We are sleepwalking into a deadly future where millions of people will die and millions more suffer terribly, and we are being led by politicians who neither understand nor care about this.
Leaders are supposed to know where they are taking their populations, but they are far too focused on near term trivia to grasp the overall picture, like lizards fighting for supremacy of a slab of rock unaware that the rock is sliding over a precipice.
What is the purpose of life? To connect. Life cannot exist alone, whether it is a plant, an ant, an antelope, or a human being. We must connect, not only to other people but to nature – because we are nature.
We are part of nature, but we have forgotten this, a fatal mistake that is becoming our undoing, and not just ours but the entire planet’s.
The chair of the world’s secretariat of the Convention on Biological Diversity Cristiana Pasca Palmer – who is, if you like, the closest we’ve got to a custodian of nature – said towards the end of last year that the world has two years to secure a deal to halt a “silent killer” as dangerous as climate change.
This silent killer is species loss. We are killing nature. Half of all animals have been lost in the last 40 years. We are murderers.
All development – where we replace natural ecosystems with concrete and steel and Tarmac and glass – is an attack on nature. It is not progress. It is the reverse of progress. It is madness, suicide.
Palmer said that by 2020 Governments must make ambitious global targets to “protect the insects, birds, plants and mammals that are vital not just for their own sake but for food production, clean water and carbon sequestration for our sake too”.
Humans are flocking to cities at the same time as we are experiencing a massive epidemic of mental illness. We have forgotten that we need to be connected to the nature. We are part of an ecosystem. It supports us physically and psychologically.
If humans ever travel off planet towards the stars it can only be in the midst of an entire ecosystem of other species carried on their spaceship or they would die of loneliness in interstellar space.
I firmly believe this as much as I believe in gravity.
The problem is not just climate change or the amount of plastic in the ocean, even though god knows these are serious enough. The problem is that we do not understand our place.
Our place in the great scheme of things. There are too many of us consuming too much stuff at the expense of nature.
This is the meaning of our ecological footprint being too large for our own good.
What can we do? Shrink it. How do we shrink it? Consume less (= maybe work less?).
How do we maintain a good standard of living at the same time? Replenish nature, fix the mess we’ve made, be careful how we make and reuse stuff. Develop, yes, but with, not against nature.
We have only one planet. Look after the planet and we look after ourselves. Love nature and we love ourselves. Love ourselves and our mental health improves.
Love nature and other species will start to multiply again and we will be able to feed ourselves and the planet will cool.
This is the meaning of one planet living – one planet loving. Start at home. Start in your community. Start in your city. Love it.
Make this what you do in 2019. Make this your resolution from now on.
What am I going to do? Here’s my list:
- Persuade Swansea to become Wales’ first ‘one planet’ city.
- Start running a postgraduate certificate course in ‘one planet’ governance at the University of Wales Trinity St David’s business studies department to train the next generation of civic leaders and politicians in how to lead properly.
- Campaign on the back of my new book, to be published in May: One Planet Cities: sustaining humanity within planetary limits.
Join me and become a ‘one planeteer’.
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