Something to think about
I will never understand why humans are so enormously arrogant and condescending as to behave as if this planet belonged only to us and that we have the right to destroy it during the lifetime of just a few generations.
Just within my lifetime the number of people on Earth has more than doubled, almost all tropical rain forests were destroyed and many (if not most) animals are on the brink of extinction. Only one hundred years ago there were almost no cars, no airplanes. One hundred years is a very short time. One long human life. Why most people do not care that their children will have nowhere to live?
Why does nobody care about nature and wildlife? The animals have nowhere to live anymore. There are no butterflies in the meadows in central Europe where I live - instead there are tractors cutting the grass when flowers are in full bloom and no living creatures escape - frogs, lizards, beetles or butterflies – they are all killed. When was the last time you saw a butterfly, a frog or even a hedgehog?!
Once I read somewhere that we are the last generation who will be able to see Serengeti with its famous herds of animals. I couldn't agree more and will add that we indeed were the last generation, which could have experienced and perhaps learned something from the last surviving tribes who still live in symbiosis with nature; such as the Korowai or Yali from New Guinea.
We live in a society where many people think that when they flush the toilet the excrement disappears ...
How come that we all demand clean water out of our taps, while at the same time we are systematically polluting it with dangerous chemicals at the other end? Where do you think all those fabulous dishwashing tablets, washing-up liquids, washing detergents or shampoos disappear to? Why are we heating bigger and bigger houses and shopping centres, instead of trying to save energy resources and reduce the burning of fossil fuels? Do we really not care what will be left of the world in just the next few generations? Is our greed really so big that we don’t even care about the future of our own children?
In the last few years it has became fashionable to be ’green’, and to talk a lot about the global warming, whilst the crowds are madly shopping, traffic is ever increasing (despite the high oil prices), the whole planet is lit all night and economies demand more production, more sales ...
What I also find interesting is that a person who is born today in our western society will ’consume’ perhaps ten times more than the same person thirty years ago. The world population is rapidly growing and everyone wants a new phone, TV, computer and car every two years ..... And that has a huge impact on our environment.
Imagine an average ’western’ (or Indonesian, or Chinese for that matter) town with, say, half a million people. With all that traffic everywhere I think it's OK to assume that every one person might burn 1 litre of fuel on average every day (directly or not; and some use much more - like a lorry driver - but, conversely, babies nothing). That's a half million of litres of fuel burnt in one day in one town. There are millions of towns ... How much is it per year world-wide?
In the WWF (World Wildlife Fund) 2012 report I read, among other things, that humankind is already using an equivalent of one and half planets, as if we had another planet at our disposal. We are consuming more than the Earth can provide. If every person on earth could live as an average westerner, we would need four planets already!
According to the latest WWF Living Planet Report published in 2014, humankind reduced global biodiversity by half just from 1970 – more accurately by 52% - and the rate of destruction is escalating. Can really nobody see that?!
Some people might say the answer will be alternative energy sources. In my opinion there is no alternative to power and support the greed (and need) of six or more billion people.
But let's come back to the tribal peoples.
Here is a story about a t-shirt, which I have seen so many times. There are people in the Papuan mountains and jungles (and in many other parts of the world too), who have lived for thousands of years in harmony with nature.
Then someone comes who for whatever reason thinks the naked people in the jungle are not OK. They must at least be dressed up, and better yet converted to Christianity.
And now the story begins. The tribesman gets a t-shirt and possibly shorts. It rains a lot, and since he has lived naked until now, he does not know he must take it off when wet and dry it (also often he can't, because then he would be naked again, which a christian shouldn't be), so he shivers. But after a while the t-shirt becomes very dirty. But the poor tribesman has no idea it has to be washed. Moreover he has nowhere to wash it. True, there is a river, often half an hour's steep, muddy slog downhill from the village. But the water is cold, so it wouldn't wash very well. So he would need some laundry detergent, which he doesn't have and there is nowhere to buy it. Even if it was he would then need the money to buy it. But then all the people downstream drink the water too.
That was in the mountains. In the lowland jungles there is also an issue with skin problems caused by wearing constantly wet and dirty t-shirts, which are never washed (even if you do, they never dry). They also keep all the bitting insects comfortably on the skin, all the time ...
And what will come next? Perhaps there will be one day some NGO building laundrettes, but by then the ’poor tribesman’ and his forest will be long gone ...
Here I am just offering some of my observations and opinions, which reflect my many years spent in the jungles and among tribes. It's only meant to inspire thinking about it more. It's very simplified indeed, all the problems mentioned are hugely complex, with many possible points of view.
I could say much more here, but it would be long, perhaps boring reading.
So I'll leave it there ...