It is a curious situation that the sea, from which life first arose should now be threatened by the activities of one form of that life. But the sea, though changed in a sinister way, will continue to exist; the threat is rather to life itself. – Rachel Carson
Humanity stands at a crossroad. Responsibility for the Earth’s sixth great mass extinction event lies at the feet of modern civilization. But so many governments and global corporations turn away from accepting the obligation for dealing with this cataclysm. Climate change, habitat destruction, water/air/earth – pollution, warming oceans,… The issues stack up like a dark haunted mountain of nightmares.
Oil comes from sedimentary deposits of ancient shallow seas. Daily, a mini-ocean of this fossil fuel is slurped from the ground, blended and woven into polymeric materials for our species’ base luxury of convenience. Disposable products litter the glorious oceans and are incorporated into the living cell structures of the foundation of the global food chain. From the deepest ocean trenches to the highest remote peaks, plastic defiles our earthly paradise. Meanwhile 150-200 species of plants, insects, birds and mammals become extinct each day.
Out there in the deep, vast swaths are over-fished as colossal gyres coalesce around humanity’s cast-off wastes. But there is hope. There is still a chance for life to put the breaks on the Anthropocene Extinction. This weekend I was walking on the beach and saw two young people collecting trash as they strolled towards me. With a broad smile I walked over to them and thanked them. This sweet Millennial couple returned my smile and offered to take the trash I had collected. As I handed them the bag, my heart swelled with joy. I thanked them again and watched as they walk along picking up after the more irresponsible members of our form of life.
I have great faith in the younger generations. They are not as greedy as previous generations. Their world is more caring and kind. Our planet is not doomed. The oceans will continue to exist for hundreds of millions of years to come. Our way of life must change however if we are to continue as a species. We cannot continue the merciless actions of the past. Protecting nature must become the obligation of all humanity. There is time. Time for all of us, here in this beautiful wonderland we share.