Friday, December 1, 2017

Going . . . going . . . gone . . . ?

Tell me, what decorations do you plan to put up at Christmas?
Will they include holly and mistletoe?

If the answer to that question is 'yes', might I suggest you make the most of them . . . it's possible they won't be here for much longer.

There is one vital necessity for the production of holly berries and mistletoe . . . that's right, it's insects.
Insects pollinate our gardens, fields and orchards.  Without them there would be no flowers, no berries . . . without them we would have no food.  And insects are critically endangered.

A disturbing report published recently states that flying insects worldwide, including honey-bees and butterflies, have seen a seventy-five per cent decline in the past twenty-five years.

The study's co-author, Prof. Dave Goulson of the University of Sussex, didn't pull his punches, "we appear," he wrote,  "to be on course for an ecological Armageddon."

Wouldn't you agree that, although the human race may be at the peak of the natural pyramid, this position brings with it a responsibility that we haven't fully absorbed?

Those at the peak, if they're to remain safe and secure, are totally dependent on the  strength and support of those at the bottom.  We act as though we don't need that supportive base.
Even worse, we seem to have decided that we can dispense with it.
This fact was endorsed by another disturbing report earlier in the year, it was published by the UN who revealed stark news about our behaviour.
"Pesticides," it stated, "which are aggressively promoted by chemical industries, have catastrophic impacts on the environment, human health and society as a whole."

Has no-one told the investors in those chemical industries that, when the soil is finally sterile, no nourishment will be found in their share certificates?

The recent television series, 'Blue Planet II', has been spell-binding . . . click here to see what I mean.
More than anything, it's brought home to us the intelligence in our oceans.

A small fish drags a coconut shell across the sea-bed to provide its mate with a suitable place to lay her eggs.  Dolphins delight in the joy of play.  The ingenuity of a female octopus enables her to outwit the plans of a predatory shark.
The series shows, in all its complexity and beauty, the highly intelligent, perfectly balanced world of the ocean.  This same intelligence and balance was once demonstrated on dry land . . . no longer.

Just think about it for a moment . . . when did you last see a fly in your home?  Yet it wasn't so long ago that fly covers were an essential component of every kitchen.

What's more, in bringing about the near-extinction of flies we've also unthinkingly brought about the near-extinction of the Flycatcher.   Along with many other fast-vanishing, insect-eating birds, it has done nothing to deserve the cavalier removal of its daily diet.

It seems incredible that our species, who can fly to the moon and create artificial intelligence, lacks the wisdom to recognise its total inter-dependence with the natural world.

To hold the view that we can pick and choose what we'd like to exterminate, and that we've the right to do so, is both arrogant and ignorant.

It could even involve us in the same mass extinction . . . something that we alone would deserve.

So, appreciate the holly berries, kiss beneath the mistletoe and enjoy all that Christmas has to offer .

But, if you happen to see a house-fly, and I haven't seen one for quite a while, don't swat it . . . just recognise that we're in this together, and wish it a happy and healthy New Year.

As for a New Year resolution, what about vowing to reject all pesticides?

And if we need to be reminded of what we're in danger of losing, . . . quite apart from our daily bread . . .  then let's watch this ....

Thursday, November 16, 2017

A Like/Dislike World?

The Referendum to leave Europe was memorable for many reasons. One of which was our realisation of the simplicity of voting either 'In' or 'Out', 'Yes' or 'No'.
So simple, so decisive . . . so irreversible.

And have you noticed that this same simplicity of action features ever more frequently in our daily lives.

As an example, look at social media . . . each time we go online we are invited to register either 'Like' or 'Dislike'.

But let's give this a little thought.
Is life really like that . . . and should it be like that?

I can't help wondering whether, in an effort to simplify, we have unwittingly helped to create a divided, polarised world.

After all,  what if the thing we claim to like today is the very same thing we claimed to dislike yesterday?  People can change their minds.

Life is complex, we are complex.  Likes and dislikes are  based on impulse, often irrational and rarely the outcome of careful consideration.  What we like for breakfast we are unlikely to like for lunch.

More than that, we don't necessarily 'dislike' those things we say we don't like . . we can be ambivalent on the issue, open to discussion.  Yet, by being pushed into a 'like/dislike' situation, we are depriving ourselves of the possibility of thoughtful consideration.

In addition, we are relegating all those things we 'don't like' to a different strata . . .  creating a 'them and us' situation, one which is often painful and hard to understand.

Just look at the cacophony in the world today.  Wouldn't you agree that our 'like/dislike', 'for/against' culture has greatly added to the tendency to be judgemental, and is compounding the many divisions in society?  Mightn't it be wiser to be a willing part of the flow of life itself rather than constantly critical of the process?

Let's pause for a moment and look at these skilled surfers.
If a surfer passed judgement on each wave, he'd be making life difficult not only for himself, but also for those surfing with him.
But see what happens when a group of them just go with the flow.

To be a part of the flow involves trust, a trust in life to bring what is needed.
What's more, being in the flow is effortless . . . taking a stand, as we know to our cost, consumes a great deal of effort and energy!

So, if we can lay aside the constant need to judge, and replace it with a more flowing, holistic view of life, wouldn't everyone benefit?

You think that sounds a good idea?  Then you know what to do.
Ponder on it, mull it over . . . but don't be tempted to click on 'Like'!