Not just now, but forever

A Kenyan proverb translates to: “The earth was not given to you by your parents but lent to you by your children”.

Environmental issues such as climate change, water quality and human health due to pollution are huge issues that are we are confronted with today or will be in the future. The main problem with dealing with these issues is the inability of humans to think into the future longer than the time they themselves will be on earth. We are not able to see the longer-term benefits of the changes.

It’s a deficiency of the human psyche to think, “Oh, I won’t worry about that, because I won’t be around when the sea levels rise or our soils are too degraded to feed ourselves.”

This perpetual cycle of selfishness feeds into our everyday lives since our elected leaders are not there to serve us, clearly being there for their own selfish needs. Little gets done because our politicians are too busy fucking around with popularity polls and big businesses to have time to actually make some proper decisions about the future of our country.

For example if there was any type of forward thinking going on in the Queensland government, there would be no coal seam gas wells, which are multiplying like rabbits on heat because someone had the brilliant idea of making it compulsory that electricity companies in the state produce 15% of their electricity from natural gas. Why such a policy? To ensure the “future” of Australia’s energy needs comes from a less pollution-producing source than brown coal.

Drilling a well into an aquifer and pumping the ground water out in a process known as fracking produces coal seam gas. This process is done in order to displace the gas enough so it will escape back up through the well to be used as an energy resource. However, it’s not easy to control where the gas will escape and while it does go back up into the initial well created, it can also sometime leak elsewhere depending on the geological structure of the area.

It’s all well and good to be pumping some gas for electricity to ensure our “future” energy needs. But I’m not sure pumping groundwater out of aquifers, which are also used for agriculture, is the best way to secure our future food-needs. Or whether the methane escaping from the coal seams escaping into the Condamine river is going to be good for the “future” of Australia.  Parts of the river can be lit alight because so much ignitable gas is escaping.

It may seem a bit obvious, but it might have been a better idea to make companies producing electricity to have 15% of their electricity coming from solar energy? You know, seeing as it’s quite sunny in Australia? Maybe we should be heeding more to the Kenyan proverb to ensure the future sustainability of our species rather than using as many resources as possible as quickly as possible.

But what would I know, I’m only human and I should only really be caring about what might happen in the time that I’m here on earth not anything that happens afterwards, because it’s essentially not my problem.