And, we are in a hole. We dug it ourselves.
This hole we have dug is both a metaphorical one and a
The metaphorical hole includes (inter alia):
pandemics, mass extinction, deforestation, war, terrorism, fisheries depletion,
plastic garbage, e-waste, noise and light pollution, food shortages, soil loss,
and – yes – the issue du jour (possibly du siècle): climate change.
It is a deep hole. Furthermore, as each of these
components intensify, the hole gets bigger, deeper, and more difficult to get
Whatsmore, this metaphorical hole has a physical
counterpart. We have been digging holes for centuries. Evidence of Roman copper
mines are still visible in Europe. We have been digging for copper, gold,
silver, tin, and other elements for many years.
With the coming of the Industrial Revolution we began
to also dig for coal, oil, and iron ore in huge measure. The machines we created
from such exploitation enabled us to dig even larger holes in our search (some
would say – greed) for the energy fuels of the economies of the world.
For a long time we could see the environmental damage
these holes were doing. We could see the pollution of nearby water systems. We
could see the smoke-filled skies. We could smell, and taste, the stench that
came from the digging of these holes.
Then, in the second half of the 20th
century we also began to notice the unseen damage these holes (and what we
extracted from them) did. We began to notice the build-up of carbon in the
atmosphere, and the warming of the oceans and the air.
But, still we dug. Still we damaged local ecosystems.
Still we polluted waterways. Still we disrupted local, often indigenous,
We continued to dig physical holes. We continued to
dig our metaphorical hole.
We started to think that we needed to do something
about one aspect of that metaphorical hole. We began to think we should do
something about the carbon build-up.
In that single-minded focus we began to think we
should stop digging for coal, oil, and gas.
We thought we should do something different.
We thought we should dig for lithium, nickel, cobalt,
titanium, silicon, boron, and the other elements required for “alternative”
But, we are still digging.
We are still polluting water systems. We are still
disrupting ecosystems. We are still destroying bird and animal habitats. We are
still dislocating indigenous communities.
Let’s go back to first principles: Stop Digging.