Mother Earth/ Gaia ‘s Blog
Earth year 4,492,056,020
Mankind, My children!
As you know from a previous blog, I was born 4.5 billion years ago and for most of my life I was a lonely, barren and uninhabited rock floating through space. Then a miracle happened and to my great joy, I gradually changed into a beautiful Planet with my lands, oceans and air teaming with life and vegetation and all living eco systems in harmonious balance. I was delighted and proud to be mother to such profusion of life and to become known throughout the Universe as Mother Earth
As the youngest of my children who came very late in my life , I came to love Mankind and you became my favourites. Sadly I let you dominate, bully and exploit my other children, did not discipline you enough when you were young, did not teach you right from wrong , continually made excuses for your bad behaviour and kept forgiving you. As a result, I now see that I spoiled you. You came to think that the whole Planet and all of its resources and living creatures were yours for exploiting and that no one else mattered. In your greed and uncaring ways, you took whatever you wanted without ever asking for my permission or thinking about the consequences of your actions on others sharing the Planet or even on the consequences to yourselves. That is why I am having to write to you directly as individuals to try to explain yet again the catastrophic future that you face unless you take urgent action now and what needs to be done to nurse me and your own species back to health before it is too late.
Polluted seas, choking exhaust fumes in cities, infertile land, climate change causing devastating storms, hundreds of millions living in abject poverty and now millions infected and dying around the world before the latest Global virus is contained. Mankind seems determined to destroy it’s one and only home Planet and seems to be stumbling blindfolded towards the approaching abyss. This would not matter so much if it was only yourselves you were destroying but sadly you will take me and all my other children with you unless I can persuade you to change your profligate and selfish ways.
It was not always so. There was a time when I was optimistic and thought Mankind had at last begun to understand its place in the Universe and the fragility of our existence in the Cosmos. I really thought that things could be different and I looked forward to a new beginning and resumption of the harmony I remembered from before the age of Man
Can anyone remember 1969, when Man first walked on the moon? Did you all see the amazing photos taken from there of the small blue / green jewel that was Planet Earth rising gracefully on the far horizon and twinkling in the dark vastness of space.? How fragile and beautiful 1 looked from such a distance, belying the petty squabbles and fleeting concerns of your Nations at that time ( USA /Russian rivalry, Vietnam war , Pakistan / Bangladesh war etc ). In that image you could not see the pollution and growing number of oil spills that were already beginning to poison my seas, rivers and air. It was that single awesome image of me from afar suspended alone in the vastness of space that made some of you at last begin to appreciate just how lucky you were to have me as your Mother Planet and to be the most favoured of my many children.
This led to the birth of the Environment movement on 22 April 1970 when people (initially in USA and over the following decades, around the world ) started to say that it was no longer ok to rape and pillage Planet Earth for short term gain. It led to formation of the Environment Protection agency ( EPA ) the Clean air and the Clean water acts in USA and similar organisations and initiatives sprung up in other countries promising a brighter future for all . This year it is the 50th anniversary of that birth ( now called Earth day and held on 22 April of each year ) and it is important to note that despite my current fears about where we are heading, some important and notable events have occurred during these past 5 Decades
- 20 million people in USA participated in that first Earth day on 22 April 1970
- 200 million people from 141 countries participated in Earth day in 1990
- The UN held its UN Earth summit in 1992
- In 2015 The Sustainable Development Goals ( SDGs ) were agreed by the 193 UN members countries
- On Earth day in 2016 the countries of the World agreed on the Paris Climate Accord to try to prevent global warming and its related effects
Despite these important developments and increasing concern that promises a more enlightened, approach and possibly, a better future , it is a sad fact that many still continue to deny and ignore the urgency facing the Planet and continue in their profligate ways without regard to the consequences.
So how can we pull back from the brink before it is too late to ensure our mutual survival?. Many may not previously have seen the relevance of the 17 Sustainable Development Goals ( SDGs) or why we need to care about such issues and people or the need to improve conditions in what may seem very faraway countries and far away peoples. The latest Pandemic / COVID 19 crisis illustrates frighteningly just what an inter- connected world Mankind now lives in, where a single incident in a small local market in one town has a worldwide impact affecting all countries of the World , causing enormous Global health and economic problems ,infecting millions and killing tens of thousands across the World – even in the far distant richest countries with the very best resources and medical facilities .
Mankind lives on a single, highly interconnected Planet and unless all start to understand the critical and urgent importance of dealing with emerging issues such as pollution , climate change, poverty, infections etc affecting those less fortunate in faraway countries, such dangers will come to haunt everyone on their own doorsteps no matter how far they are from the original source of the problem. The SDGs have been designed to help create a fairer safer and better World for all and to protect and save the Planet for future generations .All should support the SDGs and take small actions in their own life (see https://whatcanyoudo.earth ). Such small actions if done by millions, can have a huge beneficial impact and help in creating a better World.
The current crisis with lockdowns , restrictions and isolation has perhaps for the first time, made people think more seriously about the kind of society and world that they want to live in and given everyone a chance to reassess what is most important in life. It has made many see that there may be a better alternative than what has been done in the past. Many may no longer be willing to be customers of or to accept the unsustainable activities of the rapacious mining, oil and logging industries that have been scarring the Planet and destroying the environment. The many thousands of bankruptcies and closures of firms around the Globe may also offer a unique , once in a lifetime, opportunity for many to re- emerge into a new beginning and with different activities , aims and aspirations to meet the demands of more environmentally demanding customers and investors .
As a Mother observing its favourite child at last beginning to understand responsibility , I would like to think that this could be an inflexion point where Mankind can look back in the Decades to come and say that this was the moment when, as a Species , it at last began to understand that it has to live in harmony with others and without causing irreparable damage so that we can all continue surviving on this small and fragile Planet.
My 4.5 billion years of overall existence and nearly 6 million years of watching the ascendancy of Mankind until you modern humans emerged just 200 ,000 years ago should have dampened my expectations and made me cynical . However despite my repeated my disappointments observing your atrocities and wars over the centuries , I remain an incorrigible optimist about Mankind and its eventual future in the Cosmos. I keep hoping that , as my youngest and most beloved of all my children you will one day see the light and make me proud of your achievements – if we both survive that long !