Saving the children
Recently deceased spoken word artist Gil Scott Heron sang: ``We’ve got to do something to save the children/Soon it will be their turn to try and save the world.” I don’t think anyone can argue with such logic.
Yet there remains a huge gap between our thoughts and our actions.
The other day I came across a car that was empty, the engine running. The owner, an employee of Donghae municipal government, was out examining a plot of riverside land, slated for development. I tried to explain to him in the best Korean possible that it’s socially irresponsible to leave the car engine running. ``Do you have children?” I asked him.
``Yes,” he answered.
``Do you want them to have a cooler world?” I asked him. ``Or do you want them to fry in unimaginable heat because their ancestors couldn’t connect the dots?” He looked at me as if he didn’t understand a word of what I was saying.
Sure, turning off your car engine isn’t going to save the world. But at any one moment in South Korea there are probably millions of people sitting in their cars, and a lot of those cars are idling unnecessarily. Why not turn off the engine and make the world a slightly cooler place for the next generation?
I’m not sure people can connect the dots. I’m not sure people really understand the seriousness of the current situation we are in. And I’m sure a lot of people _ such as millions of Americans ― are in denial, or waiting for God to come to the rescue. And I think some people are simply too lazy, or couldn’t care less. Well, this is what I have to say to all of those people: It is your children, and your children’s children, who will suffer because of your intransigence, ignorance and laziness.
The Apocalypse will happen. It is not a question of if, but when. And it’s going to happen because we, Homo Sapiens, have known about the threat posed to us by our relentless destruction of the ecosystem for more than 30 years, and have so far done absolutely nothing to correct it.
One person who thinks we are beyond the point of no return is James Lovelock, a British independent scientist who has conducted research at Yale, Baylor School of Medicine, and Harvard, among other places. He predicts a massive dying off of human beings until the worldwide population is down to about one billion, a seventh of what it currently is. Continental Europe will ``become a desert,” due to global warming, and almost ``no crops will be grown there,” says Lovelock, who predicts a total ecological collapse within the next 50 or so years.
Another person who predicts an apocalypse is award winning scientist Erik Pianka. The University Texas at Austin biologist thinks that a super virulent form of E-Boli will take advantage of our current numbers and current mobility to stage a worldwide epidemic that will ravage mankind, leaving fewer than a billion people on the face of the earth when all is said and done.
James Lovelock and Erik Pianka are not mere anomalies. They are backed up by a huge list of prominent human beings, who are all predicting ecological collapse if we do not immediately change our ways. But Lovelock is unique in that he says ``collapse is imminent,” and that all we can do now is to best prepare for it.
The other thing unique about Lovelock is that he admits that renewable energy is a farce. ``It will never provide our current energy needs,” he says. The only way to keep on consuming the way we are, without avoiding ecological collapse, is by cutting our numbers to about one billion, says the author of ``The Vanishing Face of Gaia: A Final Warning: Enjoy It While You Can.”
It appears there is nothing that we can do to save the children, so maybe we should just go ahead and idle all those car engines after all.
The writer lives in Donghae, Gangwon Province. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.