What On Earth Are We Doing?

Earth from space 2

I am high above you right now, looking down.

I see one world.

Its raging oceans are sheets of glass, erratically molded around the globe.

Its highest mountain ranges but crumpled pieces of paper, imprecisely flattened.

Its most hostile deserts are as forbidding as a pristine beach on a late summer evening.

Its dark, impenetrable forests are lightened by a blanket of wispy white cloud.

Its fiercest storms appear no more threatening than a tea cup’s swirl.

Its majestic rivers wind their way like thin cotton thread through vast expanses of wilderness.

Its sprawling cities glow brightly as they spread their orange tentacles haphazardly into the gathering darkness.

Its polar regions, although smaller now than I remember, are impossibly white bookends to an improbable planet.

It is half in light, half in darkness; one side racing around, impatient for a new dawn; the other clawing desperately onto dusk’s dying embers.

Its beauty is matched only by its fragility.


I am high above you right now, looking down.

I see one world.

There are no national borders. No divisions. No walls.

There are no arbitrary lines drawn a century ago by ignorant people with a map and a ruler, oblivious to the consequences as they lit the slow-burning fuse of hatred and suspicion.

There are no people. I can’t see any of its billions of inhabitants. Not one of them; no matter how important some of them think they are.

There is no skin colour. No discrimination. From here, I don’t understand why any difference would make any difference.

There is no religion.

There are no abhorrent perversions of faith used to justify heinous acts of murder against others who happen to believe in a different God – or in the same God in a slightly different way.

There are no cable news channels, sacrificing accuracy in the rush to be first; unwittingly glorifying monstrous crimes, enticing an army of new perpetrators to seek their own fifteen minutes of global notoriety. There is no “like” after death.

There are no politicians wrapped in cyclones of contradictions, staunchly defending their favourite freedoms as they shred others, inconvenient to their bias.

There is no vicious vitriol or intentional deception from those who would be leaders, shamelessly fomenting anger to advance their own selfish agendas. Urging their followers to be scared of what they don’t understand; hoping they don’t want to learn.

Yet, I still see one world. Half in light; half in darkness.

As I look closer, the darkness is moving relentlessly across the surface, driving away the light, chipping away at its fragility. The darkness spreads as we succumb to our fears, ignore our ignorance, reinforce our prejudices. Only the light of hope, understanding and tolerance stands in its path.

I hope it is strong enough.


Nick Orchard
19th July 2016





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