I’m sorry, but when I originally thought of the title of this post, I wanted to talk about the messages that I had been hearing since I was young telling me that things were only going to get harder for me in whatever career I wanted to pursue because the positions available were getting scarcer and more competitive. At the same time the products I have been sold are almost always advertised as better because they are bigger, or faster. I wanted to talk about how the world that I grew up in seems to exist in a fantasy where everything is linear and only more matters.

…but then I watched the section of the Crash Course on increasing waste. I learned what I have always felt to be true:

  • That species are disappearing from our planet at exponential rates
  • That our economy takes out more resources and puts back in more waste than our environment can process
  • That even if we stopped all of it right now, most of us would be dead before the world’s health could recover to what it was just 50 years ago

…and then I learned some more.

  • At the current rates of ocean acidification, driven directly by carbon dioxide in the air, the Great Barrier Reef, my dream since I first set foot in the ocean, and one which has eluded me for nearly twenty years now, will die along with every other coral reef in every ocean on the planet, and it will die before I do.

I’m sorry because I wanted to write a philosophical, romantically tragic blog about our dying world and its capital hypocrisy, but all I can do is sit here and cry because now I’ve seen the numbers. What used to be just a feeling, a suspicion that probably humans were doing irreparable damage to the planet, is now a measurable, quantifiable, unavoidable reality. And the loss I feel is unimaginable. My dream to one day swim in the Great Barrier Reef may never be realized, and not because I can’t afford it, but because it simply won’t be there when I’m finally ready to go.

It’s such a personal loss. The monarch butterflies are dying, too. My mother loves to hatch them in her yard and watch them dry their wings. I used to chase them as a kid. They were everywhere, like flies. There are 5% of them now than there were ten years ago. Just last year the black rhino went the way of the dodo, too. These are animals I love. These are representations to me of freedom, of life itself and they’re dying and there’s not a damn thing I can do about it.

Could you stand by and watch your lover slowly burn to death on the stake? Imagine standing there watching everything you cared about in the world slowly and violently be destroyed and then imagine asking someone to help you save them. Now imagine that the people around all tell you they are too busy. “I’m sorry, I have a meeting to get to, but good luck with that!”

My Reef. The Great Barrier Reef was always supposed to be there. We may all be already dead and simply not know it yet.

I’m sorry, I wish I could be more help to you.

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