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Mankind at the Crossroads

The Beale Editor,

It is obvious to me that mankind has reached a crossroads in our evolution. In the beginning we were fully immersed in, and part of the environment . Even then we had an effect on the local environment. When food supplies became scarce we moved on. As long as we had sufficient range, we thrived and thrived we did as we populated all accessible parts of our planet and adapted to live in all habitats. At some point we discovered we could manipulate the environment by cultivating crops and farming other animals. We could live in one place in larger groups and so sometime around 4500 years ago the process of civilization began . Progress has been rapid since then and with it the relentless exploitation and destruction of our natural resources. Today the continued expansion of civilization has requisitioned vast tracts of land to supply us with food and fibre. Massive areas of our forests , both tropical and boreal, continue to be removed to satisfy our needs. We have not confined our activities to the land as we have destroyed many fisheries once considered inexhaustible and we continue to greedily and unsustainably sweep the oceans. Our civilization also consumes vast quantities of minerals and transforms them into consumer products which are casually discarded, expecting an inexhaustible supply. Only 200 years ago, our industrial revolution commenced an acceleration of our burning of fossil fuels which has led to a rapid increase in carbon dioxide gas in the atmosphere which is causing dangerous changes to our climate . Did I mention that the human population is heading for 9 billion and our civilization is causing a mass extinction event ? Surely it is clear that our civilization, as it currently operates, is not sustainable and does not fulfill the needs of many. I think it is vital that we seriously acknowledge the problems facing our planet and demand our leaders make and implement plans to transition to a sustainable future. Our current federal leadership has shown no inclination to take our future seriously. In fact they have a fanatical penchant to cling to waning fossil fuel industries and maintaining an economy that concentrates wealth at the top. I am sure the majority of us want a future. The change will have to be from the bottom up as our leaders have been seduced by greed and have no vision. Our intelligence has got humanity this far and can take us the next step. We can make these changes, stabilize the climate, preserve and restore the environment and devise a better civilization that allows every individual to reach their potential . We still have a democracy , so put up your hands , do what you can personally and publicly. Our leaders will get the message if enough do. Rob Shorrock

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