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Joining the Dots

By Glenn Wilson, Waterfall Creek

When some people view a dot picture puzzle, the hidden image is fairly obvious.  But joining the dots in the puzzle that is modern civilization, the earth, the ecosystem, the oceans, the natural resources, the atmosphere and our future is easy for some, difficult for others and completely ignored by people who should know better.

In rural terms; if we overstock the paddock, soon the paddock is ruined and unable to support even a sustainable population.  If we fish out a favourite fishing spot, the fisher loses interest, the tackle shop loses a customer and the fisher’s family goes hungry.  If we create a desert where farming land once existed, we clear more farmland or people go hungry or die.  If we use something that cannot be replaced, it is gone forever, (think fossil fuels, oil, coal, gas).  If we over allocate the fresh water supplies that run in our rivers and we experience a period of below average rainfall, the environment suffers.   Those whose livelihoods depend on a guaranteed supply of water also suffer.  Who remembers the recent decade of drought?

When we shift our focus to urban areas, similar challenges can be envisaged.

If the production of energy to drive a metropolis increases the level of greenhouse gasses in the atmosphere which affects our weather and our oceans, what then happens to the inhabitants’ need to eat ocean produce?   For those who live close to the ocean, how will they adapt?  Cities are also spreading into the surrounding countryside and seaside. 

How will greenhouse gas levels be reduced if the population continues to grow? Our many governments continue to subsidise fossil fuel industries, not by millions of taxpayer dollars, but by billions of taxpayers’ dollars?  Your taxpayer dollars!

Is this wise?

Apart from the capital cost there is an environmental cost to everything we do, buy, travel to or consume.  It is that environmental cost which is usually put on the global credit card. 

This type of behaviour, exemplified by the wealthy and the mega wealthy, leads me to question whether we just haven’t got the environmental global dot thing. The ultimate consequences of bankrupting the earth’s environmental account is something many in our society choose to ignore.

If you, like me, have been able to join a few dots, then you may be left wondering what our future brings.