Our world is so fragile and the people living on it are at times so volatile. It is NOT a robust machine but a delicate system of billions of layers of interactions. Putting my son to bed yesterday, we read in one of his favorite books (with lots of facts) about the world in which we live. I know there will be many questions about life, love, fear, drugs, sex, loss, pain that come with learning how to navigate this world, but today, at eight, he had many questions for his dad about the fate of the planet. Almost in panic he said, “but if people keep cutting down the rain forest, there will only be a bunch of palm oil for people to buy?!” We talked a bit about why that is, and what monoculture environments do to an ecosystem. (Here is a scientific report on the effects of biodiversity vs. monoculture.)
But what about the polar bears? They are drowning and there won’t be any more!
I answered him plainly. Unfortunately, the polar bear may disappear within his lifetime. And the choral reefs, the rain forests, and the oceans may die in their present form. We talked of hope and of making an extra effort to not be so wasteful, eat as much meat, or use as much plastic. Before bed, I took out my phone and showed him the mass extinctions that have taken place throughout history, and pointed out that at each stage in the graph, life bounced back and diversified. Perhaps that is what will happen. He answered that he believed it would, and pulling the covers over himself said, “I can’t wait for tomorrow.”
Today was tomorrow.
The image was taken in the Peak District, near Blue John Cavern, England. There is something about the purity of this image, the lighting, that captures our brief talk. It was processed with Snapseed and Photo Editor. It captures the hope of it in any case. You can see the area here: