Today, as I did my usual reading of the Straits Times, (Singapore’s main newspaper); This article classified under the “HOME” section caught my eye. Labeled “ScienceFaces”, it features veteran Marine Photographer, Brian Skerry.
Think of nature photography and National Geographic’s breathtaking photographs come to mind. They portray nature in its beautiful, “untouched” state. Yet in reality, we have taken much of the life out of wild life, the purity out of natural sanctuary, and the effects are becoming more and more obvious.
Take a simple example the smog in Beijing. Due to the El Nino phenomenon, wind and rain were lower than usual, and so emissions produced by coal-fired urban heating systems could not be easily dispersed, causing a devastating winter smog that set red alerts off in several cities.
The air quality levels of harmful PM2.5 particles last December in Beijing and surrounding cities in the Hebei province was above 250 micrograms per cubic metre, according to the US Embassy, (which issues independent readings). This was ten times the World Health Organisation’s recommended maximum exposure of 25.
One “solution”, has been 3 storey high Anti-Smog Domes set up in some schools to filter out the harmful PM2.5 particles and keep polluted air out by maintaining a higher air pressure inside. Others are taking trips and heading south or west to “bi mai” or avoid smog. In fact, ‘bi mai’ was the top search term on travel websites during the winter smog period.
Yet, these really, are no solutions at all, as they fail to address the root cause of the problem, which is pollution, (caused by human industrialization and consumption: “Eating the Earth” and all its resources with abandon). These so-called solutions that the Chinese are taking are tantamount to taking medication merely to treat symptoms or to avoid facing the gravity of one’s illness, while hoping one does not die from the long lasting effects of the chronic disease.
I never have been an Environmentalist. Growing up it seemed too “hippie” or “Yuppie” to be Green / Yoga / “New Age One with the Earth-ies”. But I worry for my actual children, my literal grandchildren. I am not saying “Oh, our grandchildren will bear the conseque…”. Seriously. If this is today. What will tomorrow be?
It is seriously, FUCKING SCARY.
I was just thinking, the other day, that..Honestly, I don’t think we should drive anymore. I mean, at least in Singapore. The MRT is proliferating across the island, so much so that each train station is already, really walking distance to the next, and to anywhere you want to go. Why do you want to pay for parking (especially in town) and ERP and petrol? And if you are the only person in your car, isn’t that quite a waste?
I don’t know, my dad has the opposite thinking. He told me, “I worked my ass off my whole life, I deserve a little comfort now that I’m 65. What other little enjoyments in life do I have but my car?”
When I went to New Zealand, after my O Levels, (that’s like almost, like, half my life ago, now..) I was amazed how my uncle and his wife recycled everything, even their food waste to make compost. and that was half my life ago. What about Singaporeans now. There is so much wastage in the name of consumerism. Plastic bags, Paper bags, Mass-Producing so many useless things and wasting so much resources to Convince people to buy them, only for consumers to use them/or not(!) for a few months and then get bored/unfashionable and be discarded.
How do we break this cycle? How do we get off this slippery slope we have created? Man seems to destroy everything that is put into his hands. Was this God’s intention? Doesn’t He know everything? Did he not know we would destroy not only the earth but ourselves?
I honestly can’t think of any viable solution, World Leaders have tried in so many Summits to come to find solutions.. But I was just reminded of these verses, which I leave you with:
And now do not be distressed or angry with yourselves because you sold me here, for God sent me before you to preserve life. For the famine has been in the land these two years, and there are yet five years in which there will be neither plowing nor harvest. And God sent me before you to preserve for you a remnant on earth, and to keep alive for you many survivors. So it was not you who sent me here, but God. He has made me a father to Pharaoh, and lord of all his house and ruler over all the land of Egypt.
But as for you, you meant evil against me; but God meant it for good, in order to bring it about as it is this day, to save many people alive.
this Jesus, delivered up according to the definite plan and foreknowledge of God, you crucified and killed by the hands of lawless men.
And we know that for those who love God all things work together for good, for those who are called according to his purpose.