According to Merriam Webster, “Pollution” is the introduction of contaminants into the natural environment that cause adverse change. Pollution can take the form of chemical substances or energy, such as noise, heat or light. Pollutants, the components of pollution, can be either foreign substances/energies or naturally occurring contaminants.
Pollution is not a new discussion. We know human waste, industry and transportation are considerable pollution contributing factors to our planet. Our decision to be more advanced technologically, in some ways, catapulted by our choice to cluster together across cities, states and countries makes pollution a very serious problem that we are not sure how to correct, though, we find ways to minimize. Our awareness of the problems of pollution and initiatives to reduce contamination is growing. It is even easy to participate in these initiatives due to the rise, affordability and increased popularity of biodegradable products.
As we have evolved technologically, we have certainly devolved in how we respect the planet and one another. We have been so proud and quick to accept technological advance that we have, in some ways, forgotten pieces of social responsibility and justice that can not be afforded if our home, Earth, is in fact, valuable, in our own estimation, to our existence. Advancement that momentarily appears to increase ease of life but simultaneously robs us of dignity and integrity is no true advancement at all. This is only to point out our finite understanding. We can only begin to know what we have the necessary time and energy to pay attention to once the proper encouragement or admonition comes upon us, whether from within, without or combination thereof.
Humans pollute the natural environment unaware, at first. That which is pure tends to be contaminated by our ignorance- the simplest and most beautiful of things. Perhaps, we would choose to harm the innocent for our own perceived notion of good. Habitats and ecosystems are interrupted by our lack of respect and obliviousness to our being part of the whole. We introduce foreign substances and disturb a space that has been at peace for ages. Even, the natural environment of genetics and intelligence is beginning to see human pollution as we make “advancements” in genetic engineering, modification and the creation of Artificial Intelligence. It is obvious that we really have no idea what the end result will be of such exploration and how it will effect the ecosystem of our existence. But it is also obvious how wondrous such exploration is for our curiosity. We will not know when to stop or diverge until the errors are already made. Hopefully, then, it will not be too late.
We have ignorantly produced waste that renders water unsafe to drink but this doesn’t change what is ultimately- the true makeup of water. What if we polluted something so adversely that we could no longer recognize or understand what the object, in truth, is? I have the notion that we have done this to “God”. Could religion be a contaminant to the Real? We have ignorantly created systemic beliefs but those do not change the reality of who and what “God” is, or anything for that matter. Who is to say the information we are perpetuating about any known subject is in fact true and unpolluted by our egotistical “wisdom”. This idea is a complex one of cultural issues but all stemmed in human pride. Our greatest innovations, philosophies and any other form of “advancement” we think we should lay claim to, for the sake of emotional and intellectual comfort, always need to be held to the scrutiny of: What are the long term effects of what we are saying and doing here? Is it really an advancement, in that it will do us (including our planet) better in the end? Are we even capable of knowing until the damage is already done? We are an ignorant race, only doing the best we can with our intellect. Will we have the humility to understand our ability to do so actually reveals our fallibility?
“It seems reasonable to believe — and I do believe — that the more clearly we can focus our attention on the wonders and realities of the universe about us the less taste we shall have for the destruction of our race. Wonder and humility are wholesome emotions, and they do not exist side by side with a lust for destruction.”- Rachel Carson, marine biologist, conservationist, naturalist. Author of Silent Spring