What a weekend…
I would love to say that I’ve been partying and welcoming the spring (although it’s been mighty grey here for the last week) but no, it’s been pretty depressing.
I have an exam on Monday about Global Environmental Problems – my reading package is the 400 page UN report on the State of the Environment. It goes through everything: land, marine, biodiversity, freshwater, atmosphere, urban, disasters for all of the regions in the world. Pretty in depth, and yes, pretty depressing… yet interesting.
Through it all though, I can’t help but think how dumb our civilization has become. I realize that that’s a blatant statement (it’s perhaps the tiredness getting to me;) . The environment didn’t become a topic of concern at the the International policy level until 1972 in Stockholm. By that time, we had already destroyed half the forests (most ecologically complex and self-perpetuating of all ecosystems). And since 1970’s there has been great improvement in some areas (eliminating ozone depleting substances, int’l/regional policy making) but all in all, the facts remain that we’re drastically undercutting ourselves of resources for the future.
The saying couldn’t be truer: “Ignorance is bliss”. Although we are opening up our eyes to it a little more nowadays – thankfully:)
I think I’ll save all of the “quick facts” from these readings for another post (still very interesting) but when you read about things like oil tankers “cleaning” their tanks (i.e. dumping the oil residue) into the ocean and inefficient agricultural irrigation systems in the desert (wasting up to 70% of the water) or that St. Petersburg, Russia didn’t have a wastewater treatment plant till the late 80’s … you kinda go “cuckoo cuckoo, anyone in there???”
Obviously fixing the world’s problems is not so simple – complex system and of course money plays a huge role.
But, when I read all of this it reminds of some giant playground : the big kids bullying and hogging the ball (ahem, most often that’s us in this western world) the poor little ones crying in the corner. And then there’s the teacher looking down at the scene and telling people to “play fair”. There’s a poster that says “Everything I ever needed to know I learned in Kindergarten”. Kind of true in this case. We know deep down what’s right and what’s wrong. We know that we have to work together to fix these problems.
And perhaps, we may just know that our current “bliss” will go away if we keep on being ignorant.
On another note, my choice of “fun” reading didn’t really help… The Handmaid’s Tale by Margaret Atwood. Great book but yeah… talking about the end of society as we know it (in a very screwed up sense) combined with this, perhaps you now get it why this one was a downer… I’ll try to pick it up next post;)