Pennington Bay, Kangaroo Island, South 
Australia, from cliff top. Blue wild ocean, with waves in background and a silver coastal bush in the foreground.

Think about this, we humans describe ourselves as inhabitants of this or that place or country. We obscure the reality of the people who came before us. We say, this bit is ours, this bit is theirs. And truly, it is irrelevant.

Our borders are irrelevant to the rivers, the lakes, the oceans, and the moon that moves our tides. Irrelevant to the soil, the weather, the climate, and the countless billions of plants and animals that also inhabit this planet, and have done for millennia before humans even existed.

There was balance but now it there is not. Now, there is change. Climate change, soil loss, water contamination, ocean acidification, species decline and loss, drought and desertification and dust storms, locust plagues, wildfires, sea level rise, storms and cyclones, floods, landslides, melting of polar caps and glaciers and permafrost and snowfields, like nothing that humans have ever encountered and faster and sooner than anyone predicted. This is all down to human activity: what we do and how we do it.

But we can change. We can make better choices, do things better, in more balance with the world around us, the world with which we are one. Its fate is our fate. We have much to lose and much to gain. We need to set aside our borders and learn from each other. Where one place has set up electric vehicle use or wind power or composting or green hydrogen, another place must learn from their experience. We do not have time to run long trials of things that are already working in other places. We do not have time to allow the appearance of doing something to be confused with actually doing something.

The only real boundaries we have now are mental and ideological. These barriers say that nothing can change, that we are blameless, that money must keep coming from the same projects, that gas, oil, and coal are the pinnacle of human achievement. They are not. Our greatest achievements can’t be touched. They are our instincts for sharing, cooperation, aspiring to huge challenges, for love and compassion. Our next big achievement must be to reposition ourselves for a green and equitable future, starting right now.

© Palitja Moore, text, and images, Pennington Bay, Kangaroo Island, 2021

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