So I got to thinking the other day about physics and in particular the first theory of thermodynamics – that matter can be neither be created or destroyed. I admit I did not know it was the first theory when I started thinking about it, so thank you Google for clearing that one up for me!
Since the dawn of man – or shortly after we have succeeded in using this planet very efficiently for everything that we needed to survive. The most basic things being – food, water, warmth and shelter and love. We lived in natural caves formed by wind and water, hunted and gathered for food, learned how to create fire to keep warm, drank from clean streams and rivers and formed relationships. We then learned how to make tools to help us survive – the stone age, the bronze age, the iron-age, the industrial age (revolution) and now what I would call the ‘age of excess’.
Through the millennia we have dug deep into the soil and rock to search for things we actually needed, but then for things we simply wanted – things worth something to others such as gold, silver, tin, diamonds, rubies, sapphires and then during the time of industry – coal, gas and oil and currently fracking for shale gas. So what’s the big deal, these things are here on this planet so why shouldn’t we have them, use them, sell them. Indeed I agree these things make our lives easier and some – like the shiny stones and metals are lovely to look at. But what happens to the ground beneath us? Think about it. We live on this big ball of rock. It’s not smooth like a ping pong ball but has lumpy bits we call mountains and low bits we call valleys – some of which have filled with water to form seas, rivers, lakes and oceans. All the time we’ve been here we have essentially been taking things out of the stuff we stand on. Digging deeper and deeper towards the core. When we mine for ‘resource’, it’s a little like sticking a pin into a huge and I do mean huge ball of bread dough – oh I do love my carbs!! One pin prick won’t cause the dough to collapse, a hundred won’t either but a million or a billion pin pricks just might. The more pin pricks the less natural structure remains – the foundations beneath our feet. It’s not like the earth needs any encouragement. There have always been volcanoes, earth quakes and tsunamis and sink holes.The earth is organic after all, constantly moving, shaking, breaking and remaking itself. However, we seem to be hearing about these ‘natural phenomena’ a lot more than ever before. Maybe this is because we have ready access to the media used to spread the news of such things whereas only a hundred years ago we simply didn’t. Or maybe there actually are more events occurring and we hear about them now because we can. Any which way it’s a slightly frightening thought that under our feet, way deep down there are voids, – the gaps are much like a Swiss cheese . Nothing more than a space. Empty, waiting to be filled by something from above. Many of these voids of course are already filled with things such as water, oil and gas, but it wont take us long to find these and extract what we want – not necessarily need. But what do we leave behind? It is just a void or emptiness waiting to be filled, or perhaps they will be filled with water we pump back down – leaving less for us to actually use? I know maybe we can fill the spaces with our rubbish, after all we are running out of other options.
So what is the point of this ramble. Remember that theory at the beginning, that nothing can be created or destroyed. Well here goes – a novel approach to not taking anything else from out beneath our feet. It’s called……Recycling! You may have heard of this revolutionary new concept. It’s where we take things we’ve already made, and give them a new life, either by fixing them so they ‘work’ again or we disassemble them to create new things. I dunno, the thought might one day catch on. People might stop actually creating stuff from raw/virgin materials and use what we already have available up here on the surface. I’m not just talking about on a personal level, but on a global scale. Yes, yes, of course this is already being done. The world isn’t really going to implode because we have turned it into a Swiss cheese, and we are recycling at a much grander scale than ever before, but we need to speed the process up. We need to slow down the pace of manufacturing and put much more emphasis on reusing. This desire needs to come from the people – you and me. Governments and big multinational conglomerates won’t stop producing until we stop buying their nice shiny new – made from virgin materials products. Their cars, their clothes, their food packaged in super shiny colourful single use plastic. Of course we all need things to get by. I hold my hands up and admit to owning a car, a house, nice clothes and I wear a gold wedding ring. BUT, I am more aware than ever before thanks to people like Sir David Attenborough, Greta Thunberg, Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall, Anita Rani’s War On Plastic (War on Plastic with Hugh and Anita, Series 1: Episode 1: http://www.bbc.co.uk/iplayer/episode/m0005xgz via @bbciplayerBBC ) and many many many others that we need to change our ways and recycle responsibly. We also need to embrace the ‘new/renewable’ sources of energy needed to power our chosen ways of life. Solar, wind, hydro and so on. No more mining for limited resources when we have limitless sources on there surface and above us.
We are very lucky to find ourselves on this planet at all. Having recently watch the BBC show – The Planets http://www.bbc.co.uk/iplayer/episode/p06qj2l5 via @bbciplayer all things aligned at the right time, with the right combinations of ‘ingredients’ in the perfect spot – 3rd rock from the sun. We need to cut back on our over consumption, cut back on our over production, cut back on our wants and desires and maybe then we can stop the pricks ruining our planet.
Stop the pricks