World Earthlings

On this week of World Earth Day, I don’t want to tell anyone off for not looking after the planet. I think we all love the planet. Ok, those coal-fired power stations in Eastern Europe are a bit suspect. Still, I suspect the people who live, work and own these fossil-fuel burning hell holes – well, I think they love the planet too. They just might love the planet more for what the planet can do for them.

We all love the soil for the gifts it gives us. The creatures which emerge from the oceans. The sky for the wind and rain. We’re all nature takers essentially.

A year or so ago, looking back at my own family history, I saw a link to the overuse of Earth’s resources and well, our collective past. I might have been drinking the funny water or had one too many walks to the Bog Walk with our Finster. It hit me then.

This was my thinking – sorry btw if it’s dodgy. Sometimes happens. I realised most families were affected by last century’s two world wars. Oof. Not surprising. Mine was. Both sides – my grandparents in the Second World War, and beyond in the First World War.

My own grandfathers never spoke much about what they had endured as young men. No doubt they were both affected. How do I know? Two ways. Firstly, I remember them as quietly reflective men. Secondly, their experiences impacted on their family, their children and then on my family. A historical toll so to speak. I don’t think we were unique in this either.

To understand it better, look at the flip side. The euphoria of having survived two world wars in a single century. If humanity could survive the almost destruction of our entire world, why not take control of the land? Reap the seas? Billow particulates and fuel into the air? We’d survived for goodness sake. And we had technology now.

I’m not saying that my grandfathers were involved in the great Earth take on a large-scale or on a personal level. They weren’t, One became a policeman, rising to Superintendent of the UK’s Sussex Police Force. The other resumed his life as pilot and aeronautical engineer. Not exactly despotic – just survivors.

The point I’m trying to make is the planet was for the taking because we had survived it. All of them. All of us.

And environmental degradation came hand-in-hand with the good stuff too. Modern medicine, the significant decrease in mortality rates and the accompanying global increase in living standard. It would.

Where does this go now? Focus to try to save this planet from irreversible change. If it’s not too late already. Of course, humanity doesn’t want to end up stuck in a hot sauce taco. The past can pass as noise. Eyes on the prize. Still, I like the history. It completes our present – and without the blame, thank you. Could have been a lot worse. Even at this point.

Happy Earth Day, fellow Earthlings.

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