People have been playing the “environment” harp for many decades.
They have been calling out for the world’s inhabitants to save our resources because it is the only way to save ourselves, they have been predicting that this world will run out of said resources, they have told us that the earth will be submerged in water, that we will have no rain, that our oil reserves are finished, that worldwide crops will fail to drought and heat.
Those who carry this message seek to conveniently patch surface issues instead of addressing root causes (eg: they would rather have us drive a Prius to do our food shopping at Whole Foods, than create a system where we can walk to get our food from local farmers.) Neither of these scenarios is perfect, but the first one completely ignores the actual problem.
Global warming is not the problem, or the answer, it’s not the thing we need to fix, nor is it the way to go about living, in fear that we must bandage a cut in order to survive ‘for the time being.’
Both the problem and the answer are deeper, yet ironically far more simple than any of this would suggest. How so?
To Be Human
Let’s start here: you and I are humans. This is our common ground, and one thing that most of us won’t argue with, hopefully.
As humans, many of us loose sight of the fact that we are born to the world as a part of nature — well, except for test tube babies — and will also leave the world as a part of nature — okay, plus maybe some formaldehyde, antibiotics and whatnot — making us more or less, just another natural cog in this ecosystem. If that’s all fine and understood, then it’s this whole middle part between being born and death, the ‘living’ part, where we seem to have things a little screwed up.
Most anyone, whether scientist or philosopher, will attest to this idea that humans are not above nature, nor are they below it or somehow exempt from it, they are an integral part of it. As much as we try to fight this idea, we cannot escape it or its implications.
Nature is a beautifully crafted system, and as a part of this system, we humans have a responsibility to understand and operate ourselves in a manner which ensures its continued success.
So then, along with this whole being ‘human’ thing, we have another deeper responsibility which is not always apparent to us while living — asphalt below, concrete beside, airliners above — in the built urban zone or suburban housing tract.
How do we make this responsibility more apparent?
Much can be said for a life which has to do with existing simply, yet in our world, simplicity is often seen as a strictly non-technological matter. It shouldn’t be so.
We should not seek to rule out technology, yet at the same time, we have an intensely important need to simultaneously cultivate an appreciation of the most basic elements and sensations in life, just as we do the artificial ones.
Doing this much ensures that we at least understand the difference between the two, and knowing that difference in our truly, uniquely, human way, helps us to appreciate, yet not rely on the crutch of modern convenience.
The Illusions of Control and Ownership
But a bitter comedy it is for us to believe that we are in the least bit in control of nature; we can see each and every day this is not true, yet most of us continue to live as if it were.
Nature gives us a bounty of food, drink, and beauty, that we might thankfully partake in it. But look to the history of our people, and we also see that Nature cares nothing about our human inventions, our awards, our accolades, our street credit, fancy belongings, money, stocks, bonds, loafers or high heels; Nature tosses us and all of our belongings to and fro at a whim, it lifts us up and throws us back down without effort, it destroys our greatest accomplishments on a whim, crumbling inventor and invention, investor and investment, all of this becomes insignificant little particles, eventually returned back to some other element of Nature.
However we fight with our lifestyles against it, Nature, is clearly in control of us, and we might do well to listen to what it has to say.
The dichotomy we have always been presented with is that a true life is so simple, we will never understand it by attempting to understand it, and so we frustratingly spend our life attempting to understanding it anyway, all the while synchronously laying to waste any chance of thoroughly enjoying life. What then, is the point?
Instead of constantly attempting to justify, explain, control, or own, perhaps it’s best to begin our pursuits first by just, simply, living.