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User Icon     Posted 10 months ago     by Jim Hook     

Lord Time and Mother Nature

Have you ever wondered what the difference is between a scientist and an engineer? Strangely, I have. I came to the conclusion that scientists are academics, whereas engineers are practitioners. If I were to look for engineer practitioners in the countryside pursuits field of endeavour, I would find them in gamekeepers and farmers. I find it odd that a fundamental premise of science, is that a key objective of one scientist is to disprove a theory proposed by another. Once that has been achieved, a new theory then holds court until it itself is disproved and yet another one proposed. That means that scientists get nearly everything wrong and see that as an achievement! Practitioners on the other hand can't afford to get it wrong that often as their livelihood depends on getting it right. Don't get me wrong, I'm not saying there isn't value in the concept of scientific research, of course there is. Knowing what is wrong helps refine what is right. I do however believe that a combination of both scientists and practitioners is required to help us correctly manage our environment to the benefit of all beings that share it.

Regardless of all of our endeavours to manage the environment we nearly always get it wrong. Even today there are believers and non believers in the cause of current global warming. This isn't going to change anytime soon and its unlikely the argument will ever be resolved as Mother Nature will change the ingredients of the argument pot along the way, thus frustrating the arguments from both camps. It never ceases to amaze me how intelligent people never seem to consider the dynamic nature and precarious relationships between all of the wondrous facets of nature, when making recommendations, predictions, or political statements of 'right and wrong' on how we should live our lives and co-exist with the planet. There, in itself, belies a significant issue. The human race isn't co-existing with anything, it's simply existing as a small bit part player on the game board of the Earth, sat on the table of the galaxy, in a room of the universe. The Earth has been in existence for 4.6 billion years and the scientific assessment is that it will continue to exist for another 4.6 billion. Modern humans have resided here for something like 300,000 years, whilst the early form of human beings may have evolved as far back as 6 million years. If we are still here in another 300,000 years I'd be surprised. Mother Nature has a plethora of hidden alternate futures to throw at us along our way, as does the galaxy and universe to throw at our own planet and Mother Nature.

Lets step back a little before armageddon though. Much of the modern world entered a period of lockdown in early 2020. The impact on human movement has been significant. The result of that reduction has seen significant changes in the environment with regard reduced pollution, population growths in many wildlife species, changes in human social interaction habits, a switch to more locally sourced food produce and many others that will only be discovered in time. This change in the way humans operate on the planet will give us a glimpse into how our activities over the previous few decades have had both negative and positive impacts on the world around us. Unfortunately, the changes can't be associated only to the lockdown however, as in the background millions of other natural events have taken place that we won't even be aware of. If the lockdown was to occur again in 50 years time therefore, the impacts on the planet might be different. Hopefully, the 'big picture' will be similar however but we are unlikely to know what that really is for a number of years to come. Wildlife, and human populations are, I suggest, set to increase due to the likely impending human baby boom (for obvious reasons) along with the lack of wildlife management such as deer stalking during the lockdown period. An increase in any population will have [negative] impacts on others and its possible that people's perceptions on certain human actions, such as countryside pursuits, may change as a result. Even the Guardian wrote an article recently claiming 'wild deer are set to 'wreak havoc' in the UK' as a result of lockdown, albeit a major contributor to the article was the game chef Mike Robinson. In the article Mike claims that “Perhaps 20% of the normal cull is being done … we are at the beginning of a very large hike in the deer population.” I believe that every action has an equal and opposite reaction. Mother Nature is made up of ebb and flows where millions of contributors are involved in the end result.

Only time will tell where we are headed but in the meantime, for me, its down to the practitioners to keep us on the straight and narrow whilst scientists, politicians and extremists (on both sides) procrastinate the longer term effects, with the media likely using the output to fuel incendiary headlines to spread fear, and of course readership!

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