Humanity’s sense of self preservation is ironically, only matched by it’s ability to create new ways to blow each other apart.
Since the beginning of time, the human race has time and time again been defined by conflict. Whether it be the antics of 1066, the horrors of the Somme or riled captains barking orders into the ears of grunts in ‘Nam, the subject of warfare is fascinating to everyone, whether we experienced it first hand or not.
When discussing war, it’s very easy to romanticise what is an atrocious and vile part of human nature. The kinship and bond that forms between soldiers under fire is compelling to those of us lucky enough to never be involved in the bloodshed. What seems to be a common trait amongst people who’ve lived through battles is that they were just trying to get through it, day by day. Humanity’s sense of self preservation comes to the fore during this time of danger. Interestingly it’s this same sense of self preservation that humanity applies in a less immediate context, that is, climate change.
I have mixed views about this now popular issue. Wading through the reams of publicity and products that are pure tokenism is difficult, and means that sometimes those with pure and well meaning intention are often overshadowed by their more glamourous cousins. I’m referring to the pedal pusher wearing Notting Hill mothers who guilt trip the rest of us by “buying organic” and dressing up little Artemis and Ophelia in 100% fairtrade cotton. They are also the same people driving their 4 x 4’s down Kensington High Street, doing their best to smash me off my bike into the kerb and pumping enough odious gases into the air to rival a pre-Thatcher northern mill.
Humanity is threatened by climate change. We dropped a stink bomb down the vest of mother nature, and now the universe is calling us into the headmasters office for a caning. Thus we’re frantically scrabbling around to appease him on high (God, Allah, Richard Dawkins, Simon Cowell, whoever you believe in) by saving our planet. Interestingly if all of humanity was wiped out tomorrow, the universe would heal itself, wildlife would thrive and ecosystems would recover to a state that won’t have been seen since the first ice age.
So if we were truly selfless we’d give it all up tomorrow. But we’re not. We’re the young private dodging bullets on the frontline, senses heightened, adrenalin pumping, thinking of nothing more than to batten down the hatches and save our scrawny behinds. So mankind blunders on, trying to find new ways to delay the inevitable. We’re all going to hell in a handcart, and my children’s children’s children’s children’s children’s children’s children’s children’s children’s are going to be burnt to a crisp.