Are we good or bad? I bet you’re thinking, what sort of a question is that?! Of course we’re good people! But I meant from a wider perceptive, a whole Earth perspective… Just imagine…Imagine you’re an elephant, would you consider humans as good? Those two legged creatures who hunt you for your teeth, who climb on you for rides, who tie you to a post or make you walk hundreds of miles? What about if you’re a tree who’s being cut down?
This is just the beginning of a series of posts on the different areas where humans have completely meddled with the way nature works and how the Earth’s system itself has changed because of it.
We humans are essentially selfish creatures, wanting only what is best for us. Perhaps all creatures are selfish at some level, but we have the capability to change nature itself to bend to our will. We aren’t the strongest or most resilient beings on the Earth, even a tiny mushroom (if poisonous) can finish us off with a bite from it! But we have made up for it by utilizing our brains! We are definitely the brains over brawn kind of beings. Our curiosity has been our biggest asset perhaps, leading us to innovations of all kinds and so changing our lives constantly, making it better.
Our first activity that changed the planet for ever is… agriculture. Surprised? Its true! Agriculture was when we first started intentionally growing plants to feed us. Before that, we used to hunt animals or gather whatever there was in the area. We wandered about in search of food. But growing crops meant we could always get food in one place, so no need to go from place to place. We could build towns and cities then. We could colonize the globe. And we did! We didn’t have the constraints of other animals, having to search for food. We could eat wherever we wanted, whenever we wanted!
So we continued to grow and grow and grow. We developed and became global. Awesome! Not so much for all the trees we cut and the animals we killed to make space for us. The more we got, the more we needed, the more we conquered. We fished indiscriminately, we hunted and killed without restraint, we grew lots of food by using lots of fertilizers. Everything nature had – land, water, animals, air, fossil fuels – we snatched. Till….today. The 21st century. We not are facing the results of our own folly. We are too big for our breeches, or in this case, our Earth. Soon, there will be too many of us for the Earth to sustain with its limited land, water and other resources. What to do then? Where to go for all the food we need, all the land for space to live in, all the fuel for all our luxuries?
Our actions, from agriculture and animal husbandry to industrialization. have led us to this point. The point of no return. Maybe this point is still a few years away. Maybe we’ve passed it. Why? Just think climate change, global warming, food crises, pollution, land degradation, water scarcity, dying ocean life, acidified oceans, exhausted fossil fuel reserves….the list goes on and on.
I guess the question now is, where do we go from here? And maybe how do we go on from here? Is there hope? The Earth has survived before, it’ll survive now. But the question is, will we?