Today I want to reflect on what we as humankind has in positive aspects that enriches our lives, ways that have benefited our species. A few examples is all I have time for today. I will also contrast these with the ill effects from overuse of these modern improvements.
Since the start of the 20th century our understanding on diseases affecting our lives gas increased exponentially. In 1918 or so millions succumbed to a flu pandemic worldwide. Even though we haven’t cured the flu we have vaccines that help keep infection levels much lower than before. We have a greater grasp on how to mitigate the spread of infection. Staying home from work for a day or so will keep viruses out of confined work spaces.
We have antibiotics to combat infection. We also have overused them to the point that new super-germs can be life threatening. Use of antibiotics has to be justified. Back in ‘07–’08 I was hospitalized with infections in both legs many times because the bacteria was resistant to many types of standard medicines. I was on IV drips for up to a month only to return a month or two later with the same recurring infection. I’m thinking now my cancer had a play in my ability to fight the stubborn infection. But due to early detection of my lung cancer in November of ’08, I’m still here today to write about it. Hint: Don’t Smoke!!
More people have housing these days. Some may be shacks in crowded conditions with little in sanitation. This needs to be addressed for future peoples. We still have many homeless in America. Again this needs some long term solutions to guarantee decent housing. Overall housing worldwide has improved vastly over the last few centuries. We need to do better as a whole. Owning multiple houses when others sleep in tents should be a rallying point for social equality. So it still needs work. Better certainly, improvement, absolutely.
There have certainly been improvements in food production. Enough that we now have well over 7 billion people in the world. But this improvement may have negative consequences. It has enabled overpopulation to go unchecked. It will result in soil salination as minerals are leeched out from over planting crops without rotation allowing for new nutrient replenishment. Artificial fertilizer can only be used so much before the soil becomes unproductive.
So we have food for most people these days. Certainly an improvement to starving peoples of the past but at what cost? How about a sustainable system without all the toxic chemicals that assure profits to large agra-businesses but threaten food production as a whole? How about letting human population getting a grip on reproduction and reducing our numbers overall?
I have food today due to availability and enough funds to buy it. Tomorrow? This is a long term question. How much longer will the oceans be able to be fished to support coastal inhabitants the world over? After oxygen and water humans need food. Leaders of the world are not taking this seriously. And other than writing about it I don’t know how to help. Maybe no one does. Just don’t give up. Find leaders that understand the scope of these matters that affect all our lives. Get involved in community efforts. Spread the ecological word. Cut back individually.
This is a biggie. Just one hundred and fifty years ago steam engine trains were the fastest form of moving from place to place. Horses were used for millennia before trains. Then we developed motorized vehicles revolutionizing ways for people to travel anywhere they could build roads. Then airplanes allowed travel over land without roads. Then jet engines allowed faster travel than propellers. We even had some expensive supersonic Concords that flew across the Atlantic ocean in about three hours, since retired. Highly inefficient. Ships powered by sails took weeks by comparison. Efficient sure, slow is a given.
This has all come at a cost though. Carbon pollution from burning fossil fuels to power these modern marvels are now threatening our survival. Private jets are the most inefficient ways to travel these days.
So with all the improvements in mobility we as a whole don’t know how to limit this ability. Addressing this issue will be key in long term outcomes for our species. As of yet nothing much has been done about this. The Europeans are much further ahead than Americans as they have good trains and ways for people to travel somewhat efficiently. Public transport has to happen here in America. There has to be a call for the cities to implement these actions.
I’ve only glossed over a few topics today. What have been stunning achievements all have a dark side as well. These are the items that aren’t covered in political speeches. No one wants to hear they have to cut back on travel. No one wants to curb antibiotic use in meat food production. No one sees what industrial crop production is doing to insect and land degradation. We need to be aware of these things affecting our lives. Have cities curb the use of night time lighting. Just look at night time photos of Earth from the space station. Lights wash the landscape. We glow. Enough. If we don’t solve these issues of modernity we will perish. Caitlin Johnstone had a good essay today, I recommend it. I want humanity to survive these turbulent times which will only become worse from inaction. Thrive! Peace, The Ol’ Hippy