Dolly Koghar urges us to step lightly on the Earth and beware our carbon footprint.
Occasionally, when my one leg refuses to budge or I throw my back, I head for a Taiwanese foot-reflexology place, which also advocates vegetarianism and spirituality, and has devoted a large space where customers can offer obeisance to the very many Chinese deities. Although Rwo-Shr is tucked away unobtrusively in a sub-soi in Sukhumvit 36, I always have to jostle for a turn with folks heading straight here from the airport from as far off as Japan, Korea and China. Despite the diversity, we unanimously experience the ‘law of variable proportions’: our original pain is invalidated by the excruciating torture of the masseuses’ hands-of-steel and thumbs-of-lead; giving way to a chorus of ‘itaii-itaii’, ‘ouchie-ouchie’ or ‘haiey-haiey’!
However, instead of joining the refrain, as always hubby dear escapes into an inner sanctuary where he remains untouched and unaffected through any crises or discomfort (not to be misinterpreted as a compliment). One such day, he’d plugged in his earphones and nodded off, while I tried distracting myself by looking out the window at the gloriously sunlit day, where a yellow butterfly was flitting lazily amongst the bushes. Above,on the electric wires that are an integral part of our Bangkok vista, a squirrel was scurrying to and fro, totally focused on the needs of the day; unhindered and unaware of COVID, eminent flooding, global warming, forecasts of war and doom, and even the possibility of its species’ total annihilation; most of which, if not all, is thanks to our greed-filled human interferences. I figured that when its time is up, it’ll just drop down dead; at peace with itself and the life it led.
As we near the end of yet another year, we’re hopefully also nearing the tail-end of the pandemic that’s driven every single person, regardless of status or geography, into a corner physically, financially and mentally. Despite the millions and trillions already spent and continuing to be spent on conflicting reports and data, we are still in the dark about its origin, how it destroys our system, an effective treatment, or which, if any, of the vaccines can give us that much-sought-after ‘super resistance.’ Meanwhile, I’ll bet my bottom dollar that the virus ain’t going anywhere, ever; we’ll just have to add one more vaccination onto the multiple yearly shots that the doctors, in cohort with the hospitals, pharmacies, and politicians, forcibly recommend for us to take.
At the end of 2019, when news of the virus first hit us, we brushed it away as a passing cloud, dark and grim but temporary; but it’s two years on and we’re still holding our heads in our hands and moaning and groaning and wondering, “What now?” However, it’s time we pull our heads out of the sand, dig deep into our conscience, and admit that whatever has happened, was waiting to happen, and undeniably, the consequence of our own making. We’ve selfishly hidden behind the excuse that “just little ol’ me” can’t possibly create such a huge carbon footprint, and when it came to resolutions to make things better, we made our escape by saying, “it can’t be expected from one lil’ me to remediate the damage.”
This new year, let’s drop the bogus resolutions that we’ve been making and never, ever followed through since donkey years – to treat our spouse better, or to do more real-time interaction with friends and family, or to exercise more and gorge less – and instead use the sapient brains that evolution has given us to shut tight the Pandora’s Box that we greedily pried open, unleashing havoc across the planet. Remember, nature will survive, nay, thrive without our interference, but we need to pull up our socks and start exercising prudence with our natural resources, lest we, too, risk going the way of the dodo and the dinosaur. Herb Hammond sums it up bluntly, when he says, “Of all the components of the ecosystem, humans are the only ones we know to be completely optional.”