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Editorial December 24th 2021

Welcome to this week’s editorial, You can’t help but notice the enormity of our night sky. On a clear night with the Milky Way in full display the Universe above is simply breathtaking. Over the years of looking skyward you become familiar with the planets and the constellations. They become the friends that you look for when you venture out at night and the friends that you often miss when you find yourself on the opposite side of the planet. I remember one night, on a far off Keralan beach, being delighted to see the top of the Southern Cross and its two Pointers peeking over the horizon. This single constellation that sits high in the Southern hemisphere sky draws an emotional tie to those who know it. While it points to the South Celestial Pole it also resonates in the hearts and minds of Australians and New Zealanders as they proudly display it on their flags. I marvel at the nightsky. I am in awe of the fact that we live on a small blue planet speeding at around 1000 miles per hour through space. I am amazed at the incredible diversity of life on this Earth and the infinitesimally insignificant relevance that we have in the scheme of all things Universal. The probability of Earth existing as it does is nearly incalculable but we do exist. Not only do we exist but we do so with a strange belief that the Earth was created purely for us to use as we wish. The water, the land, the plants, animals and fish. All there for us to enjoy. And enjoy it we have. So much so that we have managed to turn it into a cesspit with open gaping wounds, of foul waters and lands, of extinctions and mutations and best of all ongoing plunder that knows no bounds in the face realised calamity. I sat one night high in the Himalayas, at the feet of its giants with the stars so close you felt you could pluck them from the sky. At dawn, as the sun revealed the vast plains of India that lay 4000 metres below all you could see was the endless layer of thick brown haze that shrouds the continent with a toxic atmosphere that burns your lungs as you descend into it. But descend you do from your silent mountain retreat into a world filled with humanity. And what an incredible diversity we have. So many cultures, so many customs, such an amazing assemblage of languages and so many gods. On this little blue planet there is a god for everyone who wants one. For those who look up at the Universe sometimes the notion of a God creating it all is often the easiest explanation without lending yourself to an inevitable headache. As you stand at the feet of Kanchenjunga and look out over South East Asia, China and India you can’t see any borders. Nor can you see them from 33,000 feet as you fly over. It isn’t until you are on the ground that you see the divisions we have created for ourselves. Christmas is one of those opportunities for humanity to recount a God story, handed down generation after generation. For those who don’t follow that particular God then Alternate Christmas is the time of year to indulge in another ’god’ with decorations, carols, shared meals and gift giving that apparently brings joy to everyone. The Santa God. If you were out there in space and looking down you would see most of the planet buzzing around spending an estimated ten trillion dollars during the season of HoHo. Of interest a survey for Netherlands-based bank ING found 15% of Europeans were unhappy with what gifts they received last year, while 10% couldn’t even remember their gifts. The nice thing about Christmas is that generally our wars over whose God is better, whose genes are better, who wants more land (or more sea) stop for a week or so while we extend season greetings and take holidays before getting back to the serious business of being the Big Blue garbage tip we have become. Amazingly, in just a few centuries, humans have transformed our once incredible masterpiece of a planet into something quite sad. With our population at 7.9 billion it might be time to have a rethink. I for one am looking forward to 2022. Maybe, just maybe, it might bring about a collective thought that, irrespective of our many Gods, our many borders, our many tribes and languages, our politicians, our governments, and our collective unstoppable desire to consume, we need to call a halt to the way we treat this Big Blue and ALL the life forms that, with us, call it HOME. Until next lei