I’m not a religious man, nor am I a scientist. I don’t have the patience to consistently apply myself to either pursuit. However, I can’t help but be fascinated by the beauty and variety of natural wonders that surround us here on Earth. Whether you call them God’s creations or marvels of evolution, I challenge even the most insular-microwave-meal-eating-city-dweller not to be even a little amazed by the thought of an animal as big as an airplane swimming in the oceans, or another, often no bigger than a single joint of your thumb, that carries out a function so important, its continued demise is of major concern to the production of both food crops and wild plants worldwide.
No matter where we live, how much technology we have in our houses, how big our cars are, what we eat, how much money we have, how we earn our money, who we live with, which charities we support, what sport we do or watch, how much education we have, whether or not we can name the trees in our local park or we grow our own food, or whether you, like me , are fascinated by the rest of the world for its own sake as well as for its complex and incredible interactions, we cannot escape the simple fact that none of our human lives would be possible were it not for the rest of the non-human world.
Yes, the world is bigger than you or I. This is a logical conclusion to arrive at based on our most obvious frames of reference – the size of a human body and the relatively small geographical area between home and work that the vast majority of us spend the vast majority of our time. From this, it could be easy to conclude that we can’t possibly have any meaningful impact on the rest of the world. This, for better and for worse, is not true.
There is a big problem with the amount we humans consume, particularly in westernised societies, and the way we produce and dispose of it. We make a lot of very useful things, and we should most definitely continue to use the abilities that evolution has gifted us with to investigate new technologies and endeavour to improve our lives. It is time nonetheless, that we do this in a compassionate and respectful manner. Respect for the resources (of limited stock) that we employ, and compassion for the lives (human and otherwise) that we touch in the process. Quality of life is not measured simply in terms of financial gain and status.
Nothing we do is without consequence, and most things we do have a far wider impact than we imagine. This doesn’t just apply to big industry, banks or government-level decision makers. It concerns us all as individuals. We all have the ability to positively or negatively affect the environment around us, and these effects add up to chains of events (good and bad) that stretch far beyond the range of our sight, often in ways that we don’t understand. This lack of understanding does not diminish their importance, and whilst we don’t all want to take the time to fully investigate these processes, we all need to recognise that they exist, and that even if we are not particularly interested in anyone or anything else, the effects will come back to haunt us (positively or negatively) in some form or other. We have the ability to make a difference in this world and we can’t afford to underestimate that power.
This will be the first of what I hope will become weekly or twice-weekly blogs continuing the discussion (this is nothing new, but merits repetition and development) of the state of the natural environment and other topics I find compelling, including my passion for endurance sport, travel, and my desire to progress towards a lifestyle of minimal negative and maximum positive impact on the world around me.
I’ll come back to trophy hunting shortly when I’ve worked out how to express more succinctly why the idea of it bothers me so much.
Check back next week for another blog entry or subscribe using the RSS feed button on the right hand side of this page.