Life at Risk

The United Nations has just issued a damning report about the decline of Earth’s natural life-support systems. It states human society is in jeopardy from the accelerating decline in the biological systems upon which the planet depends. This includes human life.

Many years ago in 1978, Dr. Robert van den Bosch wrote a Prologue for his book, The Pesticide Conspiracy. I have re-printed it below. This may be the future of mankind.

“On this day in a future time, spring has returned and the sun-washed Mississippi Delta is breathtakingly beautiful under a brilliant blue sky and a mantle of lush greenery. It is a glorious season of warm days and soft nights, when the land, as it has for countless centuries, pluses with renewed life. There are the sounds of spring too: the rustling of leaves in a zephyr, the faint rumble of distant thunder, the whisper of water in a slowly flowing stream, the chitchat of small birds, the chirring of cicadas, the crackling flight of grasshoppers, the low hum of foraging bees.

But these are the voices of Nature, and they form a muted chorus compared to the crescendo of sound once heard in this vibrant season. Something is missing from this spring-time symphony; that something is the sound of man. Man is gone, and nowhere to be heard is the clatter of a tractor, the moaning power surge of a spray plane, the grinding throb of a diesel locomotive, the roar of a truck-trailer rig, the squawk of a transistor radio, the whooping voices across a field.

At some time in the past, man fashioned a catastrophe and vanished in it. Now all that is left of his brilliant doings are the decaying remnants of the things he created. Ghosted cities and towns crumbling to rubble, automobiles rusted to junk on littered streets, farmhouses and outbuildings rotting to dust, croplands tangled with brush and invaded by forest, graveyards with headstones toppled among the weeds.

Yes, man has vanished, but the insects still abound, and on this lovely day theirs is the prevailing voice an an almost silent spring.”

I am thinking Dr. van den Bosch may be a prophet of times to come. We continue to poison the planet with toxins like glyphosate (typically Roundup) and dicamba, and 2,4,D. We continue to rape the oceans causing once abundant fish stocks to crash and use oceans as waste dump sites. We cut trees and demolish rain forests that are key parts of planet climate controls. We pump the air full of poisonous fumes and products of combustion. We pave over fertile lands with concrete, asphalt, and buildings. And finally, we humans continue to reproduce like there is no tomorrow.

The message is clear. Our Earth planet home cannot sustain what we are doing to it. There is time to reverse course, but is there the wisdom and courage to do so?

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