Am I the only person in the world to give up a coffee addiction after watching South Park? Watching Tweek treat his anxiety with coffee I thought, I don’t need the jitters or the upset stomach any more. Yet there I was this morning, having my second cappuccino in two days (I think my sixth cup for the year), and I could feel my nervousness rising. It was the combination of the coffee and reading this article by Greg Ray in the Sydney Morning Herald over breakfast. Ivan Macfadyen sailed across the Pacific and compared to an earlier voyage, found a silent wasteland. The fish are gone, and with them, the birds. I closed my eyes and pictured the massive factory boats, the huge industrial centres floating across the seas, destroying everything in their wake like a Fred Saberhagen Berserker or a city block sized Terminator. Out of sight, this gargantuan wasteful destruction going unchecked. I could not finish the article over breakfast, though I have now.
The work of these ships is described clearly in horrifying detail in George Monbiot’s “Feral“, where he sets out how nothing in the ocean escapes, as the machines even turn over boulders weighing tonnes on the sea floor. Day and night they work, sending us closer to the edge.
I struggle with this. I don’t want to turn a blind eye, yet I need to get through the day, and I cannot do that if I despair. How easy an excuse that becomes to turn away. Yet Monbiot, who has seen more of the world’s environmental horrors than many people, does not fall into this trap. If this was a proper article, I would give you his quote on why we should not despair, that despite the problems of this age, we have previously unavailable opportunities to act individually and collectively to change the world for the better, though we must have courage. However, I misplaced my note. But what I will give you is the final paragraph in an article he has on his website giving career advice which deserves to be repeated all over:
You know you have only one life. You know it is a precious, extraordinary, unrepeatable thing: the product of billions of years of serendipity and evolution. So why waste it by handing it over to the living dead?
Read “Feral” by George Monbiot