Tuesday 27 June 2017


Bombarded by big news about bombs, elections and Brexit, we’ve almost forgotten Trump’s pulling out of the Paris Climate Agreement. Although Climate Change poses a massive threat to us all, the way everyone talks about killing the planet makes me laugh.

Our human arrogance knows no bounds. Pumped up with ridiculous levels of self-importance, we imagine ourselves civilised, walking around as if we own the planet.

We talk of saving the planet, as if we were the guardians of this celestial wanderer. We indulge ourselves with grandiose notions about how we might be destroying the planet, and with delusional hubris we imagine we might be able to cure the planet.

Wisdom still eludes us. Ever since life evolved on Earth mass extinctions have come and gone. We are extinguishing species and creating famines, filling the oceans with plastic and surely will bring about our own downfall, but we don’t need to save the planet.

The planet will be fine.

We might be able to invent safe fuels, or build carbon scrubbing machines to remove the greenhouse gases. We might build huge mirrors to reflect the sun’s rays back into space ..... and a shaft of pure white light might shine out of my backside singing the Hallelujah Chorus.

This planet that we are so concerned with saving was born somewhere around 4,700,000,000 years ago, while our bunch have only been on the scene for the last 160,000 years.

If the history of this planet was a mountain, we would barely be a pebble upon it.

Every day this living breathing pulsating lump, pumped by an internal engine of swirling molten rock and trapped gases (think Uncle Mikey after Sunday dinner), hurtles through space being pummelled by all manner of other lumps of rock.

Depending upon the whims of the universe, our deaths might be delivered by a massive meteor, like the one that hit Mexico 65 million years ago. That baby left a crater 170 kilometres wide, releasing the gases, dust and climate change that wiped out the dinosaurs.

Or that lump of Canary Island might finally slip into the Atlantic Ocean and send a mega-tsunami to the eastern seaboard of America, which will rebound and wash up on Ireland’s shores, causing total devastation an unbelievably short matter of minutes later.

Maybe it’ll be the Super Volcano that lurks under Yellowstone National Park. The phenomenal size and power of this caldera only came to light relatively recently. Sections of the park’s pine forest were slipping into a lake, and then vulcanologists realised that this lake was in fact part of a crater of phenomenal and terrifying proportions.

When that monster decides to erupt, the jet stream will rush the blast and dust storms east, obliterating half of the United States and probably the rest of us under the ensuing clouds of sulphur.

We are so far from being the rulers of this planet, it is laughable. 

When the Earth farts, scratches an itch or wets itself, we puny humans are engulfed in disaster.

When the ground moves or explodes, as it does with alarming regularity, all the lobby groups and self-help books in the world won’t mean a thing.

It’s hypocritical and pointless to talk of trying to cure Climate Change in any kind of context that expects economic growth to continue. 

Were corporations, governments, our species as a whole truly concerned about how we might be harming our environment, then we would, as one, stop our insane desire for more material goods, for more cars to take us from A to B.

We have no idea what will get us in the end. According to the  doomsayers, we might die in any number of cataclysmic natural events.

Maybe the unprecedented level of permafrost melting all over the Siberian tundra will release so much methane that the Earth with flash into flame and disintegrate in a cosmic botty burp.

Perchance the ice melt going on in Greenland will finally hit critical mass, and flood the oceans.

Just up the road from us, the North Atlantic Drift, which brings the warm air and water to our west coast has been shaky for ages. 

When that conveyor belt stops, as it has done already for short periods, our climate in Ireland will become Arctic within two weeks. 

Not much fun at all.

The only sure thing about the apocryphal Big One is that it will be instant and in the course of the history of the planet, nowt more than an irrelevant blip.

Whether you’re cruising around in your plush motor, or sitting on the sofa watching Netflix while betting on your phone, you might dare to believe that we own the planet, and can therefore save it.

Well, next time you’re feeling all cushty cushty, smug and altogether civilised, remember one stark truth: you are 3 days away from becoming a murderer.

Whenever catastrophe strikes, history has shown that humans go through the same pattern of specific behaviours, time and time again.

Irrespective of where you are in the world, whatever your wealth, regardless of how well you think you know yourself, come disaster, you are the same as me and I’m the same as all of you.

Day One: we hide and await help.

Day Two: we leave our shelters in search of food. At this stage, we are willing to steal to feed our families.

Day Three: if we have not found food by now, we will be prepared to kill another human being, if they have food and our children do not.

Civilised? You tell me.

©Charlie Adley

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