State of the world

Maybe my mood is low.

I was suddenly reminded of the emaciated, female polar bear that wandered down into Norilisk this June. I wanted to know how she was doing. But there was no new news about her. Instead I saw some pictures of how polar bears are drifting towards human settlements and scavenging in the rubbish, piled into the snow. There is a picture of a bear, thin as a rag doll, collapsed in the snow that stays with me…

Spring 2019, an emaciated bear pictured eating rubbish at Olyutorsky district (far north of Kamchatka Peninsula)

I don’t know what is happening to the world around me. the disillusionment is so great that it chokes me and I near a panic attack. I see people killing each other in the name of God, which is nothing new, I see politicians pit one person against another to garner power, and that is nothing new either. So, I am not surprised that polar bears are wandering down into our midst, stricken with hunger and anxiety. I see cruelty towards humans, and wonder what have we as a thinking species learnt from history.

Fascism overtook the world just eighty odd years back. We’ve heard and read of mass genocides happening in the name of some belief in the purity of blood. Of course, we also know the politics behind it all. High school students are taught this. But what have we taken away from it all? The human species forget about catastrophe. It is not imperative to dwell over the horror, but, for crying out loud, we need to be aware of not making the same mistakes again.

I have no children of my own. Thankfully. Imagine the world I shall be leaving them in! Animals I knew and love could be extinct within the next decade. Water levels are rising, but not the water we drink. There could be no water left in the coming few years and here we are thinking about making bullet trains and exacerbating the tension by cutting down more trees than ever. The plastic in the ocean has reached the bottom of the Mariana Trench and no one who isn’t an environmentalist seems to care!

This world is all we have. We have made no space shuttles to take us to an alternate planet. Which on hindsight I think is another blessing because it is best to keep the human species away from an untouched planet.

I wonder what these people who run after power seem to think. Does money and power help you in the wake of a tsunami? Will your gold bridge a wall against a tidal wave? Will a large fan-following help if there is no clean water left to drink? When a fire is at your door, do you stop to collect your awards or do you call out to the ones you love?

Statistics of what we are doing to the world are bleak. Bleaker still is the apathy towards this malaise. A polar bear wandering hungrily on a city’s roads may not make many people interested in the state of our times. But it should! There are things that are spiralling beyond our control and we do not seem to think that this will affect us at a personal level in any way. Call it hubris or ego or stupidity that makes men think that they are above death and horror. A polar bear dying in a garbage heap is linked to each and every one of us. You may not see it now, but you will eventually. Making people hate each other doesn’t do anyone any good – people who hate are sorry excuses for human beings. But the point is that even they must be helped.

A bear walking into a garbage heap is aiming for its own survival. Its needs are basic. It has no higher reasoning. It fights no wars based on right or wrong. It lives by a simple code. The problem with human beings is that we believe we know what is right and what is wrong. We are not satisfied with what we have, we want more. But we also have the capacity to think ahead and plan, so that we don’t have to go scavenging for food when we get hungry. So, let’s just think about this.

We have higher faculties of imagination and intelligence and empathy. We need to use these and come together. It is such high time!

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