Monday, 5 May 2008


“Look deep into nature, and then you will understand everything better.” - Albert Einstein

The powerful forces of nature have yet again wreaked havoc, and the death toll in Myanmar is rising and rising with each news report I hear. An international relief effort has begun and it is perhaps just as well that the junta has appealed to the international community for help, because clearly the infrastructure is unable to cope with the magnitude of the devastation. The disaster is the worst cyclone to hit Asia since 1991, when 143,000 people died in Bangladesh. Presently, the death toll stands at 15,000 with 30,000 people reported missing. No doubt the death toll will rise in the next few days.

It is as though humanity is being punished for its hubris. We strut about and parade our discoveries, our science and technology, the control we exert over life and death and yet we cannot do anything about the weather… Our activities on this planet are proving to be increasingly deleterious and our pullulating masses are causing climate change, extinctions of plants and animals, destruction of the biosphere in a degree unprecedented until the present time.

We have started to react, sluggishly and half-heartedly and in the meantime, disasters such as the Myanmar destruction, recent tornadoes in the USA, droughts and floods around the globe are driving home the point that we may be reacting too little and too late. How can we avert disaster at this stage? We are bombarded with the bad news on a global level and yet our sphere of influence is only local. The message must get through to everyone and it is only by changing behaviour on the local level that we can expect to see benefits globally. Perhaps not in our lifetime but in our children’s or grandchildren’s generations.

Our government here in Victoria has a list of ten things that everyone can do to help the environment and help in long-term sustainability. This is a good start and may help each and every one of us to “think globally and act locally”:

1. Take a four-minute power shower
2. Take reusable bags with you when you go shopping
3. Turn off lights and appliances at the switch when not in use
4. Sign up to Green Power with your electricity supplier
5. Buy the most energy and water efficient appliances you can afford
6. Put your food or plant scraps in the compost or worm farm
7. Look for products without unnecessary packaging
8. Walk, cycle or use public transport when you can – and leave the car at home
9. Grow plants native to your area in your garden
10. Go green when you clean.

1 comment:

  1. The disaster there is beyond horrifying, and seems to be getting worse by the minute. It's painful to read about, and I can't even imagine how those poor people must feel. They are running out of food, and in the midst of such enormous grief, to encounter such a fear, is mind boggling. I hope the government lets in significant relief soon.

    I think you raise some important points on the environment, and maybe it's time we start to listen to the earth. Great reminders, and thanks for this.