For years now, I have been thinking about the world … its history and future, as I travel alone across the planet.
I hope these visions are just fantasy; or at least mostly wrong about the bad stuff and that our species will rise above the environmental and social challenges to improve the planet as a better, more equal, peaceful place for all peoples.
Firstly let’s note that while my travel experiences are 98% fun and positive, MRP as a wine-bottle philosopher – watching News, reading reports, and seeing some of this harsh reality, makes for a very different perspective.
It’s an unfair world of rich and poor and this is unlikely to change in the near future as we in the West and and the rich of the 3rd world continue to grow and consume. And unfortunately as we all know: we are out-consuming the finite resources of the planet.
What happens when much of India & China reach our developed level?
The human impact triples to an unsustainable level which will mean the average westerner will see a reduction in living standards and while the elite of each country will be insulated the very poor will die … UNLESS there is better food and resource management, otherwise expect forests to disappear, ocean fish to be rare, famine to be commonplace.
Of course, NGOs and the United Nations hold carrots out to undeveloped countries to modernize like the west – but this is a false and an unsustainable dream – and although it should be every body’s right to live in modern 21st century comfort our global economic system needs some to be poor, needs the constant raw resources and cheap labor, etc, to keep the elitist status and so simply today there’s not enough to go around and those with too much, don’t want to share.
Yet we need to move to a fairer, more peaceful, more equal world – but how do humans evolve this way within generations when we are all trapped in our cavemen, more-important-own-existence which is that survival of the fittest outlook?
A sudden revolution of change and thought via the internet? Cultural exchanges – arts & sports? Educated travel? Or does anyone really care … as we ponder grim images on TV and then return to our personal- bubble? If it doesn’t effect you, rarely do people think about it.
BUT what if “IF” comes crashing closer to our home?
Floods. Cyclones. Pollution. Toxic food. Famine. Lack of fresh water. Religious & ethnic hatreds. War. These problems because of changes in the global environment caused by our collective rabid consumption and now coming home to roost?
What if Africa suffers huge floods and droughts? There is death, famine, unrest, war, millions of refugees streaming towards Europe?
What if a virus – biological weapon, natural: SARS, bird flu, plague – breaks across Asia?
What if the poor of Latin America swarm towards the USA?
What if the glaciers of the Himalayas lessened to reduce fresh water to India’s billion? Or China’s? And what if underground supplies fall in the middle East?
What if the oceans rise faster than predicted and take out pacific islands and coastal cities?
What if pesticides and other agricultural poisons run into the rivers and into the sea to kill off much of the ocean life?
What if the forests of many countries are cut without being replaced? What of our natural fresh air filters, potential scientific discoveries and the existing animal species?
What if we could kick the gasoline addiction and give the West less of a reason to interfere in the Middle East, create a Palestinian state and make Jerusalem an international twin-capital, all this cutting off the rush of some towards Jihad?
OFF COURSE … technology will solve many issues: desalinate the ocean to drink and irrigate; reforestation of land; recycle everything; manage farming and food production with GM crops and skyscraper farms; forgo oil – for deep geothermal, wind and solar – to lessen climate change pace; energy-efficient houses and buildings and infrastructure; discover new minerals and planets to exploit; construct dikes around vulnerable coastal cities; give real power to a united world body to act decisively in times of violence, famine, disaster (and to eliminate brutal, hopeless dictators)?
One world government?
A global dictatorship?
But who could possibly govern the world? Surely this won’t work yet, not until there’s been so much grief, a new dark ages and then a global renaissance after major catastrophes and huge population loss, will the survivors see sense?
Are China and America poised to fight within 30 years? Sooner? To act like other rival power blocs in history?
After all there’s global domination – which starts with plundering raw materials in Africa, or mining rights in the Arctic or Antarctica or even another planet or a sci-fi space wars?
Or will China collapse into ethnic divisions like Yugoslavia?
Or will both countries – all countries – be hit by too many natural disasters?
Or will the US-of-Europe one day be enemies of the USA in 100 years?
Russia & Europe united?
Or Russia fighting off China for its vast Siberian resources?
Meantime: much of Africa stagnates as she’s raped of her resources?
Brazil struggles under its own class divisions?
An Islamic bloc clashes with Christianity? With Hinduism? With everyone? Is the end of humanity possible – is the Bible true? Or is the Koran the final word?
But first – like soon, like now, China with Asia dominate the world stage, sharing with their Western friends until they all fall out?
Or will the rich world become high-tech fortresses ignoring miserable, broken, failed states?
When will borders and national identity dissolve and we become one?
Wars are often the history of our humanity
And there will be more wars? Why?
Because mass-human consciousness has not evolved fast enough – we are still fresh from the cave; still animals that fight for our turf, our food, an obedient pack that blindly follows the leader.
And so as the planet suffers, as people suffer, the world’s losers and winners get more and more desperate in their struggle for fewer and fewer resources.
BUT it’s not the end of the world … Just the beginning of a dark age of hardship and lives lost as we continue to overpopulate, consume and consume, devastate the environment without thinking of the long-term picture in our rush for individual wealth and power and chasing the want-all luxury life as endorsed by the corporate mass-media and enthroned by societies’ worship of the hollow, extravagant celebrity culture.
So Revolution or Evolution?
Will those of us living well, or too well, downsize our lifestyles to save the planet while also helping the poor who struggle to eat? Maybe? Doubtful.
Not without fundamental societal change across the world, starting in the West and sharing that change, knowledge, wealth and technology with the developing world for a greater, more equitable, sustainable good.
Problem: human nature is too absorbed by self or tribe and always hysterical of strangers on mass – the masses always willing to fight when manipulated by presidents or mullahs. Yes, we need better leaders. Now. We need less personal egos and more serving the common good of not just nations – but the whole of humanity.
We, the people of the world, need to know strangers from other cultures and to interact positively to even start the hope of a better world for all by destroying prejudice and stereotypes and to narrow the distance of ignorance between societies and individuals.
History shows this as an impossible task but maybe … one day.
Written on July, 19, 2008 :: A rare moment as I am back in New Zealand – in my home city for a few weeks. Dennis of Slowboat Records – thanks, as this post is inspired by you, for listening, asking insightful questions, and for allowing me to rave.