Saturday, April 26, 2014

It's up to us . . .

Did you know that it was Earth Day last week?  No, nor did I, not until some kind friends let me know . . . which made me sad.
Surely this is an occasion that we all should celebrate?

In fact, it made me conscious of a strange illusion we're suffering from at the moment . . .  the illusion that our planet is shrinking.
Or, to be more precise, the illusion that the space occupied by humans is becoming an increasingly tight fit.

As an example, you may have read of the dispute at Easter when an enthusiastic band of two thousand cyclists, 'The Wiggle New Forest Spring Sportive', took to the winding Hampshire roads.

Opinions as to the rights and wrongs of the Sportive were strongly expressed . . .  there were those who claimed their right to cycle where they chose, those who feared for the safety of the ponies and wildlife, those who wanted a quiet weekend, and those who argued that the cyclists would deter the tourists.  Every supporter of every view competing with each other for space and attention.

Space . . . it's all a question of space, and our right, as we see it, to lay claim to any space available for whatever cause we happen to support.

But what if the space in question is not in short supply, but, instead,  is being hoarded away and kept out of use?

No.1 Knightsbridge is surely the most publicised block of luxury flats in London.  But at night it's dark.  The uncurtained rooms lie empty.  It's not that the lavish apartments lack owners, the majority have been sold.  But, in an overcrowded city where many are homeless, these flats have been sold as investments, not as homes.

The owners aren't standing at their windows, gazing with gratitude at their spacious view of Hyde Park.  Instead, they are far away,  doubtless gazing with satisfaction at the growing value of their property investment . . . their piece of London space.

What's the answer?
Have we the right to appropriate what we want . . .  mistaking universal space for our personal playground, or a slice of personal profit?

We seem to have forgotten that we're an integral part of a living planet, we don't own it.

Perhaps we should also remember that, as a species, we're newcomers.  Compared to the venerable age of the Earth, homo sapiens is an infant . . . a  precocious toddler who snatches at its toys and lays claim to all around it.
Isn't that a little foolish?

What's more, in this game of evolution it's Mother Earth who holds the trump card . . . she doesn't need us, we couldn't exist without her.
Along with the dinosaur and the dodo, the human species is dispensable . . . and disposable.

No, it's not a question of space . . . it's about revering this incredible Earth.  It's also about recognising our part in the web of life, and lovingly collaborating with the planet's intricate system for growth and survival.

Just look around . . . isn't it beautiful . . . isn't it extraordinary?
As for our future here . . . ?   That's up to us . . .