Walking around Utrecht tonight I found myself wondering yet again at the fragility of civilisation – how in this part of the world 70 years ago people’s lives were turned upside down by Nazi invasion and not everyone reacted well to that. I also thought about how stretched our food supply chains are these days and how a few days of power cuts affecting the logistics computers and we will be fighting each other for the remaining food supplies. I even began thinking about how little an increase in sea level it would take to literally wash away all of the refined, cute, brick built civilisation I was walking through.
I am usually a half full sort of a guy, preferring to see the best in people and situations and not wanting to be drawn into catastrophic predictions for our planet. But things could go horribly wrong. We really could find ourselves having blown it and with millions suffering and dying as a result of our decisions. We arrogantly talk about saving the planet but the planet won’t care. It will be glad to see the back of us and will carry on fine once we have gone.
But then… could the worst that could happen be the best that could happen? Could being tested to a severe degree bring out the best in us? Could a severe enough jolt shake us out of our complacency? Could a big enough, imminent enough threat force us to pull together, work together, share our resources enough to really change for the better? Instead of sharing pictures of cats could we use the internet, the most significant advance in our collective ability to deal with challenges since the printing press, to work things out?
We might just get to find out.