From the Amazon to Siberia, wildfires rage, blanketing the air with smoke and ash. Glaciers melt and the seas rise, threatening to transform our coastal cities into a modern-day Atlantis. Landfills burst at the seams with mountains of single-use plastic, old iPhones, and rotting food. Racism, xenophobia, misogyny, and homophobia run rampant across the globe. Corporations make historic profits by polluting the air we breathe and the water we drink, underpaying their workers, and not paying back their fair share. Governments trap their constituents in endless red tape, often tyrannizing those they took an oath to serve, often corrupt and serving only themselves. A handful of people own half the world’s wealth while millions die of hunger and preventable diseases. Children in Nigeria are stolen from their families and trained as ruthless killers. Children in America get murdered in their classrooms while politicians turn a blind eye. Little girls from Somalia to Indonesia have their genitals ritualistically mutilated without consent. Rape victims are murdered for bringing “dishonor” to their families.
We spend hours upon hours refreshing our social media feeds and buying stuff we can’t afford and don’t need. We kill one another to protect the childish stories our parents told us, which their parents told them. We erase countless species off the face of the planet through our unquenchable thirst for more, more, more. We refuse to even acknowledge the pain and suffering that we cause and from which we benefit. We let our neighbors suffer in squalor as we watch back-to-back nights of The Bachelor.
The world is on fire. And it’s our fault. It’s humanity’s fault.
We should feel ashamed of what we’ve done. And we should be terrified of what’s in store for us. It’s now only a matter of time before we destroy ourselves and the Earth as we know it.
We deserve it.
This is the story that many of us tell ourselves.