I am a father, and I am scared. I am a conservationist, and I am scared. I am a humanist, and I am scared. Three situations, three questions, I digress, three unanswered questions. I’m scared for the World into which my almost 4year old son will step and try to survive. Rather than be scared I’d much prefer to try and find a solution, but in reality, is that a futile stance? I’m humiliated by the action of my species in its continued destruction and plundering of the very home we each need to survive. I’m left totally blindsided by the “You Only Live Once” attitude and the complete ignorance of consequence and abandoning of rational thought that stems from it. I’m dismayed by the daily repetition on our TV and smart device screens as to just how evil Man treats his fellow Man in the varying conflict zones of our planet. Actions the results of which tend to have the greatest impact on the most innocent members of our societies. We, as a species, we act in complete faith that somewhere ‘someone’ has the answer to it all and then idly fall back into a pace of life that does nothing but exacerbate the problems. Well the truth is that that ‘someone’ is a collective. We have the solution, we have the answers to all of our social problems, but until we can shift our mindset from the constant desire of the I, Me, Mine attitude and consider ourselves, our neighbours and those in foreign lands as equals, then we will never get anywhere. The stagnation will continue.
But it’s the societal spiral we live in. “You gotta respect me before I respect you” is often the cry. What’s the problem with being the first to show respect? Does one lose face in the standing of one’s social circle by showing empathy towards others? If that is the case simply ask yourself the question; “Are these people who want to see bravado over compassion, aggression over humility, easy wealth over the rewards for hard work, are these people really my friends”? “Do they really appreciate me for being me or are they simply attracted to the persona I project”? These are people who appreciate more the plastic coating of apparent cool we liberally and constantly try to coat ourselves with on ‘social’ media platforms. Platforms that are each in themselves designed to facilitate the expanded focus of the self. Do you, we, I really need that?
There are huge amounts of injustice on this Earth but as long as we continually prescribe to the “Well you started it first” mentality then nothing is going to change, things will only get worse. We have to start learning humility, compassion, we need to realise that it takes a much stronger person to say “sorry”, to admit guilt, than it does to heap blame, ridicule and hatred onto another. To reconcile differences is to take an evolutionary step forward. We can learn from our mistakes as long as we sincerely look to place them in the past.
As a wildlife cameraman and lifelong lover of nature I see the never ending cycle of death, animal and human, that stems from the illegal wildlife trade. In my eyes it leaves the most abhorrent scar on this planet. Quite what it is that compels any person to covet the Ivory of an Elephant and in doing so ignoring the often despicable brutality required to acquire the commodity is beyond me. What it is that drives any person to pay exorbitant sums of money for a tusk to be hacked from an all too often living face of one of the most gracious animals on earth only for it to then be carved into an effigy of it’s former owner and placed into a display cabinet to collect dust? What is it that drives a person to feel they need that residue of one of the most despicable crimes against our natural World in order to suggest they are successful, a winner, a leader? The same can be said for those who covet Shark Fins, Tiger Genitalia, Lion Bones, Giraffe and Zebra Tails, Rhino Horn, Gorilla Hands and so many other body parts. And for what? They serve absolutely no purpose for humans other than inflating an ego. Do they feel their lives to be so lacking, so meaningless in the eyes of others that they need to subject the natural world to unspeakable acts in order to gain perceptive affluence, virility or standing? Surely the wildlife need those body parts way more than they do? And yet how is it that they can’t see that?
We are now a species of 7.4 Billion individuals. Can the majority that want stability, harmony and peace on Earth, can they not force change? Can they not stop the wars or the misinterpretation of ideologies that spawn ill informed individuals and groups with a burning hatred towards a normal, sane and compassionate civilisation in general? Can they not stem the avarice that proliferates in the minds of the young based on false advertising by overpaid sports personalities and other ‘celebrity’?
We have a huge responsibility to ourselves as parent to try and steer our children on the paths of correctness, fairness and acceptance. Many people herald the often quoted suggestion that “Children are the Future”, and whilst that may be true it is us, the parents, who now need to shoulder the massive weight of our responsibility. For it is as a direct result from our words and actions in their upbringing that our children will learn to see colour, religion, nationality, sexual preference or cultural differences as nothing more than acceptable and positive qualities of other equal beings with whom they share their planet. A planet inclusive of the many species with which we share it, and one that is in dire need of a better implemented management plan if we really are to have a chance at harmonious survival.