In August 2019, much of the world was transfixed by images of the burning jungles of the Amazon basin. Who cannot be horrified by the destruction of both forest and animal life in this blaze? This is the annihilation of one of the major factors in the health of the planet. The threat to our existence is dramatic and so massive that it can be seen from space. When placed alongside the massive fires raging in Russia and Africa, they represent a tragic trend; the planet is indeed on fire. These are images that draw our attention, but there are other areas of intense destruction that are not so visible.
Humankind and the Planet
If we think of the forests of the world as the lungs of the planet, then the oceans of the world are the source of our blood. The toxic gases that have created a steady rise in temperature and the shifts in rainfall have created a tinderbox of both forest and grassland. The same factors have inflamed the oceans as well. It is a systemic illness that has only one cause – the actions of humankind.
The heating of the atmosphere, a result of greenhouse gases, affects the oceans as well as the land. In fact, the oceans absorb more than 90% of the heat produced by the greenhouse effect. This heating causes more powerful tropical storms, bigger waves and impacts most sea life, hurts coral habitats, and accelerates ice melting.
The meeting of abuse of the land and sea comes from the runoff from both crop farming and animal agriculture. The chemicals used in conventional farming are nitrogen-rich. This nitrogen is washed off with soil erosion and kills life in rivers and eventually makes its way to the ocean creating dead zones in the oceans.
There are now over 400 such dead zones where oxygen levels drop so low, they cannot support sea life, only algae blooms survive. The ocean becomes a stagnate pond. Most sea creatures cannot survive in these zones and current trends would lead to a mass extinction of most life in the sea in the long run.
The warming waters, dead zones and the mass annihilation of trillions of sea creatures for human and pet food assure the death of the oceans. The killing of animals lies at the root of our destructive habits, yet we pretend and stall as time runs down.
Every living creature on the planet bears the cost of human greed and ignorance.
The way we exercise the power of life and death on all living creatures is coming back to haunt us. We came out of the sea; it is our origin. What is known is that huge progress can be made simply through individuals modeling earth-friendly behaviour. We are all part of the cure for the plague that now ruins land, water, and air.
The land has supported us for centuries. It remains to be seen if we can find it in our hearts and minds to honour our relationship to nature or if we will simply become another fossilized remain in the history of planet earth.
In good health,