Living lightly on the earth
If I was a pessimist, I think I might go mad
to see how we are squandering the riches that we had
in healthy soil and water, rich wildlife and clear seas;
to note the grievous suffering of the poor and refugees;
and think that all our effort cannot solve gross ills like these.
If I was an optimist, I’d point to human skills
and say, “We’ll find solutions to all these global ilIs :
with artificial intelligence to help us, we will fix it,
and use our wider powers in the aftermath of Brexit !”
If I was a realist, I’d see the writing on the wall
that we are in a process that may well consume us all
with fire and floods and drought and war that may transform our planet
to be the bare unpeopled place it was when we began it.
But I am an idealist. I want to stop the rot;
to press the folk who have the wealth to help those who have not;
to live more lightly on the land and halt the climate change;
to enable all things living to thrive within their range.
What’s more, I am a granddad : I’m fearful that the life
of all the world’s grandchildren may be paralysed by strife
as rising seas and desert growth drive people off the land
and growing populations fight to get what they demand.
This country, more than others, caused this existential threat :
we have a moral duty to redeem historic debt
by cutting our consumption and ensuring life is run
on lines of social justice, with respect for everyone.
This ideal can be real : I believe it can be done.