Since her coming into being some 4.5 billion years ago, Planet Earth, we have been told, has met and overcome tasking challenges, each as devastating as the other. Some result from her own physical make up when she either spews out her molten innards or shudders from the unrelenting pressure of her rigid tectonics. Others result from cataclysmic encounters in her ride through the not-so-empty space, around her solitary sun.
For millions of years she endured the transformation that each challenge brought. Her landmasses moved away along her waters, crunched against each other, sank below or rose from beneath her waters. Her solid ground has seen awesome waves rushing in from the sea, rivers come and go, arid desert replace fertile soil, solid ice flows scraping down her mountains to the sea and her rocks worn down by the winds.
Through each of these testing moments, Planet Earth has sustained and nurtured that most fragile existence that came from her very air and soil: Life!
It is a living, breathing creation forever locked in the recurring transitory passage from existence to oblivion and though easily snuffed by any of the little or major upheavals Planet Earth has faced, has found in itself, the formidable ability to adapt and survive, and by virtue of successful evolution, to proliferate.
And yet today, this Life that has endured through millions of years may be at an unprecedented crisis. Having borne uncounted species all clustered together and competing for space, food, and security, Life allowed one species to rise above every other to exert the right of domination and access to her bounties.
Today, this new powerful species has spread to every corner of Planet Earth, and doing so, has, perhaps inadvertently, disturbed the self – regulating density pressures of species’ co-habitation.
The flow of rivers has been modified with structures erected to water new and increasingly large cultivations, provide the necessary energy to feed homes and industries or facilitate transportation.
The very bowels of the earth are gouged and scraped to release minerals and fossil fuel to feed industries and combined to meet the needs of material comforts.
Often driven by an unquenchable cupidity, this species has turned the very lungs of the planet into grazing and cultivation, chewing up the trees into paper, burning them in household cooking stoves, when they are not turned into furniture or consumed in industries’ furnaces and all singly or combined, enhancing the girth and lining of individual and corporate purses.
The guarded secrets of the natural occurring forces of magnetism, electricity and their frequencies were penetrated to offer limitless pathways of discovery and innovation towards eliminating the constraints of distances between isolated groups, facilitating exchanges and more and more engineered to directly lead to what is perceived as improving the immediate quality and comfort of living.
All these were perhaps inevitable in the normal scheme of things which demand that each species take from his environment the substance to ensure his existence and survival. However, the modern-day character of human life and activity has now been shown to be a direct cause of what may very well be an unprecedented challenge to Planet Earth’s capacity to sustain the life she brought forth. Mankind’s households, industries and factories are spewing forth wastes that the soil and atmosphere may no longer be able to sustain.
The accumulation of noxious gases in the atmosphere is apparently directly contributing to amplify the domino ‘green house’ effect. The global modifications in temperature lead to disruptions in air mass circulation and air systems’ regulatory storm cycles, meltdown of polar ice caps, rise in sea-levels, change in climate zones, disruption of rain patterns, spread of desert, etc.
Urbanisation and industrial production are placing considerable pressure on waters and soil.
Their combined pollution is causing irreversible breaks in the eco-system.Fauna and flora succumb to the unrelenting pressure and are condemned to the now increasing list of extinct species when they are not individually propelled along the peculiar path of evolution and adaptation to disrupt the eco-system, like the spider crabs from the artic, the giant jellyfish of the yellow sea or the taxifolia in the Mediterranean are doing.
Disruptions in climate change disturb weather patterns. Habitats are destroyed from wild fires, inundation of fertile zones or desertification, forcing people no longer able to grow their own food into suburban ghettos in droves.
Safe areas, arable land, water supply are now scarce assets and are covetously guarded. They become prime sources for potential intra-national and international strife and conflict.
Global communications reduce and remove boundaries between peoples. They set and spread the standards for material comforts and excite the innate human drive for immediate needs’ satisfaction. Folks driven from a culture of subsistence are more and more squeezed into suburban ghettos where they are conditioned to aspire to the level of material comforts, often unreachable by normal and socially acceptable living norms. The way out is more often the sad and heavy tribute paid in terms of social and personal tragedies from spiralling crime and violence. They often go hungry while watching people eat from the TV set. Sometimes, the land from which they eked their subsistence are taken up by cash and profit oriented multinationals that produce both the TV and the food featured..
Modern life by Mankind is a complex interplay of forces that go far beyond his perception, understanding and control. The need to control his physical environment and the intricate play of morals that drive and motivate his choices, have often seen his best interest, long term sustainable development, as an integral and inseparable part of the symbiotic eco-system, sacrificed on the altar of short-term goal satisfaction translated into personal cupidity and comfort.
It takes little, well-intended, imagination to recognise the significant part of this cumulated sacrifice in the equation of both global socio-economic developments and the hunger riots now taking place in several countries. We are being made to be the involuntary witness of the destruction of the very fabric of the society modern man has woven, notwithstanding that, with regards to both development or under-development or hunger riots, some individuals or groups may be blowing on the flames of discontent or opportunities for their own short-term political or economic and when taken separately, conflicting agendas. Indeed, the rationale to divert cultivation of food crops to meet the more lucrative needs of industry- these, a by product of the escalating fossil fuel costs (most likely engineered by market speculators), seems to pit the politician against the entrepreneur with the starving populace caught in the middle..
The message seems to be clear. Our life styles have exacted a heavy toll on the fine balance of Planet Earth’s natural forces. The imbalance is probably irreversible in our lifetime and will most likely result, we are told, in a chaotic chain reaction of ever-increasing impact to destroy our very life, before equilibrium is re-asserted, as it surely must have, time and again over millions of years.
When this will happen, maybe Life and Planet Earth will have another chance, perhaps a different choice. One where each species takes from nature only what is required to sustain personal integrity and gives not back more than nature requires. A choice where species will cohabitate without seeking to dominate each other or having to compete for resources. One where each species correctly identifies itself as part of the whole in the complex web of life and recognises that each self-serving disruption in the natural scheme of things will bring along a high cost to pay by future generations.
However remote these concerns may appear when viewed from the limits of our individual and personal everyday horizons, we cannot continue to ignore them.
In a recent moment of strife and conflict, there used to be a rallying call to "Give Peace a Chance"! Are we up to giving Planet Earth a chance ?