Okay, starting from a known fact, the environment is screwed up. Each of us knows that past (and present) generations of Industrialists, Consumers, Commercialists, Users, Players – in fact every single one of us, have dipped their brushes in the bleak crappy paint can of carbon speckled filth.
My dog struggles to learn a new trick. Training my cat is damn near impossible. Teaching either of my kids to tie their shoe laces was a challenge. By all accounts, the human being is up there among the smartest animals on Earth, yet even the brightest of our kind will have difficulty learning to find their way home from Naknek Alaska without outside help (maybe a Garmin?). Geese can do it. Who’s the birdbrain?
Changing the mass habits of a post-industrial population is tough. It’s happening; albeit slowly. Some of us embrace new ideas, some run coughing and spluttering back into the cosy CO2 smog. We all pick and choose what we want to go along with. I guess that’s the privilege of a free world. We in the West, reject being told what to think/do/believe, because we have choice. Choice about buying pre-packaged Chicken Tikka Massala, choice about flying off to hoiday on The Aegean Coast, and choice to ignore the obvious dilemma that’s staring us in the face. The environment is stuffed.
The species that have dominated in Earth’s history are those that adapt and survive. Deep down, I have a gut feeling we all know that Humankind must likewise adapt if we are to survive. And we must survive. The human race deserves to survive. Putting our cards on the table, Homo Sapien has stuffed a lot into a short time. It would be a big shame if our species was denied the opportunity to move on to the next stage of evolutionary development, just because we failed to learn our next new trick.
Traditionally, social change has been created in a melting pot of pain and pleasure. There are always winners and losers. So far in the West, its fair to say that on balance we ain’t losing. We don’t generally starve, or get wasted by huge tsunamis, or find our homes washed away by the unstopable tide of rising sea levels. Not that we should beat ourselves up because we somehow thrive, while others do not. There is no room for sentimentality in the process of survival. But, just maybe it needn’t be like this.
We often hear the critism that the pace of change is too quick. There is not enough time to stop and smell the flowers. The coming of the computer age, brung new found access to instant facts, cutting edge research and hourly news, all in the click of a mouse button. Google has given us a longer life, or put another way, we cram more stuff into each of our lives. Each of us is blessed by technology. Computer technology is a gateway to knowledge, new social networks, cutting edge research, and the fruit of all humanities endeavor. Unlike our ancestors, you and I do not need to wait two years for the book to come out – we will find out all about it on Facebook, or that special forum we get daily bulletins from. We live in an age of spontanious updates in all walks of life.
What really stops our dog from learning to walk upright? Why can’t a pigeon organise the annual air show? Obviously, they don’t have the capacity to do so. They’ve topped out, in their evolutionary progression. This is why I think Men & Women are different, the only thing stopping us is intent. We have to want it. Human beings can do anything we bloody well want to. We can. Can. Can.
I’m an engineer, a humble spanner man, that loves designing shit. Anything from a club magazine to a coffee table to an electric record breaking motorcycle. Design and creation is a massive facet of human kind. We make stuff, but sadly so much of it has been destructive to the environment. We’re all kids at heart. Toys. Some stuff excites us, and some stuff makes us yawn. Green is dull right? Well no. Green is getting fun. John McGuiness laps the Isle of Man at over 117mph, which is flying. F1 motor racing is as quick as ever with hybrid engine technology. The building blocks of a greener world are appearing from a gurgling bog of despair.
Technology is without question the answer to our environmental woes. There is no way my decrepit parents could cope without a motorcar. Not sure I could either. Human beings must stretch their opposably gifted mitts towards space. We mustn’t loose faith in our ability for creation or our capacity for insightful development. Who knows what new advances await us in two hundred years time – the environmental problem is a glitch we MUST correct.
For the sake of every single one of our ancestors, and for every single baby yet to be born.
Never give up.