Sunday, 30 October 2016

In the Year 2020.......

I'm sure older readers will recall the famous 1969 Zager and Evans song 'in the year 2525' (younger readers google it). With its grim warnings for the future of the human race it was a massive hit for the nebraskan duo on both sides of the Atlantic. But it's doubtful when Rick Evans penned such doom laden lyrics as "man has taken everything this old earth can give and he ain't put nothing back" he could have imagined that the kind of troubling future he envisaged in the song wouldnt be as far off as he imagined. In fact the grave consequences of humankind's exploitation of the planet and the living things we share the earth with would be realised within a few of decades of the song's release.

Last week the guardian published a chilling report from the Living Planet Index that warned the world is set to lose two thirds of its wild animals by 2020. In the most comprehensive study of its kind ever undertaken researchers from the WWF and the Zoological Society of London revealed that the world's animal population fell by 58 percent between 1970 and 2012.

And very depressing to report that among those species we might see disappear in a short time is the African elephant. There were 500,000 Elephants in Africa in 1970 but a failure by many governments to properly enforce the world ivory ban adopted in 1989 has seen  that figure fall to under 200,000. This magnificent and intelligent species ongoing battle for survival can be seen on the miniseries the BBC is currently screening 'Saving Africa's Elephants'

It is as a result of humankind's impact on the planet in recent decades that geologists have now credited our species with the advent of a new era in earth's history - the Anthropocene era. But as i wrote a little while ago this is not a milestone we should be proud of

Zager and Evans signed off their track with a reference to the year 9595, but sad to say that on current trends it's doubtful the human race will still be around by then. But if we are still around its highly unlikely that - a few insect and marine based species aside - any of the living creatures we currently share the planet will still be around with us.

But it doesnt have to be this way as contrary to the old Thatcherite nostrum there is an alternative - and that alternative is 'eco socialism'! A philosophy which marries the pursuit of economic and social justice with the protection of the world's environment and the living things we share this planet with. As it's abundantly clear that the dominant economic philosophy of the last 3 decades - free market capitalism - is incompatible with the well being of the planet and life on it.

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