Children of Man in the 21st Century
The children of man have lost their sense of wonderment in this incredible world. They use to walk in the forest as part of the forest and were filled with a humble spirit, but today they have lost contact with the seasons of the planet. In the city, humans are god and they rule with an egocentric eye, but in nature they see reality and are taught through humility that they are merely part of creation.
In the 21st century it takes the children of man a few hours to traverse the planet instead of the years it took his predecessor. When the journey was long and arduous, they noted the intricate complexities of the life that share the Earth with them. They were totally immersed in the natural world, not just a casual visitor as they travelled, they smelled the air and felt the soil beneath their feet. The cold morning air nipped at their noses and the warm noon sun warmed their very souls. Now they travel in temperature controlled vehicles and when they do have to walk outside, they are plugged into their iPhones or iPods and rarely notice the songs of the creatures around them as they plod along. Today, only a rare farmer touches the soil that grows our food.
The children of man have ambitions about reaching the stars, but most of them do not even take the time to lift their heads heavenward to notice the stars if they can even see them. They spend their entire existence locked in bubbles of light emanating from places of businesses, domiciles or even from their hand held devices that never leave their sides. Now, even if they do look up they would see a lit haze above their heads that hardly inspires a feeling of wonder and awe. They are like the fabled frog sitting in the pot of gradually warming water. Soon it will be too late. They have already lost so much of their natural world that it can hardly be called natural anymore and they continue to blunder along thinking all is well.
Their culture is more worried about a zombie apocalypse than they are about the actual natural apocalypse that is unfolding before their very eyes. Extinctions will soon begin to happen like sand slipping through their fingers at the seashore, but they are more concerned with the Kardashians or who will win this year’s X Factor than they are about losing other inhabitants of the planet. After all, once they are gone, they are gone, but there is always another season of the Kardashians or other mindless dribble.
Our cities have become the fires early children of man huddled around for protection from the evils of the night. The children of man thump their chests and talk of their power and strength when they are surrounded by their safety bubbles. They have strove to create light everywhere because they fear the unknown and what the darkness conceals. I have often wondered what they are so afraid of that they feel compelled to banish the darkness from every crevice and cranny on the globe.
Even the universe is being filled with their light, junk and sounds as they jettison their wastes where ever they can without any consideration of the consequences. Ever since Eden, they have been trying to stomp out the natural world. The image of Great City on the Hill was supposed to be a beacon of hope, but instead it was a place where all things wild were squashed and subdued under their relentless hand. But it was manicured places like this where the seeds of the holocaust and hate toward their fellow man festered and grew. Places where fear ruled and arrogance reigned supreme.
The children of man destroys what he does not understand or cannot see as useful to himself. He fills the oceans with his refuse because he deemed the oceans of the world as his garbage can. If there is no use for something or it cannot be used as a commodity then it is useless in the eyes of the children of man. He will devastate the entire planet for his own selfish desires and then attempt to put the blame on its devastation on others. He will blindly deny evidence that is in front for him if it upsets the simplified world that he has created in him mind. The child of man is ruled by his basic desire to own and subdue. He has become the Taliban to the natural world. He is a spoiled child that feels the Earth revolves around him and his every whim.
The children of man speak arrogantly about what they do not understand. They are quick to speak and offer their opinions even though they do not comprehend the topic. Modern society has bred the children of man in record numbers. Their motto is to “go and multiple and subdue the Earth”, but first they need to understand the Earth. With understanding comes reverence and responsibility and the children of man does not like responsibility and only reveres himself.
As his knowledge of mechanized things has grown, he has wreaked havoc on this fragile planet for the “sake of progress”. His technology has become too large for his mind and more importantly his soul. A lot of damage can be done by a fool wielding a shovel, now put an enormous Earthmover in his hands and the problems multiply thousands of time more rapidly.
The curse of the children of man in the 21st century is not to hear a whip-poor-will calling from the depths of a forest as darkness envelopes the land. He may never have the chance to sit on the cool earth in April to watch the male woodcock displaying on his peenting ground with the fireflies sparkling all around him. They may never watch as a northern harrier traverses back and forth above a feral meadow filled with wild flowers in search of its favorite prey, the meadow vole. As these species disappear one by one from the planet, the children of man rejoice in their wealth and riches, but in fact they have become much more impoverished. A thief has crept into their home while they were sleeping and stole their valuable possessions and they are not yet aware of the calamity that has befallen them.
The names of creatures that no longer walk on this planet because they have been trampled under the feet of the children of man resound from the abyss. Like some macabre roll call from eternity the names of those creatures he vanquished from existence echo through time…the dodo…the passenger pigeon…the west African rhinoceros…the Pyrenean ibex…the quagga…the Caribbean monk seal…the sea mink…the Tasmanian tiger…the Tecopa pupfish…the Javan tiger…the great auk…Bubal hartebeest…and the list continues to grow. Meanwhile, the children of man continue with their tireless push into the future oblivious to the chaos that they have inflicted on other species. With every extinction he states an ever growing litany of his accomplishments. Each item on this list hastens the demise of yet more fellows from his planet.
The Earth has been crying out for a contemplative man since man took his first steps out of the trees and began to subdue the planet. Earth is waiting for man to learn that the trick is not to walk into a forest, but to become part of the forest. The Earth has been waiting like a forest locked in the throes of winter for the spring to arrive. Earth needs those that walk through the forest watching and listening, not trying to drown out the sounds of the forest with their own noise.
Aldo Leopold spoke eloquently of nature in the early 1900s, but he knew it would always come back to the people that inhabit the Earth and the choices that they made. It is time to listen and watch the signs the Earth is showing us, just like learning to read the white book in winter. The snow allows us to learn so much about our world if we take the time to read the stories it holds for our eyes to read. Instead of clattering through the dry leaves on the forest floor it is time to move quietly around the leaves listening for the voice of nature. There are a lot of stories out there that can be read in nature if we only open our minds. We need less Children of man and more Children of the Earth.