Hello and welcome to 2021
This morning, on the last day of our holiday, I had a slight shift of perspective. I was sitting up in bed with a cup of tea gazing through the trees, across the lawn, and over Lake Rotorua. We stayed at a lovely property once owned by a very well known NZ doctor / thug / inter-planetary fighter and host to many even more well known beautiful party-goers who would arrive at the Hefner-style pool and cabana by helicopter. That didn't faze me though - I'm used to hobnobbing with the rich and famous; I can see the colour of the pilot's shirts as the choppers pass my office window on their way in and out of the large business just across the road from our house. I can almost see the clouds of carbon dioxide swirling around the incredibly loud motors as they pass. On those days I can't help wondering whether there is any point riding my bike in to work. I could cycle to work every day for a decade and the benefit of that to the planet might be wiped out by a quick trip to the bach. Oh well, I guess we all work to our own conscience, and no - of course I'm not jealous, how could you think such a thing?
As I drove home from Rotorua in a car I've owned for thirteen years, I glanced nervously every thirty seconds at the engine light which has started to flicker. The nice people at the workshop tell me it is probably the transmission causing the light to come on and when that has to be fixed it is going to cost multiples of what the car is worth - but that's another story.
Anyway back to my shift of perspective. Staring mindlessly across the lake I saw a flock of seagulls (they probably partied at the cabana back in the day) angling through the view and I wondered why there weren't more of them. Idly, my mind went through a series of thoughts: 'there must be as many of them as the local ecosystem will support', 'do they have predators?', 'are they short of food?', 'what about the effect of humans?'. See what happened there? I fell into the popular misconception that we humans exist somehow outside the ecosystem. Of course we don't; the only reason humans are, for the time being, at the top of the food chain is that some bright spark a hundred thousand or so years ago worked out how to make an arrow head, or perhaps it was all triggered by the person - seems like an incongruously modern term for an advanced primate - who lit the first (intentional) fire?
Of course the point is that the human race is part of, not in charge of, a self-correcting ecosystem and we can either work with it or against it.
And so I resolve to maintain a more realistic perspective, the seagulls exit scene-left and there goes a helicopter.