A continent just below the equator presently burns, and its massive bush fires have already claimed an estimated 480 million animal lives, including 8,000 of its already-endangered Koala population. Yet for some, the news of this unfolding environmental tragedy remains as insignificant as ordinary figures appearing on paper, despite the staggering statistics. Not much fuss, after all, these are just animals, period. Issues closer to the human condition, such as our day-to-day grind, local politics, or even human rights are more important.
Arguably that may be so, but in spite of the many Gretas of the world nowadays, it seems that environmental concerns only become important, when viewed from our own perspective of how they will directly threaten our existence as a race. Then perhaps, this is only as far as our sensitivities as humans can pathetically venture to go. Only us matters in the end, and all else is doomed to circumstance.
The late George Carlin may have been right when he said we are an arrogant species. All talk of concern for the world around us is merely that, all talk. Who cares for the razing of the Amazon, as long as we can build more industries to further our wealth. Sure, kill the whales and siphon off the oceans in the name of research and food security. Undoubtedly, we have justifiable excuses for everything, because everything, even the universe, revolves around us. In the end, who will be left to care?
The Chicago poem tells it all.
“When all the laughter dies in sorrow, and the tears have risen to a flood,
When all the wars have found a cause, in human wisdom and in blood,
Do you think they’ll cry in sadness?
Do you think the eye will blink?
Do you think they’ll curse the madness?
Do you even think they’ll think?
When all the great galactic systems sigh to a frozen halt in space,
Do you think there’ll be a remnant of beauty of the human race?
Do you think there will be a vestige, a sniffle, or a cosmic tear?
Do you think a greater thinking thing will give a damn, that man was here?”