This whole extinction and environmental catastrophe thing (report by the Intergovernmental Panel for Biodiversity and Ecosystem Services) is heavy. Like, weight of the world kind of heavy.
On the 6th of May, the following article was published on the BBC: ‘Nature loss: Report to show scale of 'silent crisis'’( https://www.bbc.com/news/science-environment-48160456).
The general gist is that rapid action is required in order to avoid the ecological disaster that is threatening life as we know it on our planet. It isn’t a stand alone article, there have been a significant number of news stories about this. In case they passed you by, there have been some pretty significant meetings in Paris this week, finalising the report that has taken 3 years to research and produce, so it is hot off the press.
And yet, on the 9th of May, as I write this blog post, the top 10 most read articles on the BBC were as follows: Most Read
• 1 Royal baby: Duke and Duchess of Sussex name son Archie
• 2 US House panel holds Attorney General William Barr in contempt
• 3 Archie Harrison: The meaning behind the royal baby's name
• 4 CES 2019: Sex toy reawarded robotics prize
• 5 Colorado school shooting victim died charging attacker
• 6 Ajax 2-3 Tottenham (3-3 on aggregate - Spurs win on away goals): Lucas Moura scores dramatic winner
• 7 Man died after falling out of Uber in Sydney
• 8 Kentucky teen who sued over vaccine gets chickenpox
• 9 Kerry Katona fined £500 for failing to send her child to school
• 10 Newspaper headlines: 'Adorable' Archie meets the Queen
The people have spoken, and it turns out we are super duper interested in the new Royal baby, a sex toy award, shooting, death, celebrity, sport and politics. We should be ashamed. The irony of the masses being near obsessed with this privileged newborn (as lovely as new babies are) whilst our planet is on the precipice of disaster cannot be overlooked.
The headline of the article is pretty accurate on the whole ‘silent crisis’ bit.
There are many reasons for it. People often read articles in their leisure time, and who wants to be reminded of the murdering of species whilst they sip their morning chai? Easy to digest information is the cornerstone of the modern Western media, designed to be so because who has time to delve into the disaster of deforestation as they commute to work? A bit of light entertainment to scroll through as you wind the day down to its close, reading about the sex toy award hits the spot (pun not intended…). A game of chess is more mentally draining than a quick game of snap, so what would most people choose after a long day in the office?
Perhaps we just feel helpless, useless, insignificant, in the face of such a huge problem, so we consciously fill our heads instead with more palatable news. Lots and lots of reasons. The ‘too hard basket’ is overflowing.
But my question is this – what needs to happen for us to be interested in the (real) birds and bees? What could get the ‘most read’ articles to be ones that will actually have relevance in 50 years time? What will it take to make us panic…and act?
It is a complex issue, and just like in chess, we need to plan ahead and have a strategy. There is no easy way out, no one has yet invented an app for it. But we are playing for our lives, so perhaps now is as good a time as any to start training.