This planet of ours, all its many places, have felt man’s feet (man here encompassing all versions of humanity for convenience). Nowhere hasn’t been colonised. The first Homo sapiens put their mark, less deep than ours no doubt but the land came first and then we arrived, cutting, digging, cultivating and often despoiling.
The diaspora from our original ancestors, forged in the crucible of East Africa, trod indifferently from the start. They did not have the accumulation of knowledge to do what we do today but ancient man moved their own mountains.
And like the scamps in Oliver Twist, Nature ducked and dived and sought a way to survive in the world of indifferent men. She came again and again, clawing back lost ground only to be pushed away again. And again.
We, today’s guardians, stand on the shoulders of giants and yet we scour and scratch at Earth’s crust like a new scab. And we wonder at the wounds we cause, the suppurating sickness we see and ignore. As with our hospitals, overdosed on antibiotics and once more losing out to cunning and resilient microbes, we stick plasters on our planet. And ignore the deeper malaise.
We ban smoking in public places yet we condemn the earth to the most egregious passive smoking, chimneys belching cancer planet wide.We sneer at the litterbugs, condemning such ignorance yet we globally litter our oceans in ways that mock our noble intentions.
This earth is one place, not a set of disconnected pieces. It is linked. It is Gaia. If we conitine to toss trash over our neighbour’s fence, smoke in hervface and not treat her, everyone, everywhere with a consistent respect them my children, and my children’s children will never be able to experience the joys of discovery that I have enjoyed and revealed in this series.
The planet is a destination for us all. We roamed far and wide, trod heavily and in ignorance. But we are ignorant no longer. Look up people. The horizon isn’t, as the ancients had it, the end of the world. It is but the gateway to the next horizon, all of them but stepping stones back to the start. Unless we realise that soon the ancients will be proved prescient: it will be the end of the world. Be warned, continue on our current path and Here Be Dragons.