International Writers Magazine:Environment
of Destruction, my friend
Man is the only animal that trips over the same stone twice,
or a dozen times!
a while since Ive written something philosophical. I used
to be a practical person that looked towards logical, historical
or technical explanations to issues that could challenge the problems
of the world before I put pen to paper. Most of my essays have tried
to incorporate research and findings relying on fact with the odd
fictional or comical overtone to spice the content.
The older one gets the wiser one becomes is an old and worn
out 33"record that no longer applies. My experience has been passed
over by the speed of todays changes. The Indian fathers of the
Far West could pass on their wisdom to their offspring based on their
own fathers advice. Once again I say, not anymore.
The 7th cavalry took care of that. They killed them off or put them
in reservations and replaced them with the modern age of
industrialisation. Automation took over that sent a great message to
the world: Goodbye nature, cement is here to stay!
During my usual session of zapping through the vast array
of television channels that now bombard my screen I happened to come
upon one on the National Geographic channel that was, as usual harping
on about the destruction of the planet. Nothing new, as most of the
journalists that are out and about roaming through hundreds of forgotten
or unknown zones of the world looking for samples of human destruction
are constantly reminding us of this scary issue.
But then one scene in particular struck a cord. The commentator was
trekking through one of the wonderful Redwood forests in the State Parks
of California and was pointing out one particular sample that was not
only 10 feet in diameter and 100 feet tall, but was meant to be over
2000 years old! Even Jesus Christ hadnt been born!
But what was frightening was the aftermath of his description which
and over 95% of the redwood trees in the world
have been destroyed! The rest of the program was on about the
disappearance of other species of flora and fauna.
The message I got from this program went beyond the known fact that
we are screwing up the planet. I thought once again about the wisdom
of the elder Indian that was picked up by the younger one and how this
particular transmission of experience that died 150 years ago is now
the key to Mother Nature saying finally, Ive had enough!
You know the saying, man is the only animal that trips over the
same stone twice, or a dozen times!, but how did this phrase come
about? What coined it? It certainly didnt apply to the Sioux,
or the Cherokees! They looked after the very land that fed them. That
is, until the white man turned up!
Where is this philosophical trend taking me? Lets see; how about
reverting to mans life span?
Ive been on about this before. Based on todays statistics
we live for about eighty years, barring the odd sudden death due to
accident or illness. Yet our contribution to society as well as the
planet is only around 50% of our lifespan. The first twenty are spent
learning and the last twenty hibernating somewhere reaping the fruits
of our so called saved earnings. Tragedy is that those first
twenty are virtually useless as society doesnt give a fig whilst
one is in the learning mode. Come retirement stage, and although one
is much older than a Sioux Chief in earlier history, the reverse has
taken place and once again no one gives a damn despite the knowledge
and experience gained over the last forty years.
Whats this got to do with our planet? Everything! Our short stay
on earth is the very cause of our continuing destruction of the natural
habitat in which we live. Although society could foresee the future
it was reluctant to enforce real long term change. In other words, we
live for our immediate gains and comfort and continue to develop more
means to better our standard of living; that is, whilst were still
alive! Again I say, not anymore!
Going back to the Industrial Revolution of the mid XIX century, man
discovered a new source of energy that was to transform humanity. Coal!
The beginning of the Coal Age opened a new world of transport
that was mechanical and no longer powered by nature. The steam engine
was invented and with it the railway and steam propelled ships. Up until
then, humans had used fauna such as horses, camels or ostriches and
wood retrieved from flora to build boats, chariots or carriages to move
around the planet. Although they used their superior intelligence to
build cities and civilizations travel limitations ensured that Mother
Nature was not upset. Both fauna and flora were replaceable; coal
So began the long road to destruction that we are now faced with. Coal
was not only used to fuel transport. The energetic power derived from
this basic source was the platform that allowed man to leap to even
greater advances of civilisation and modernisation.
Hey James, youve forgotten about natural gas!
True; the Greeks and the Persians had discovered natural gas centuries
ago and used it to illuminate their homes. Without going into the background
of this energy source, suffice to say that as a parallel to the advances
in mechanical transport technology, natural gas took over from candles
and the like for illumination. Networks were built to light up the cities
in Europe and America, although they were eventually substituted by
a new form of energy called electricity. But here comes the crunch!
Railways and ships needed coal. Electricity generators also needed coal.
Scientists and engineers around the world found trillions of tons of
this precious fossil rock with deposits in practically every corner
of the planet. Huge pockets of natural gas were also discovered. Both
source and user came together and whilst the former grew and grew, the
latter diminished and diminished; very slowly, but still diminished.
One hundred and fifty years ago the gap between what man
had available as a source of energy versus what he needed emerged and
began to grow!
The best, however is yet to come! Oil!
Despite the knowledge of the powers of petroleum that could be used
to produce kerosene since the mid eighteen hundreds and several attempts
were made to develop a method of transport using this powerful liquid
as fuel, the successful development of the internal combustion engine
became of age at around the turn of the century. The automobile or horseless
carriage was finally invented. When Henry Ford established a factory
to mass produce the monster, the gas guzzling age began and the world
has never looked back.
Although the Wright brothers kicked off the era of flying using kerosene
fuelled engines, the naval industry continued to build coal fired ships.
The Titanic that sank in 1912 was one of them. However, as time went
by, better refined fuel turned the corner and soon the planet became
infested with ships that no longer had an SS (steam ship) before their
names but an MV (motor vessel). Similarly as countries became more industrialised,
cities grew, factories increased, infrastructure expanded, housing modernised
and the whole of the XX century civilisation looked up to the mighty
God called Oil for its energy source. Although hydroelectric
plants, nuclear power and alternatives were developed, oil continued
to dominate the world. Ah! But there is a catch.
Meanwhile, back at the ranch the suppliers of the worlds oil were
not in the rich developing countries. It so happens that the Almighty
played a dirty trick and placed the oil fields in what have come to
be todays international trouble spots. America and Europe were
until now the main consumers whilst the Middle East was and still is
the main supplier. China and India are rapidly following suit to outpace
the present first come, first served clients. But they too
are not rich in underground petroleum fields.
Back to philosophy and introduction of climate change!
It is now finally recognised that mankind, because of all the burning
off of oil has been pumping crap into the atmosphere for
years and caused havoc with the worlds climate. In the meantime,
the suppliers have turned into greedy bankers and what is worse some
of them have an inbuilt army of terrorists hostile to the major users
that are hell bent in blowing the world to smithereens. There is no
doubt that this entire unstable scenario is affecting and will affect
the economics of the world. The future is incredibly uncertain and although
there are many venues open to seek a resolution I go back to mans
lifespan. If we wish to revert to a level of stability reducing oil
consumption and hence energy it will take decades if not centuries.
How can the world backtrack without sacrificing two or three generations?
Has Mother Nature played a dirty trick on all of us for screwing up
© James G. Skinner. May 2008.
all rights reserved - all comments are the writers' own responsibility
- no liability accepted by hackwriters.com or affiliates.