards of this Earth (including our own explosion in numbers and the environmental consequences of that), we can surely achieve more by working together. The China situation is interesting - it would help if the US wasn't goading them by building up military presence in Australia and saying China has to play by the rules. That is typical Washington arrogance, a mouse squaring up to an elephant. China, in fact, sees it as an affront to the peaceful development of the region.
    You may say I'm a dreamer, but I'm not that blinkered that I don't see the realities. It's just that I won't let adversity be a barrier to my HOPE for peace.

  6. Jacque Cousteau invented the SCUBA aparatus in the 50s, and by the 70s, he could see the degradation of our reefs and began to issue his first warnings. He was very popular at the time due to his very successful TV program with the Calypso. Today, sctientist and idealists who see the problem clearly, are shouted down as whacko nutjobs and extremists. Big business makes money with development, expansion and "progress" and the general population are far too busy with their own lives, families etc. to pay much attention to world affairs. We will come to a point in time when things WILL change, but there will be a geat deal of suffering, not only by mankind, but also by the innocent creatures of this world, before that point is reached. Cling to your HOPE Brother, for I'm afraid mine is lost. The juggnaut of mankind seems unstoppable and while indivuduals can see the problem, as a collective species, it's an igrorant beast.