I write against a backdrop of torrential rain lashing across my window. Of dark brewing clouds frequently lit by electric streaks, of roaring thunder interspersed with the calls from the various beings in the forest below — crickets, katydids and peacocks. It is late, past midnight, but the world outside my quiet room is lively. I am protected by the cemented walls of our apartment, the strong glass panes, the warm blankets and the brightness of my laptop screen run by uninterrupted electricity. Others are not so fortunate.
The storms have been getting harsher. So have the heatwaves. So has the cold winter, in the brief period it does arrive. I don’t ever recall the weather being as extreme as it is nowadays — and to me, it is evidence — that we have run out of further “future generations” and borrowed time, that we have crossed our deadlines and limits, that the damage we have done is here to doom us once and for all.
I have been learning about global warming, climate change, and sustainable development since before I can remember. But it was only the very first time I did an MUN conference, some two years ago when I first had the opportunity to truly, critically think about what a big deal all of this was, did I truly start to grasp the urgency and the significance of it. I learnt about the degree thresholds and the figurative clock that was constantly ticking, and since, have observed at an arm’s length as the minutes flew by.
I am sorry, ancient land.
Some documents gave it a few years — the 2030s, 2040s, 2050s. Some older ones mentioned ones that had already gone by. Some ended their clock exactly at present, the good ol’ 2020s that we collectively decided haven’t been going in our global favour. Each of these predictions was made with some hope that we would change.
But we are, after all, la race humaine, and we missed the mark. By a lot.
Well, I’d be wrong to state that as an absolute fact. We’ve tried. We’ve created committees that analyse our situation and try to provide solutions for it, we’ve started taking small steps at the community level to do better, and we have tried to pursue our governments and corporations to pursue policies that reduce damage to the environment — but we take one step forward and two steps back, and we seem to progress slower than the transience around us does.
I am sorry, magnificent creature. I am sorry, worn timber.
The question that we wrestle with — and will possibly continue wrestling with for most of the foreseeable future — when will we do enough? When will our collective action make a dent in emissions, undeterred exhaustion and improper disposal of resources, anything and everything that defines our position in how well we preserve our environment?
I am not sure when it will be answered, or if it will ever be answered at all.
I decided to start the issue with a quote. That this little blue planet of ours is one worth fighting for. And I believe that with every inch of myself. No matter what happens, we can never give up trying to save it, even if it is from ourselves. Each species is too precious to the ecosystem and each chunk of the crust is too irreplaceable.
No matter how far down we fall, we have to find a way to get back up.
Forgive me, beautiful, beautiful Earth. I hope we will do better.
The remnant of this issue talks about, and illustrates, the impact of human activity, the immediate need to change our practices, and captures well the gems of our ethereal corner of the universe. From enchanting photography to moving writing, to possibly some of the most brilliant artwork I’ve seen across publications, this issue has something for everyone.
The months have not been easy on most of us, and thinking about the environment has largely been pushed to the backs of our minds for most of it. But our effects on our environment have not stopped, and the world in itself has never truly come to a standstill. I hope it never will.
To be able to see the sunrise each day, sail upon the undiscovered deep blue seas, climb the highest of snowy peaks, camp within thickly wooded forests, dive past vivid corals, observe little penguins waddle over glaciers, and watch the sun dip behind fields of golden wheat in the rolling plains — is all a privilege. We have to do everything within our capacities to protect it.
And while we’re a little late to it, happy four years to the magazine! We’ve come far since we started, and with new faces on the team, we plan to go even further.