Hey, my children, Mother Nature is calling on you
I have sent you many messages, my children, but feel I need to speak to you directly for I fear you are not hearing me. This is your Mother Nature, the most generous, caring and bountiful of all mothers. I care deeply for all my children, be they humans like you, other animals, plants or even the most microscopic forms of life.
By providing all my children with everything they could need, I have created a balance that has held for hundreds of millions of years. It is only by the actions of the latest newcomers, you, my human children, that this balance has not only been disturbed but also put under such strain that the entire system I have lovingly provided for all my children may soon collapse. It pains me unendingly to say that it is through your greed, your waste, your wars and selfishness that we have reached a point I never thought possible. Allow me to paint you a picture that you may be somewhat familiar with already.
You, my human children, were once my greatest pride. Endowed with intelligence and consciousness, you had all the tools to transform and make the planet better for all. Instead, you pursued selfish objectives of unrestricted growth, taking far more than you needed, at the expense of each other and of every other living being. Through unsustainable growth and waste you have made major seas and rivers run dry, degraded one third of the once-rich agricultural land that could have fed even 8 billion of you, and overexploited 90 percent of the world’s fisheries to the point where, in 40 years, some of your scientists believe there may be no more fish left in the oceans.
I cannot but cry when I look at the Garden of Eden Allah provided you now reduced to a cesspit of pollution and waste.
Hassan bin Youssef Yassin
Long before that, you should know, there will be more plastic than fish by weight in the sea. Man-made climate change has seen ocean surface temperatures rise by close to 1 degree Celsius since your industrial era, largely explaining the greatly increased intensity and frequency of hurricanes and typhoons, as well as disturbed weather and rainfall patterns around the world. The ocean provides twice as much oxygen as rainforests, but if you remove all life from it, it will no longer provide for anyone.
This summer, Siberia is again seeing temperatures of 30 C, as well as much reduced rainfall, resulting in another year of forest fires. Below the ordinarily humid Arctic forests, carbon and methane-laden peat bogs are now also burning, raising the specter of the runaway effects of Arctic and Siberian permafrost melting and releasing vast quantities of carbon and methane, potentially creating a devastating feedback loop whereby climate change runs away from you.
For the first time this year, the Amazon basin has emitted more carbon dioxide than it absorbed, due to deforestation at a rate of more than 10,000 sq km of Amazon rainforest per year. On top of that devastating reversal, the destruction of the world’s rainforests has caused a devastating loss of species and biodiversity. Each of these species served a purpose, and now they are gone, forever.
Meanwhile, you humans continue to waste a third of all the food you produce, and just one American, through over-consumption, uses a staggering 8,300 liters of water per day. Your habits have pushed your Mother Nature to breaking point, and there is nothing I can do about the extreme weather events, such as flooding, heatwaves, forest fires and hurricanes that you see all around you, and which are now 10 times more likely.
As you can imagine, all the devastation and destruction that you have wreaked is quite personal to me, but many other aspects of your behavior have also worried me of late. Your political disorder, and the rise of extremism and disinformation do not play in your favor. I see some rare places where you have tried to institute more responsible growth and increased equality between humans, but those places are few and far between.
Most damningly, you continue to fail the vast majority of your fellow humans who live in poverty, as the rich around the world get richer, exploiting all the resources and passing the bill on to the poor. These are findings that your own scholars have established. The poor are the people most affected by empty seas, depleted agricultural land and dry rivers; they are living in misery while an elite pillages what I provide to all.
My children, my patience is at an end and I cannot but cry when I look at the Garden of Eden Allah provided you now reduced to a cesspit of pollution and waste. When will you grow up and change from spoiled children to responsible stewards of what I have provided you?
None of the signals I have sent seem to register lastingly with you, be it the poor scraping up your trash, a virus that confined you all to your homes, the hurricanes, wildfires or flooding. That is why I am giving it to you straight, for I don’t know what else you need to realize what you have done. I do not know what else I can do to help you before you force yourself out of existence. I will be fine, and the planet and its other species will recover rapidly, but I care for all my children and I do not want to see you commit suicide, taking so much of the world’s riches and diversity with you.
July 22, 2021
- Hassan bin Youssef Yassin worked closely with Saudi Petroleum Ministers Abdullah Tariki and Ahmed Zaki Yamani from 1959 to 1967. He headed the Saudi Information Ofﬁce in Washington from 1972 to 1981, and served with the Arab League observer delegation to the UN from 1981 to 1983.