The concept of life has always fascinated me. Why are we here? Where do our inner beings go when the outer shell is worn out? What motivates us to get up every day and keep going, even in the most extreme circumstances? Written by Liz Pfeuti.
What has also struck me is the rather narrow view we humans take on what life is.
When we refer to life as a concept, we are usually referring to what we, as people, interpret it to mean. Life, on two legs, wandering about, stopping in for a coffee while we mooch around the shops on a Saturday.
But to fully grasp what life is, we need to look more broadly. Life is the tufts of grass peeping through a crack in the paving stones. It’s the family of ladybirds which huddle in the frame of our bathroom window each year. It’s the billions of microscopic creatures living in my garden and whose communication helps my roses, dahlias and other summer-loving plants to know just the right time to burst into leaf each spring.
Life is also the natural cycle and order of things that enable us to keep in balance with the world around us. Seasonal eating, rearing of animals in a realistic timeframe and humane way, understanding that the planet probably had it at the right rhythm before we started messing with it – and wasting much of what we produce.
If we are honest, we humans know all too well that we are massively out of whack with the natural ecosystem of this planet.
Mass agriculture, overdevelopment of towns, cities and industry, along with any other number of so-called advances in technology over the past couple of hundred years, has put our needs way above the rest of earth’s life.
From Orangutans losing their habitat so we can bulk out cheap food with palm oil to running ghost flights during the pandemic to fulfil contracts and retain slots at airports, we seem to have put what we consider our right-to-life to be not just at the top of the wish list, but we have crossed out any other life’s entitlement to it.
And we have done so at our peril.
Sadly, the orangutans have no method to fight back on their own, but we are already seeing growing opposition – whether intentional or not – from the rest of the life on this planet.
Our failure to recognise biodiversity as a vital tenet of our ecosystem is threatening food supplies around the world; microplastics from the epidemic of packaging are now found across a wide swathe of our waters and lands; the well-documented impacts of climate change are already upon us, getting worse and irreversible.
Regular readers will know this is usually when I tie my thesis into what this means for fund management – this time, I think it is obvious.
If we continue to hold human life at the pinnacle of, and to the exclusion of, all else, it will not end up with the golden outcome we may have intended.
Continued ignorance that we are part of a huge, interdependent tapestry of life may make short-term returns, but it will only hasten the end of it for all of us.
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