The Biggest Tragedy You’ve Never Considered

If the human race manages not to wipe itself out in the coming centuries, people will probably look back on our treatment of animals, the planet and each other with sadness and anger.

The consequences of our disrespect for the Earth are going to be with us for a very long time, even if we do mend our ways. The damage we’ve already done may even be irreparable. It’s saddening to think of the suffering that will ensue – famine, extreme weather and droughts will be the tip of the iceberg.

But the tragedy I’m referring to is a selfish one, and it is this: it bothers me that I’ll never experience the planet in its unspoilt natural state. I’ll never live in a world where the oceans aren’t full of plastic, the rainforests are intact and marine ecosystems are teeming with life. I’ll never live in a world with dodos, quaggas and sea cows. This, to me, is a huge tragedy.

These days, only the most remote of places are untouched by human activity. Isn’t it incredible that we’re just one of thousands of species on the planet, yet we’ve exerted our influence over almost all of it?

Some might argue that all this is necessary if we are to progress as a species, but can we really call it progress if the planet is being destroyed? I’m very grateful to live in an era and a society where technology and modern medicine are easily accessible. But if we really are such an advanced species, we ought to be capable of innovating in a way that doesn’t cost the Earth.

I can’t be the only one who thinks about this. Does it bother you that you’ll never see the planet in its unspoilt natural state? Or do you see it as an inevitable or even acceptable consequence of human progress? Leave a comment below.

P.S. You may have noticed that I haven’t been posting as frequently as usual – there are several reasons for this, including the talk I’m preparing to give at Cornwall Vegan Festival next week. Normal service will be resumed soon!

biggest tragedy you've never thought about

6 comments / Add your comment below

  1. It really does bother me. Like you say, if we are so technologically advanced, why can’t we do things without causing so many problems, and fix the problems we have already caused?

    The answer is, we can. But because of things like money, capitalism, and human greed, we put our money into the wrong things.

    As long as we continue to value money and profit over literally every other thing, we are doomed.

    We have the means to clean up the planet, and we have the means to stop destroying it. We just don’t want to, and that is the biggest tragedy of all.

    1. Agreed, I can’t stand the way corporations prioritise profits over the planet – it’s so short-sighted. I find it hard to understand why some people don’t seem to care about the environment.

  2. It bothers me, but it bothers me that damaging things to the planet have affected others especially other species more than me. Have you heard of the concept of rewilding (e.g. Feral by George Monbiot). I’d like to see a movement towards rewilding or at the very least maintaining all natural areas that currently exist. Perhaps it ought to be illegal to clear away any forest, for instance. I don’t see it as selfish because you or I can probably find somewhere truly wild at least on a small scale within a short distance of home when we want to.

    1. Yes I have heard of rewilding and I fully support it! Even rural areas nowadays often aren’t truly wild because so much of the land has been cleared and turned into fields.

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