Times of Desperation (If You're Hopeless)

Haven’t posted much of late…apart from being busy with my actual life, there is no much fun in pointing out the Emperor has no clothes, when the aforementioned Emperor keeps catching one cold after another…

Anyway, the dependable Richard Black is putting out some of his true soul in his blog at the BBC (or so it appears). He just got elegiacally desperate about “the wild Mekong“, wondering if

within a couple of human generations, Homo sapiens will be exercising its untrammelled dominance over most of the Greater Mekong, just as it does now over the Danube, Ganges and Colorado.

The species peering into forest camera traps today will then be only glimpsed in the cages of zoos and the pages of natural history books, and journalists and conservation groups will be telling their even more familiar feel-bad tale of “species in peril”.

Mr Black declared he “would love to be wrong”. I do not know if I have any argument about that. But I can make two quick points, related to each other.

First is that I can hear the lament but not much more than that. Europe itself was a forest long time ago, perhaps from Portugal to the Urals. Then people came in and changed their environment: some non-human species have lost out, others have prospered.

Despite what the WWF tries to depict, in this very day we simply do not live in sterile wastelands, and in all likelihood the Greater Mekong region won’t become one either.

Isn’t it a tad too convenient that as soon as a place like Laos gets a chance to prosper (and WITHOUT emitting CO2!!!) then we jump right in, tut-tutting and saying no-this and no-that? It’s like getting Bill Clinton lecturing against cheating on one’s wife.

Second point is that there’s lot of cultural issues behind our reasoning. One hundred years ago nature was red in tooth and claw, and extinctions seen as the way things are supposed to be. Nowadays nature is fragile in the extreme, and conservation seen as the way things are supposed to be. Who knows what will people think two generations in the future?

I have a feeling they won’t look in sympathy at anybody hoping the human race will be wiped out…and in the name of what?

Whatever angst we feel then, there’s always the chance that it will simply pass…just don’t despair. There is no point in doing that.