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Third world war: Ecological apocalypse

Logging in Cameron Highlands - Photograph: Bernama

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Dominic Damian says an environmental holocaust has been creeping up on us without us realising it.

A third world war was already looming in the midst of World War Two. It has been raging in our midst in an invisible and unnoticed manner.

The absence of widespread physical atrocities of trauma and pain associated with conventional warfare has muted environmental concerns. But the genocide against nature – we can see the massive ‘slaughter’ but most have never felt it – is real.

Humanity responded to the Nazi gas chambers of Dachau or Buchenwald and Cambodia’s killing fields as the cruelty could be emotionally and spiritually felt.

The apocalypse against nature, on the other hand, is happening at all levels – its impact not as vivid.

In spirituality, we are informed that we are stewards of creation.

In science, we are introduced to the philosophy of superior intelligence and understanding. We are presumptuous of our advantages. We think we have it all figured out and know it all.

Yet we possess not the sensitivity nor the intuitive spirit to be in touch with the amazing showcase of life that surrounds us. We cannot understand or appreciate that:

  • a lonely tree may never reveal the loss of a forest
  • a seashore may never be heard sighing in longing for clear blue seas
  • a river may never show signs of deep sorrow over the loss of pristine habitat
  • the valleys may never be seen lamenting the loss of lush green hills

Yes, we landed human beings on the moon 50 years ago. Yet, we don’t know why Brother Wind and Sister Wave sometimes move in harmony and sometimes clash with passion.

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The destructive nature of humanity’s desire to vanquish all that we survey reveals a frightening demonic obsession.

The profound question is, who really loses? Who consumes and destroys who? We may cut all the trees and end up with no oxygen. We may reclaim land from the sea and end up with little or no sustenance.

Who really is the master? Who must seek permission of the master to use the sanctified living items of the master’s possession in a sensitive and considerate manner that does not injure the master?

The wrath from the wounds of the master reveals humanity’s folly and frailty. The master of course is the ecology and nature as a whole.

We little understand the intricate, interwoven web of complexities in nature.

We compromise and consume on the premise that we can order the wind to blow to our whims and fancies or calm a raging storm.

We reshape and restructure a forest with plantations.

We wound the landscape with highways and massive land reclamation projects.

A grain of sand, the essential building block of life, is seen as expendable. When removed from one location and used in another it deprives one and destroys the other. The twin sagas of Perak, where sand is mined, and Penang, where the sand is deposited, has one outcome – considerable damage to both.

There are some among us who would conjure a variety of excuses:

  • We demand that the West regrows its forests – a famous tagline. You destroyed yours for profit; why can’t we do the same with ours?
  • We insist we need the economic development. Large tracts of forest and sea are inevitably reclaimed.
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The principal factor never thoroughly investigated is the avarice and greed of an elite few over the real needs of many.

Look with a discerning eye at environmentalists and their affiliated groups. They are not against development. They are seeking sustainable development and long-term benefits that do not leave anyone out.

The Penang land reclamation project is as disproportionate as it gets. As it is out at sea, it is somewhat concealed: its impact cannot really be felt – for now. Instead, we hear exaggerated claims being promoted about its benefits.

The doomsday scenario, though preventable, is a nightmarish possibility of unimaginable, horrific proportions. When a disaster happens it is termed as “natural” or “Godsent” – and we absolve ourselves from all blame.

This environmental holocaust is not an overnight happening. It has been creeping up on us while we were sleeping. No impact felt so far; so who cares.

The Earth is about 4.5 billion years old; and human existence began perhaps 66 million years ago.

Yet the new kid on the block wants complete control of 4.5 billion years of evolution. Which tiny infant is allowed to take beer from his father’s hand?

A commercial genocide is taking place – a hidden holocaust against Mother Earth. The excuse of wealth creation is now creating an apocalypse – intended or unintended. It denies the innocent heirs who will inherit this earth the Eden that was bequeathed upon us in trust. 

We may in the distant future find ourselves alone, unwanted and abandoned by Mother Earth – searching with a painful question ringing out from our broken souls: “Is this all there is to it?”

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In the whispers of silence, we may hear the response of those in their death throes: “You have abdicated your responsibility to us: now there is to be no more restoration or renewal.”

The views expressed in Aliran's media statements and the NGO statements we have endorsed reflect Aliran's official stand. Views and opinions expressed in other pieces published here do not necessarily reflect Aliran's official position.

AGENDA RAKYAT - Lima perkara utama
  1. Tegakkan maruah serta kualiti kehidupan rakyat
  2. Galakkan pembangunan saksama, lestari serta tangani krisis alam sekitar
  3. Raikan kerencaman dan keterangkuman
  4. Selamatkan demokrasi dan angkatkan keluhuran undang-undang
  5. Lawan rasuah dan kronisme
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