…and not in that funny George Constanza way, either (“The sea was angry that day, my friends. Like an old man trying to send soup back at a deli.“).
I’m not sure yet how I could say this on a very public forum like Facebook, but I have some thoughts about the Japanese earthquake and tsunami that are probably very un-PC. I’ll share them here, though. While I am quite upset about the loss of innocent life and it’s a horrifying situation for ANY human being to go through, and I am praying for them… at the same time, I’m wondering if it could be a form of natural payback.
The earthquake hit in the ocean, 80 miles from the coast. The waves are what are causing the majority of the damage. What if this is the ocean showing how very angry it is for what the Japanese do to exploit it every year? Yeah, I know it’s about 100% not-likely that there are gods and spirits and things like that, but I’m in the frame of mind right now as I work on my new story to think about the what-ifs.
It’s not like common sense or pressure from world leaders and bad national PR have been enough to stop this culture from going out and slaughtering whales, or herding dolphins into coves to brutally kill them, or overfishing until whole populations of fish are wiped out. They’ve just kept going, seemingly oblivious to scientific facts and conservation worries. They seem to be a culture that’s not at all concerned about future generations. They’re caught up in taking it all, now, as much as they want, because that is tradition. Well, it’s not sustainable… and sooner or later, they’re going to have to stop because there will be nothing left to take. It’s just so stupid. It goes beyond thinking about the horror of thousands of sentient mammals being killed for no real reason. It’s more practical than that, in reality. Like I said, it can’t last forever.
So, I’m wondering about the spirits of the ocean, or God, striking out at this country with the full force of the ocean, trying to send a message. I like to think it could be the case.
And I also worry, because our country’s not much better when it comes to taking care of natural resources. We’re really all in for a smack-down from nature, sooner or later. It’s going to happen. We are going to lose (or use up) something important and not realize the impact until it’s too late. We’ve been bending nature to our will since the beginning of our time, really. When does nature snap back? I just wonder if enough people really think about this kind of thing, at times like this.
I don’t like to believe in a God that is all into smiting and punishing the evil doers, but seriously: what if it’s true? We have no way of really knowing, I guess. But, come on… don’t people have an internal sense of right/wrong when it comes to our planet? Even if you can easily push the thoughts aside as you run through your day as a nonstop consumer, isn’t the little germ of a thought always there? “What if we run out of chocolate, for real?” Did you know that could happen over time—maybe within our lifetime? Farming cocoa isn’t as profitable for the poor farmers in the small area of the world where cocoa can grow… it’s harvested by hand, and the farmers could make a lot more money turning over other crops like corn. It doesn’t take an economist to figure out where this could go. And that’s just chocolate. Something we can live without, Cathy cartoons withstanding.
There are so many small things we’re running out of, all the time that no one thinks about. Or knows about. Like helium. You might think, “Oh, so we won’t be able to have balloons that float anymore, big deal,” but it’s more important than I ever knew, until I started reading about it. Helium that we use for balloons is a refined version of the more pure form, Helium-3, which is the gas that’s running out. It comes from a radioactive hydrogen isotope that we stopped manufacturing in the late 1980s, when they slowed the production of nuclear weapons. Well, the thing about helium-3 is that it’s used for a lot of high-tech industries, in everything from the detection of illegal plutonium stashes for national security purposes to operating that MRI machine at the doctor’s office.
I guess the helium example seems a little different, because while helium is an element, it is a manufactured element, and therefore not something we’re actively pulling from the earth or atmosphere all the time. But my point is the same, in that we just don’t think about so many of the modern conveniences and the raw materials that go into manufacturing them, because we aren’t conditioned to think that way. We’re conditioned to be like sheep, mindlessly consuming and not bothering ourselves with unpleasant thoughts like where does our trash actually go and where did this meat really come from and what would we do if water became scarce? So I believe it’s up to each one of us to educate ourselves, seek out facts and decide what we want to do about it.
It feels really hopeless sometimes, I know. I think about being just one person, in a sea of billions of people. What difference does my contribution make? But it does make a difference. It might seem small and insignificant, but things ripple out. It can’t hurt to make an effort to live as an intelligent, educated being. It can only hurt if we don’t even try to do that.
OK, I’m off the soapbox. I’m just scared for the future.