Hugh Mankind stepped back and admired the amazing ark his mother had set up for his use. The ark held every imaginable animal and plant on the land, in the sea and in the soil itself. This enormous vessel was brimming with a complex web of life - a paradise. What more could he possibly need or want?
Hugh had been traveling on the ark for what seemed like generations, but he’d never really taken stock of the ark’s inventory. Mother had hinted that doing so would be a good idea. “Then periodically update your inventory, say every 10 years,” Mother requested. So in 1970, Hugh created an enormous spreadsheet to inventory the contents of the ark.
Before he knew it, ten years had flown by and it was 1980. Hugh got out his clipboard and methodically reviewed the inventory. “Hmm… we’re missing some stuff,” Hugh said scratching his head. “Well, I suppose some of this stuff sort of goes in cycles,” he speculated.
Then just as quickly another ten years had flown by, time for the 1990 inventory. Hugh hoped the depleted inventory he’d noticed earlier had somehow miraculously rebounded. He found just the opposite. Fully 1/3 of the 1970 inventory was gone, vanished, kaput! “What’s going on?” Hugh wondered. “Surely it’s not something I’m doing,” Hugh wanted to believe. But deep down he knew the truth about who was being irresponsible.
The decades slipped by. In 2000 another 15% had disappeared. By 2010 an additional 12% was missing. Hugh had a comfortable life filled with conveniences, so he tried not to think about the losses. But he worried that Mother might stop in to inspect the inventory. Then one day in 2016, there she was, and she was NOT happy.
“Hugh, what have you done?! The water and air are tainted with contaminants. And look at all this plastic trash - yuck! Where’s all the missing inventory? And have you turned up the heat? It’s way too warm in here.”
Hugh handed Mother Nature the 2016 inventory. Red with embarrassment, Hugh confessed that the ark had lost fully 68% of that complex eco-system since the 1970 baseline. “Too much consumption, burning, and wasting. I’m changing my ways. Let’s turn this ship around!” he declared.
Next time - Hugh’s rescue plan for the only ark he’ll ever inhabit where he’s forever… Earthbound.