Where there is no hope….

Our kids believe everything they read on the internet. If something is written down, then it must be true.

I guess we all are a bit like that. We can be swayed by the latest research, the article in today’s newspaper, the current bestseller…especially if it feeds into the niggling doubts at the back of our mind that we choose to ignore most of the time.

So when James Lovelock, the author of Gaia, the book that us young idealists all embraced in the eighties, tells us in this month’s Rolling Stone magazine that the human race is doomed and that there is absolutely nothing we can do about it, then we can’t but wonder if he is speaking the truth.

Reveng of GaiaIn his latest book, The Revenge of Gaia, Lovelock claims that the Earth is heading towards the “tipping point” when it comes to global warming. In the article, he takes it one step further. He is convinced that by 2100 the world’s population will be as few as 500m, down from 6.6 billion today - due to mass migrations and pandemics caused by global warming. Droughts and extreme weather will be the norm and populations will have to live off man-made comestibles such as Quorn because there will be no land to grow food.

So far, nothing new. We have heard the climate change argument in the media every day in recent years. Many of us believe we are doing our bit. We think twice before booking a foreign holiday. We buy all the energy saving gadgets available. We take the bus to work. We share a bath. We think we are making a difference.

But according to Lovelock, we are not even scratching the surface. It’s just too late and we might as well stop trying now. He claims that ethical shopping is a scam and “Green is the colour of mould and corruption,” Strong words ( and in my experience, mould is grey spots on damp white Tshirts or fluffy white patches on forgotten cheese at the back of the fridge.)

What if he’s wrong? This could be precisely the WORST moment to stop trying. As Rachel Johnson says in her article about this on TimesOnline. says, “If Lovelock is right, well then it is all over, hard cheese, but if he’s wrong then he is telling people that nothing can be done, just at the point when there’s still one last chance to prevent the doomsday scenario that he lays before us with something bordering on relish.”

And ultimately, whether he is right or wrong, if hope is removed from human life, then what are we left with? No aspirations, no motivation, no purpose…no reason for living. There is within each one of us a belief in something better. The desire to make the world a better place is part of being human. We were made to care for the world and all that is in it. Admittedly, we have not made a particularly good job of it, to say the least. But whilst we have hope, then the essence of humanity remains intact.

We can be responsible about what we flush down our drains. We can improve the quality of the air we breathe. We can reuse, recycle and reduce the quantity of rubbish reaching the landfill sites. We can improve the quality of life for farmers around the world by buying organic. We can be less wasteful with the energy that we use. We can keep the hope alive.

Call me naïve, but in my world, green is the colour of the grass and the leaves, nature at its healthiest, new life. That’s the world view I want my kids to grow up with.

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