Archive for » March, 2016 «

Is this what it looks like?

I met many new people in the last 10 days. Some of them were residents of remote villages, where temperature in the shade was above 40 degrees Celsius.  Mothers struggled to keep babies comfortable, fathers nowhere seen, children were subdued and the air was still, all quiet under the noonday sun. An interruption to power supply enhanced the experience from time to time. Power-cuts at night were worse, in the extravagant humidity and heat.

The area was feeling oppressed, I felt. Maybe the whole country, I wondered? I read on return to Colombo that the USA’s Nasa had this week reported an increase in global temperature by a ‘stunning’ margin. (

Words such as ‘shocker’ and ‘climate emergency’ appeared in the UK Guardian’s report. And then, that was it. Nobody thence seemed to take notice. ‘The media’ are bored with climate news – unlike with celebrity lives and the stock market. And when the big media kill a story it stays killed, even on the social media.  That the Guardian chose to publish even this article is the surprise.

I figured that this is how it will all end. Governments worldwide will shrug their shoulders and blame their political opponents. The 50 or so wealthiest persons, who finally decide everything – including whether carbon emissions should be controlled or not – will continue to maintain the stranglehold on nearly all politicians and mass media.  The rest of us will be entertained by bickering over how we should change our constitution or by some other diversion.

Less than 10 among the club of 50 will have a direct vested interest in preventing emissions control. This handful of individuals has the power to decide what happens regarding life on earth. They’ve decided so far that the probability of all humans becoming extinct is still too small for them to consider changing course. What this says about human nature is depressing.  We too belong to the same stock. Would we behave like them, willing to risk the eventual destruction of the entire biosphere, were we in their place? Would we ignore the warnings of nearly all scientists not on our payroll, with no more than a dismissive shrug? Would we continue to put in place, in all countries, governments that reliably obey our instructions? Would we work diligently to stop any ameliorative action, by using as a battering ram the global mass media that are all in our control?

I fear that governments nearly everywhere will resort to playing PR games, tamely following guidance from their overlords, as populations begin to stew. People’s attention will still be diverted to various political and other games that entertain. And some clever entrepreneurs will set one group against the other, to profit from the mayhem. There is money to be made from fostering conflict. We already hear and read analyses that forecast social strife, as people battle for a share of dwindling supplies of essentials such as water and food. State resources will protect the powerful, when life becomes untenable, but only for a short while. Is this what the end is going to be like?

Fortunately, my despondency about the nature of man was relieved by noticing thousands of other examples of a different, humane, human nature. All around me were kindnesses and caring that go unnoticed, for we have learnt to notice only the actions of those on the media. Mothers taking collective responsibility for all children in their small village and not only ‘their own’, a little child vigorously fanning with a folded paper an infant too young to complain about the heat, some wonderful visitors from Canada who were instantly at one with the non-English-speaking people around them and a poor shopkeeper discouraging a man from buying a cigarette from her own shop.

I must stop learning about human nature from what is on the mass media.  There is real hope for a good future. We shall together defeat all the schemes of enemies of mankind, who want us to fight even over the last jug of water – so that the victor may live one day longer.  Oh no, they shall not succeed. We shall all die together in harmony.



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