Cry of the Starks


“The saws cutting the huge logs ground out their shrill lament all day long. First you heard the deep underground thud of the felled tree. Every five or ten minutes the ground shuddered like a drum in the dark at the hard impact…giant work of nature, seeded there by the wind a thousand years before…The forest was dying. I heard its lamentation with a heavy heart, as if I had come there to listen to the oldest voices anyone had ever heard.”

                                                                                                                      Pablo Neruda

Today, we are at a stage where we face the winter of civilization. I’m not being a Stark here, because Winter is not Coming. It is here.

With every passing decade, we have come up with ways to kill ourselves more efficiently and in larger numbers.

With every passing century, we have established effective methods of destruction, and annihilation.

And with the passing millennium, we even came up with nukes that could destroy a country at a go. But while we’ve advanced in the extermination of our own race, we also progressed in endangering the planet that sustains us. We’ve modified it to suit our needs, and neglected all that doesn’t advocate our greed. But it is true that the Earth has all to suffice our need, but never enough for our greed.

I read an article a few days ago, which was titled “Genghis Khan, The Green”. Intriguing as it was, I read on to find out that environmentalists have found that Genghis Khan is history’s greenest conqueror. He killed so many people that huge swathes of cultivated land actually returned to forest. This makes one wonder if at every point we’re actually making a choice between living, and letting the earth degrade, or dying and allowing it to flourish and support the 8.7 million species.

Does it always have to be such a dilemma?

Is there no middle path, where one does not need to outlast the other?

And what if we do end up becoming a cause of mass destruction; will the Earth be a Lannister who always pays its debts? What then?

We started with the Chipko movement, a very Gandhian style of dealing with injustice and wrong. Over a period of time, when the decking and demolishing started getting out of hand, we decided peaceful methods of awareness would do no good, and got down to the Green Wars. Of course, this has its own consequence of repulsion, but we did establish our stand, and made things more than clear.

Global Warming, Global Dimming, Extinction of Species, Land Degradation, Ozone Depletion, Overpopulation, Nuclear Issues and countless other quandaries surround us today. As Ursula K. Le Guin, in the The Dispossessed says:

My world, my Earth is a ruin. A planet spoiled by the human species. We multiplied and fought and gobbled until there was nothing left, and then we died. We controlled neither appetite nor violence; we did not adapt. We destroyed ourselves. But we destroyed the world first.”

For when we heard the wail and whine, we turned our ears deaf. So who will hearken to our call when we scream and shriek?

But there always is a way. Things may look bleak, but it is never too late to feed the hen. A peaceful world, a united power, a compassionate being—all seem to be the ideals in our heads. But just because it’s in our head doesn’t mean it should not be real.

Yes, it may be seven minutes to midnight, but that doesn’t mean we lie back down and let it go on. We still have the hour glass, and we could turn it around, if only we decide to work, and work together.

As PB Shelley writes in the Ode to the West Winds, “If Winter comes, can Spring be far behind?”

Nemisha Kawaatra

How do you think we can save our degrading environment? Write your opinions in he comment section below.

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