Opinion
Author`s name Timothy Bancroft-Hinchey

Global environmental catastrophe: Straight into the Gates of Hell

Global environmental catastrophe: Straight into the Gates of Hell

With the rhino and elephant memories from a distant past, joining the dodo showcased as museum exhibits, the Amazon became a barren desert.

Welcome to Planet Earth some years before 2050. Massive storms raze whole areas of cities and devastate the agricultural plains, forests and fields of cereals, food shortages have given rise to gang-related deaths producing civil war-like casualty figures and potable water restrictions have led to widespread violence. Heatwaves have scorched regions once fertile, changing them into Mars-like landscapes and rising temperatures have made tropical diseases endemic in the northern hemisphere. Survival is the key, not quality of life.

Looking at the world around me, I cannot believe that I will pen these words before I reach my ninetieth birthday... but I shall. The Human race acts and behaves like an ongoing freak show, a comedy soap opera for countless beings tapping into our collective stupidity out there in space, queueing up to look at us and laugh. We were given a beautiful home, a wonderful biosphere to share with the animals and plants around us and what have we done?

We have exterminated countless species through callous disregard for their habitats, we have destroyed the planet from the depths of the seas to the skies above us, even out into space, we have left swathes of land polluted, poisoned and uninhabitable.

  

The need to pull together

Rather than coming together and taking heed of the opinions of experts, the Human race (some more than others and especially those who regard the Moon as a part of Mars) deride science as nonsense and pull out of climate agreements. No names mentioned, we are all in this together.

With the global population set to hit 12 billion by the middle of the century and with a huge increase in urbanization, the demand for fuel, for food and for water, already decreasing  at an alarming rate, will place a huge weight on the environment and will cause irreparable damage to the global biosphere. We are heading for a catastrophe.

Mass extinction, year after year

This is why the latest UN Global Environment Outlook report calls for urgent action. Its pages read like the scenes from a horror movie.  Right across the spectrum, human activity is undermining the fundamental systems which support life on Planet Earth, starting with the erosion of the very building-block which creates equilibrium, biodiversity. Species are being made extinct before they are discovered. Up to 0.1% of species become extinct each and every year, some 100,000 unique plants and animals.

All of the Planet's biomes have been directly affected by human activity. Fish resources are at risk due to overfishing and marine pollution with plastics. The report mentions even a "collapse" in fisheries. Chemical pollution in freshwater supplies have led to mass extinctions and a decline in the quantity of potable water. Mangrove swamps, coral reefs, coastal areas, forests, polar regions, plains, have all been ravaged and are showing evident and clear signs of extreme stress.

The murder of indigenous peoples in Brazil

  

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Indigenous peoples, the only ones living in harmony with nature, are right now being exterminated in Brazil, where the government of Jair Bolsonaro looks on passively as illegal miners and farmers devastate Amazonia, seizing the indigenous peoples' lands and murdering those who resist. Including children, so that they will not grow up and "breed".

The bad news is massive, overwhelming and constant and leaves the reader severely depressed, desperate, despondent, despairing. The only hope we have, according to the report, is to pull together and establish benchmarks, monitoring our resources and launching a serious and sustained global effort to reduce harmful emissions, clean up our Planet, our home, and leave something which future generations can live in, or at least survive in. The document GEO-6 sets out the problems we are facing and suggests mechanisms to combat the challenges towards reaching the 17 Sustainable Development Goals in the 2030 Agenda.

Are we capable of reaching our goals?

Are we capable of this? Future generations will be able to judge us but I have my doubts. We live in a world in which the bottom line matters more than how it is reached, everything has been turned into a business, even education and healthcare, it's dog-eat-dog, shark-eat-shark, the survival of the fittest and the law of the jungle. The world is not civilized, humankind is not civilized, we are a collection of despicable, nauseating, idiotic overgrown apes, probably among the least intelligent of species, demonstrating a total disrespect for other species and for the global biosphere.

Living rain

As I write, indigenous children are being murdered in Brazil's rain forests by callous, demonic agents who will go unpunished. Truckload after trucklooad of toxic waste is being dumped into the sea. Since I started the article, several species have joined the bucket list, the habitat of animals which have enjoyed spaces for thousands of years has been devastated, trees are set on fire to clear forests, creating a downpour of living rain, as orang-utangs, tree shrews and birds crash down to their deaths, scorched and burnt alive.

And we sit here, self-satisfied, preening ourselves on our progress and refusing to work together. What a revolting, despicable, evil species. We indeed deserve to be the victims of mass extinction and the Planet will be far better off without us. Let this be a document for future generations to read, to show how some of us here in 2019 are thinking. If there are future generations of course, and to them in the name of humankind, I apologize most sincerely.

My thanks to Dr. Mark Michelson for his constant interest in this subject and for goading me into putting pen to paper.

Photo 1

By Peter Shanks from Lithgow, Australia - Commons, CC BY 3.0, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=18215971

Photo 2

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Lago_Agrio_oil_field#/media/File:Oil_pollution_in_Ecuador.jpg

Photo 3: The author in 2018

Timothy Bancroft-Hinchey

Twitter: @TimothyBHinchey

timothy.hinchey@gmail.com

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Timothy Bancroft-Hinchey works in the area of teaching, consultancy, coaching, translation, revision of texts, copy-writing and journalism. Director and Chief Editor of the Portuguese version of Pravda.Ru since 2002, and now Co-Editor of the English version, he contributes regularly to several other publications in Portuguese and English. He has worked in the printed and online media, in daily, weekly, monthly and yearly magazines and newspapers. A firm believer in multilateralism as a political approach and multiculturalism as a means to bring people and peoples together, he is Official Media Partner of UN Women, fighting for gender equality and Media Partner with Humane Society International, promoting animal rights. His hobbies include sports, in which he takes a keen interest, traveling, networking to protect the rights of LGBTQI communities and victims of gender violence, and cataloging disappearing languages, cultures and traditions around the world. A keen cook, he enjoys trying out different cuisines and regards cooking and sharing as a means to understand cultures and bring people together.

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