There is something off about this sentence, isn’t there? Somehow, it doesn’t sound right. To many, the answer is so obvious that this question doesn’t even make sense. But to most of us, reality isn’t quite so clear.
I was watching an inspirational video a few days ago (*) when I realised something which was probably already settled in my subconscious, but that I had never deeply reflected on. The narrator of the video was warning people of the dangerous course we are taking by treating our Planet so carelessly and mindlessly. At a certain point, he said that people are so busy fighting racism, sexism, homophobia, religious intolerance, terrorists… and not caring about Global Warming… that, one day soon, we shall all be “equally extinct”. No social or cultural differences will matter then, because we will have run out of time. His words led me to the following question: which is more pressing – saving the Planet, or fighting for equality?
A wise person would say that both these quests are urgent and crucial. In fact, we cannot live in a polluted, damaged world, just like we cannot live in a world without equality of rights. But that is just it, isn’t it? Because if we do not tend to the needs of Planet Earth, we will not be alive to fight for equal rights any more.
I am not saying that we should all suddenly stop caring about humanitarian issues and divert our attention and efforts towards saving the Planet. But while we are so busy addressing issues that may be taken care of in a longer span of time, we are watching Earth wither and slowly – or not so slowly – die. Do not take me wrong. The downfall of Man may not be the ending of all life on this Planet. Nature always finds a way. But it will most certainly be the end of us, the end of Humankind… and the sad ending of all those we are taking with us.
More than 10.000 species of animals go extinct every year because of Man’s thoughtless actions. These are innocent victims of a so-called civilization that madly confuses “progress” and “evolution” with the development of increasingly precarious and destructive ways of life. Consumerism has been on a relentless rise since the beginning of the Industrial Revolution, but the more we build, the more we want, and the more we want, the more we exhaust and consume our home. Our only home.
Some people still believe that climate change does not necessarily mean our extinction. They believe that Mankind will find another planet to run to when it becomes too late to save our own Planet. But why should we want to waste all life on Earth, when we have such a beautiful, natural world to live in? A world that offers us some of the most wonderful natural spectacles we have ever seen, some of the most amazing landscapes and living creatures we have ever imagined.
Most people don’t seem to understand that fighting for the Planet IS fighting for ourselves, and fighting for ourselves MUST BE fighting for the Planet. Time is running out. We are being warned time and again, but the message doesn’t seem to reach the minds of all. Most people’s lives show that they do not truly care about the course we are taking, about the fate we are bounding ourselves to.
Something else the narrator of the video said that touched me deeply was a reference to Native Americans, who tended to the needs of their homes, of their soil, of their waters, of their woods, of their animals and plants, so as to preserve the Planet for the following 7 generations. But at the rate we, the so-called civilized, are destroying Planet Earth, we will not be leaving a healthy world not even to our next generation. What does that make of us? What does it make of us other than greedy, ignorant and cruelly indifferent beings who are willing to sacrifice every other species on Earth, and the future of our own species, for fleeting luxuries and gratification?
A part of me believes that we are beyond salvation. Human alienation is so serious at this point, such a rotting epidemic, that we will not save our Planet in time of saving ourselves – including every species that has not done anything to deserve this outcome. In those sad and despairing moments, I think that we are going to destroy our Planet because of our endless greed, our endless pride, our endless belief that we can pretend to be God and play with the fates of all lives on Earth.
But then, a small voice inside me tells me that there is still time. A small, hopeful voice starts speaking louder, inciting me to believe that there is still a chance. We can still wake up on time to stop this definite destruction. We can still change enough to preserve our world for a little longer. We can still learn to take care of our Earth and all living beings on it. But we cannot carry on the way we are going now. The answer to the question above is that simple. We should fight for the Planet, because fighting for the Planet is fighting for ourselves. Both are one.
* Prince EA’s video “Dear Future Generations, Sorry”: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=eRLJscAlk1M