Let’s not be coy about this life; all species are selfish. Humans with their apparent self-awareness, and much anecdotal evidence of free will, are arguably more selfish than others.
Like my brother and his obsession with Japanese Whaling, some humans do seem to genuinely care about nature for nature’s sake (i.e. anything that lives and is not human).
But if let’s be frank. These people are clearly insane. If we did genuinely care about nature then Adolf Hitler would be one of the great environmentalists, instigating the first major human cull of the 20th century.
No. It’s us or them. By which I mean it’s us (humans) against nature (things that are not human). And I am quite sure this position should hold up philosophically,at least until someone’s dog is able to articulate the rumour that they do in fact ‘just know’.
War, Hope and Meaning
My friend recently cited the fact that when a country goes to war it’s suicide rate drops. We’ve all heard this before and for the most part dismissed it as being a bit depressing.
But suicide, when not martyrdom, is usually a result of deep depression resulting from a complete loss of both hope and meaning. Remove one of these from the human psyche and the other will be hard to maintain.
I spent most of my teenage years in the late 90s and stood along the Thames when the clock struck midnight on December 1st 1999. I was born into a country and culture who’s existence had not been threatened since the end of the cold war.
By all accounts I should have appreciated such a privilege but in truth I was bitter. 90s children had no great struggle, no great war, and matters of social equality seemed to be bumbling along at an acceptable pace. We had all to fight for but no one to fight against.
Besides hoping that The Matrix was actually real, there was little to hope for. And as for meaning? Well you just had to make your own meaning. Maybe we could find it in religion, sex, drugs, sports, kayaking, video games, TV or pounding techno music.
Luckily in 2001 we were saved from our meaningless malaise by a wealthy Afghan (who recently passed away) and his bumbling American coke-head friend who let us into a very meaningful war on terror.
Note: There is also The War on drugs, War on poverty, War on porn, etc… but the War on Terror has been the most successful ‘War on’ franchise.
A New War
Well since the War on Terror seems to have somewhat lost its phazazz, we’ll probably need a new one soon. So following the popular theme of declaring war on things rather than people – and since we’re all now in agreement that culling badgers is better than culling cows because we neither eat or drink badger produce – I’d like to suggest that we officially declare War on Nature.
Now I’m not saying we all wonder guns blazing into the wilderness; it’s important that we all understand what what a war on nature means. I certainly don’t want to see teenagers wondering into the woods to kick the proverbial out of oak trees.
The war on nature has to be a tactical one. We should respect nature; not as a friend or neighbour, but as a worthy foe. And as Hurricane Sandy has demonstrated, she truly is.
No, we need to be clever if we are going to survive.
Let’s be honest: We have raped, pillaged and enslaved most of nature. In fact we have almost exhausted every possible method of extracting our energy from her. We even selectively breed some of its citizens into submissive furry companions just for our own amusement.
But nature does not want an unsustainable population of human vermin growing exponentially on inside her; that is becoming more and more clear.
So let us be honest as a species. We will do anything to survive, so long as there is a glimmer hope and meaning. Let’s recycle, because we don’t want to run out of stuff. Let’s save the Panda because they look cute and it’d be a hassle for the World Wildlife Fund to change their logo.
Let’s kill what we eat as humanely as possible because unlike nature we have a sense of fairness; we can feel guilt for harming others.
And one day we’ll leave this planet and go pillage another’s ecosystem, all in the name of survival. Only then will we be free from this ancient and bitter war.
A New Hope?
The War on Nature will be the biggest challenge the human race has ever faced. If we are to venture into the 21st century without fighting amongst ourselves, we must acknowledge who the real enemy is. She has always been. She is the destroyer of 97% of species that ever existed.
She is nature.
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