Most of us have problems. Some work to help others and worry about the world we live in. In a short essay I want to show my priorities for the worlds crisis.
My list of problems in order of importance.
One. The murder, unnecessary deaths and inhumane conditions of people.
Two. Extinction of species.
Three. Individual problems that have a political solution.
Four. Global warming*a
Humans are the most important creatures on the Planet. Their value is only our subjective opinion of course but it needs to be stated. It is easy to have a romantic view of the blue dot we call home. There has just had a reminder that there are a huge number of things that are out to get us. Global warming will at this rate finish off all but the wealthiest; but bacteria, draught, ice, and, until the last few thousand years, even monkey-eating eagles have all had a go. We have to stick together. I find it difficult to believe that murderous governments killing families, children dying of malnutrition or treatable disease, can be allowed in the modern world. I know it is a cliché but a person dying now is not coming back and how can people be allowed to suffer. If the worst abuses of human rights were addressed first so many corrupt processes and injustices could be eradicated and we could then look clearly at the next problem. *b
The only European who can be happy in a rain forest is Ray Mears (Bear Grills is just there for show). Everything wants to eat you. However, when I was younger I developed the moral sense from somewhere, that burning down the rainforest*c was intrinsically wrong. Maybe it is. But there is a less altruistic view. Millions of years of evolution are lost when an environment is destroyed. Not forever because the planet will eventually move on, scarred perhaps but life will evolve again to occupy these positions. However, it will be lost to us. Its beauty and wonder, our spiritual and cultural connections. It is probable that the continuing destruction is a huge contribution of the imbalance of greenhouse gasses. If we need any other reason it has been said for decades the usefulness of plants for pharmaceutical research and its value for our future health. There are many others. Yes, most of nature and humanity will be destroyed if we have a runaway temperature spike but I am worried there will be very little left when the temperature crises hits. We are not being successful at present. If we can first live in our world without destroying it then it should be possible to look at the next set of problems.
As an example of the third most important issue I would state the development of Donkey sanctuaries. It is not a facetious attempt at a joke. In a conversation I had with a friend many years ago, I snapped (and pretty sure this included a snort) why would anybody spend their time or contribute to running a donkey sanctuary when we are destroying the planet and there are a hundred other things we need to sort out. She very patiently suggested that at least they were doing something to make the world a better place. We can all attempt to help by contributing to our own passions and concerns, these problems are not mutually exclusive, and for some they will be one or more of the other three on my list.It baffles me why Human Rights and Biodiversity have not been made a cross party issue but British politics will have to solve the third set of problems we feel are important. This I am sure will include how to run our economies without destroying our children’s futures. Hence leading to solutions for Global warming.
We are living in very worrying times and this lock down had originally made people think about their values. However, I am worried that if we are not careful, we will return to behaving using the same confused, thoughtless and selfish narrative as before.
*a. I would prefer that we use the term Global Warming when reporting this issue. Global warming is a long term trend. I am a non-scientist but I am disturbed by how every extreme event can be used to make a story about Climate change rather than how it impacts societies in terms of the first two catastrophes.
My order of importance was before SARS-CoV-2. There is an opportunity now took again at our economies due to the second bail out.
*b. It is the snowball of problems which is the main point of this article, in that, for example War displaces populations and this is a possible factor in the explosion of the AIDS epidemic. Destitution means having to destroy the environment to survive. Poor farming practices and conditions have been allowed to expose us to at least 400 zoonotic events since 1945.
Change is obviously unlikely to happen in the short term. However, we should clearly state the issues and be prepared to engage with the media and our political representatives on a consistent and regular basis.
*c This includes our own ancient woods.
One of my main reasons for this article is the frustration I have with what I have perceived as one of the main drivers of the media before the outbreak Climate change (Global Warming). I do think as a single issue it deserves to be at No3 but feel if we dealt with the first two as societies and number three mainly as individuals I believe the solutions to Global warming would follow.