Earth, we have a problem. There is an elephant in the room, and it is on one seriously destructive international rampage.
We are now unofficially living in the era of the Anthropocene, a recently coined geological epoch in which humanity is recognized as a significant force in shaping global environmental systems. We have a lot of power, and it would appear that we are not using it particularly wisely.
They say that good communication is the key to a successful relationship. Evidently we need to better our pillow talk game with dear Mother Nature because she’s not impressed by our mediocre pickup lines and half-assed empty promises. There is a severe problem when it comes to how we talk about the environment. Now more than ever we need not only a sustained and productive dialogue about the future of the planet, but also a thorough understanding of the full-scale implications of our actions.
Evidently we need to better our pillow talk game with dear Mother Nature because she’s not impressed by our mediocre pickup lines and half-assed empty promises.
If you will for a moment, banish all your preconceptions about environmentalism and the waning concentration and unfathomable heaviness of your eyelids when you hear the terms ‘rising sea levels’ or ‘deforestation.’ Humans are selfish. Coupled with this, it is a sad truth about the human condition that we have a tendency to ignore large, multifaceted problems with all the tenacity of a stubborn child.
Let’s ignore the starving polar bears baffled by their rapidly melting ice sheets for just a second and harness the fundamental self-interest that remains an integral part of our very being. Let us indulge: How does this affect us?
In particular, following the terrorist attacks in San Bernardino and Paris, the political rhetoric in the U.S. has become even more heavily centered on national security; how on earth are we to keep all these pesky bomb-toting Syrians out of the Land of the Free? Meanwhile, drought cripples the Californian economy and communities in Porter Ranch and Flint are suffering adverse health problems from the continual prioritizing of capital over environmental and social responsibility. Yet the most hotly contested topic of discussion is the most efficient way in which to bomb Syria into a post-apocalyptic wasteland.
I am in no way belittling the threat of terrorism, however, the rhetoric surrounding it is utterly misguided and divisive. In the meantime, there is an escalating ecological catastrophe that has a far more lasting capacity to affect every facet of our daily existence.
I am in no way belittling the threat of terrorism, however, the rhetoric surrounding it is utterly misguided and divisive.
The U.S. Department of Defense released a report in July 2015 indicating that climate change poses a significant threat to national security — not just in the United States, but also across the globe. It is therefore perplexing that throughout all the televised presidential debates thus far — both Republican and Democratic — there has not been one single substantial question concerning the environment or climate change.
Candidates on occasion have addressed the issue themselves, but these incidences have been few and far between. Bernie Sanders has ranted about his allegedly absurd delusion that climate change is the single biggest threat to the American public, which was met with much derision from the far right. Meanwhile, Donald Trump has expressed a desire to abolish the Environmental Protection Agency in its entirety in the name of attempting to reduce national debt.
Can you imagine the looks on the Republicans’ faces when the U.S. becomes inundated with an influx of climate refugees just after they’ve finally managed to turn away the annoyance of those fleeing from brutal conflict and extreme persecution? In low-lying coastal areas around the world, particularly island nations, people are already being displaced from their homes as a result of rising sea levels.
There is increasing evidence that sustained environmental issues such as drought and exhaustion of natural resources leads to civil unrest and situations of conflict. An excellent example is the increasing academic research focusing the profound effect environmental stresses have had on the economic destabilization in the Syrian region. As it stands, we experience dire inequalities on the global scale, and these will only be exacerbated by climate change and environmental destruction.
The relationship that we have with the planet isn’t a one night stand from Tinder, a casual and subsequently disposable, no-strings-attached encounter; it needs to be one of mutual respect and longevity. Not only for nature, but selfishly for all of us as a collective human entity.
The relationship that we have with the planet isn’t a one night stand from Tinder…it needs to be one of mutual respect and longevity.
Next time you tell dear Mother Nature, “I’m an environmentalist because I wouldn’t want you any hotter than you already are,” make sure you mean it. There is nothing more off-putting than a sleazy line with no sincerity.