What will become of us – a poem for Earth Day

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I first posted this poem three years ago. Mother Earth had a brief respite under lockdown when the noise of engines fell silent and wild animals walked the streets and it seemed that nature just might have a chance. Now, even more, pollution spews and plastic continues to fill the oceans. The ice caps are melting even more rapidly and ‘freak’ weather events are becoming the norm. Today, Earth Day 2022, my poem resonates even more strongly.

Image credit: Mother Earth by gedomenas

72 thoughts on “What will become of us – a poem for Earth Day

    • Unlike today’s children, I, 54 years old, don’t have to face so many bleak decades of extreme weather and its consequences. I still find hope for humankind, though mostly in environmentally conscious and active young people, especially those approaching or reaching voting age. In contrast, the dinosaur electorate who have been voting into high office consecutive mass-pollution promoting or complicit/complacent governments for decades are gradually dying off thus making way for voters who fully support a healthy Earth thus populace.

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      • Also, there is a potentially serious hazard in theocratically-inclined people getting into high office with their dangerous disregard — and even contempt — for the natural environment. As a disturbing example of such, in the midst of yet another unprecedented Amazonian rainforest wildfire two summers ago, Brazilian president and evangelical Christian Jair Bolsonaro declared that his presidency — and, I presume, all of the formidable environmental damage he inflicts while in power — is “fulfilling a mission from God”.

        Closer to home, many of Canada’s leading conservative politicians, not to mention our previous prime minister (i.e. Stephen Harper, close friend to Postmedia’s then-CEO Paul Godfrey), are/were ideologically aligned with the pro-fossil-fuel mainstream American Evangelical community and Republican Party.

        Generally shared is the belief that to defend the natural environment from the planet’s greatest polluters, notably big fossil fuel, is to go against God’s will and therefore is inherently evil. Some even credit the bone-dry-vegetation areas uncontrollably burning in California each year to some divine wrath upon collective humankind’s ‘sinfulness’.

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        • That’s interesting. I wasn’t aware of the angle involving the suggestion that God is on the side of the polluters, nor that divine wrath had anything to do with the devasting fires in California.

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          • The mainstream news-media doesn’t mention it, as disturbing as the facts are; alternative news-media exposes it. For example, TheTyee.ca exposed the thinly veiled theocrat Stephen Harper and his close friendship with Postmedia’s then-CEO Paul Godfrey.

            It’s like there’s an informal/unspoken agreement between the largest mainstream news-media: ‘Don’t dump on me, and I won’t dump on you.’

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  1. Collectively, human existence is still essentially analogous to a cafeteria lineup consisting of diversely societally represented people, all adamantly arguing over which identifiable person should be at the front and, conversely, at the back of the line. Many of them further fight over to whom amongst them should go the last piece of quality pie and how much they should have to pay for it — all the while the interstellar spaceship on which they’re all permanently confined, owned and operated by (besides the wealthiest passengers) the fossil fuel industry, is on fire and toxifying at locations not normally investigated. As a species, we can be so heavily preoccupied with our own individual little worlds, however overwhelming to us, that we will miss the biggest of crucial pictures.

    Due to the Only If It’s In My Own Back Yard mindset, the prevailing collective attitude, however implicit or subconscious, basically follows: ‘Why should I care — my kids are alright?’ or ‘What is in it for me, the taxpayer, if I support programs for other people’s troubled families?’ While some people will justify it as a normal thus moral human evolutionary function, the self-serving OIIIMOBY can debilitate social progress, even when such progress is so desperately needed (i.e. trying to moderate manmade global warming thus extreme weather events). And it seems this distinct form of societal penny wisdom but pound foolishness is a very unfortunate human characteristic that’s likely with us to stay.

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  2. HI Chris, your poem makes me very sad. I know there are only 20,000 lions left in the wild in Africa. You need at least 50,000 for a species to be viable. That is why Ukutula Conservation Centre exists. They are storing sperm and eggs from lions to ensure the survival of the species. Of course, it is lovely to see them in the larger game parks, but sanctuaries are also necessary as the game parks aren’t big enough to cater for enough of each species. It breaks my heart.

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  3. A poignant poem, Chris. And even more so with your updated note. (Love the tree!)
    The lockdowns showed how quickly we could make positive changes to our world. But that didn’t sit well with capitalists who then hammered on about getting out there and spend, spend, spend, on things no one needs.

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