It feels like we’re at Journey’s End. The place where all things go to die (or are killed).
And we’re asleep. Fast asleep.
If it were otherwise, and of course I may have this very wrong — but I don’t think so — we’d: a) be shouting from the rooftops; b) be beating down the door of every politician to sort of out our Anthropocentric mess; c) be protesting on the street and in every boardroom up and down the land; and d) be saying prayers, deep mournful prayers, morning, noon and night.
Yes, I’m back again on my 6th mass extinction soapbox. You know, the one that’s bearing witness to a heating planet, loss of life of every hue, an inept political class, insatiable and wanton greed and an inability to grasp the enormity of our collapsing world.
It’s so depressing, right?
It doesn’t (that’s not a typo) seem that way. If anything, we’re still under the spell of our anthropocentric ways and whilst Covid-19 is still ripping its way through the population, that doesn’t even come close to the portent and reality of what’s up ahead.
Let’s cut to the chase.
Here we are sat astride a burning planet and we’re incapable of or unable to accept that we’re the authors of our own misfortune. In short, the move to an agrarian lifestyle, the industrial revolution, the burgeoning population and our focus on a mechanised world and must-havery, has left us with very few options to save our species. In fact, I’m of the view that it’s already too late. And trust me, I don’t need a bushel of peer-reviewed papers and to quote a fistful of books to know what I feel and see with my own eyes.
Where does that leave me?
If I’m honest, not in a great place. The best I can say, and here I quote from the late Samuel Beckett and his book, The Unnamable: “You must go on. I can’t go on. I’ll go on.” With three children to look after — 17, 22 and 24 — and still with a desire to do something with my life, I feel I’ve got no choice. On the other hand, and please don’t think this too extreme, I’ve paid quite a bit of attention to the suicide of David Buckel. You may remember that he was the lawyer who self-immolated who in his suicide note said this:
“My early death by fossil fuel reflects what we are doing to ourselves. A lifetime of service may best be preserved by giving a life … Honorable purpose in life invites honorable purchase in death.
“I hope it is an honorable death that might serve others.”
Does that mean I’ve contemplated something similar? No. But I’d by lying if I didn’t admit to feeling a similar sense of hopelessness and even allowing for my (at times) strong desire to be part of something that might bring about change, I’m also of the view that whilst humans remain on this planet, it and everything else will suffer.
To be honest, at times I find the whole sorry mess so difficult to hold. I lose myself too easily in nature because it’s safe — at least for now — and I don’t have to think. It’s when I step back into the real world that everything changes.
And then I feel I can’t go on and yet I do.
And writing and speaking out is probably all that’s keeping me in the game. If I didn’t have that then I’m not sure what I’d do.
Does that make sense? I hope so because I realise that I’m as much a part of the problem as everyone else. And I take no comfort in that. That doesn’t mean I can’t make further changes in my life but I know it won’t make a happeth of difference when the numbers are so vast and out of control.
But, hey, it’s Friday. And I’m ready for a couple of days away from the work emails.