TUMBY BAY - Back in 1993 the pop group Aerosmith sang in the opening lines of Livin’ on the Edge, “There's something wrong with the world today. I don’t know what it is.”
The idea that there is something wrong with the world, including the people in it and the way they behave, is a feeling that has probably been around ever since our forebears crawled out of the swamps and grew legs.
Thankfully, no matter the era, there have always been dissenters who have agitated for different and better ways of doing things. Indeed, dissent and radicalism have been the driving forces of change.
However, while the path of human progress is assisted by many dissenters advocating and sometimes achieving positive outcomes, there are always strong vested interests pushing against them.
At the moment we seem to be in an era in which vested interests are in the ascendancy and tenuously holding the line against change.
This is concerning because we now seem to have reached a critical point in human history where what we do over the next few years will have a lasting impact on future generations and possibly the planet itself.
Without doubt there have been many dark days in the history of the world, but the current crises of climate change, overpopulation, rapidly depleting natural resources, environmental damage and savage economic exploitation seem to have collectively topped anything that has gone before.
Many elderly people will tell you that in their lifetimes no period has felt as dire as this one now.
For those of us in our twilight years it seems a sad legacy to leave for our children and grandchildren.
By and large, and particularly in the West, our generation has enjoyed what have been the most progressive, enlightened, peaceful and comfortable lives experienced in human history.
Unfortunately all that has come at a cost.
The debt collector is now standing at the door and it seems our immediate descendants might have to pay for all we have enjoyed unless something is done very quickly to remediate the problems facing the world.
It is particularly galling to know that the solutions to these problems are well-known and, given the willpower, eminently achievable.
We know how to slow down climate change. We know how to control population growth. We know how to sustainably manage natural resources. We know what needs to be done to ensure economic equity.
We also know what the major impediments are to doing these things – greed, power, fanaticism, ignorance, stupidity and inertia.
We can accuse other people of the first three but, as for the rest, we must admit their pointed relevance to us.
Claiming that we don’t understand what is happening to the world and whimpering that as individuals we lack the power to change anything are classic excuses used time and again throughout history.
As an excuse, for most of us, claims of ignorance and disempowerment are feeble and untrue. History tells us that, given the will, great change can be accomplished by ordinary people.
Despite what they think, the purveyors of greed, power and fanaticism are far from invincible. In most cases they wield their power because we have allowed them to do so.
People like Trump/Biden, Morrison/Albanese and Marape/Namah are there because, one way or another, ordinary people put them there.
Getting rid of them and not replacing them with different versions of the same thing requires us to step away from the herd, discard our complacency and think before we vote.
If enough of us do that we will elect leaders of true quality who can lead the way to a better world.
Will we do that? Probably not. The state of the world has a short way to go before it becomes truly insufferable.
Unfortunately, by then it will be too late.