When I was a newly hatched teenager, back in the early 1960's, the world was in awe of the incredible advances in science and medicine. The scourge of polio had recently been all but eradicated. New wonder drugs called antibiotics were being developed and introduced at a rapid rate. The molecular structure of DNA had been recently discovered and its ramifications were awesome. We had every confidence that cancer and heart disease would be gone within 50 years; even that death itself might be overcome at some point.
Fast forward 50 years. Cancer and heart disease are more prevalent than ever. New, possibly even worse scourges, such as the AIDS virus and Alzheimer's disease, have taken a firm hold. What happened? Is it the fulfillment of some biblical curse? I believe, in a way, it is. The curse is worded in this way: "God said unto them, 'Be fruitful, and multiply, and replenish the earth, and subdue it: and have dominion over the fish of the sea, and over the fowl of the air, and over every living thing that moveth upon the earth.'"
If you don't know your Bible, these words occur at the very beginning of it; chapter one of the book of Genesis. This verse may not be the only cause of mankind's attitude, but it's clear that human beings have historically, and continue today, to think and act along these lines –that the resources and creatures of the planet are ours to plunder as we see fit. Earth is in its present environmentally crippled and almost certainly irreversible condition because We, the People, have treated the non-human inhabitants of the planet as second-class citizens.
But let's not hastily blame God. In my arrogant opinion, there's no way that he, if he exists, having known full well what his human creation was capable of, would ever have said it. That statement attributed to him is so obviously a human creation, it's incredible that so many religious folks buy it as the 'Word of God'.
Nowadays, it's popular to talk about reducing our carbon footprint, recycling and conservation. But these are all mere Band-Aids® on the huge leak in the dam, and not solutions to the problem. Global warming, if it is indeed a fact, is not caused only by what we have spewed into the air we breathe and the water we drink. The major factor is our having deforested 80% of the planet. Plants ~especially trees, purify the air by taking in carbon dioxide and releasing oxygen. Why doesn't anyone ever point out this obvious fact? Because we don't want to hear it. Because there is no way we are going to reverse the effects of nearly 400 years, (in America alone), of deforestation, pollution of the oceans and damming of fresh waterways, by mere recycling and conservation. What it will take is a radical change in the way human civilization operates. And this will never happen.
When I retired from my day job, I remember the envious looks and wistful comments of my co-workers. "I wish I could retire," was the universal statement. "You can," was my reply. "No I can't," they retorted. "I have this-or-that financial situation, or other responsibility." (Fill in your own answer.) I did not have a wad of money saved. For me, retirement necessitated a complete change in life style. But I wanted my freedom worse than I wanted to continue with the same life style. What my co-workers were saying was, they'd rather perpetuate their standard of living, keep their unaffordable home and two and even three vehicles (or more, in many cases), and all the other trappings of what they considered the good life, than be free to rule their own lives. It's the same with civilization at large. Humans would rather keep the way of living they're used to, continue to guzzle the limited remaining supply of fossil fuels, and imagine their paltry, too-little too-late efforts will restore the environment. They won't. It will take a radical change in world living. It will take REALLY caring about things like the fact that cell phone towers kill between five and 50 million migratory songbirds every year ~caring about that more than texting while you're driving, or being able to get your wife, who's in the kitchen, to bring a Coke® to you in the den. (Yes, people really do this.) And so on.
We look down our noses at other animal species, but you've got to give them this: they will not foul their own dens. It's apparent that we humans are not as smart. The end of the world as we know it is soon to come, and it will partly be the fulfillment of a biblical curse. But it won't be a Battle of Armageddon. Kurt Vonnegut very succinctly wrote the epitaph of our race: "The good Earth -we could have saved it, but we were too damn cheap and lazy."
Causes Stephen Kata Supports