My world’s always been about to end. I was born a few years after the Cuban missile crisis and grew up, as you may have done, permanently four minutes from being annihilated by a rainstorm of nuclear bombs.
But it didn’t happen.
A few years later, after many lesser-known ends of the world had come and gone, we had the year 2000. Planes might have fallen from the sky, people might have died on operating tables, and all those nuclear deterrents might have gone off anyway.
But they didn’t.
Since then, we’ve been threatened by economic and environmental collapse, social and political chaos, more nuclear bombs (this time in the hands of unelected terrorists) and at least one The Rapture.
And it still hasn’t happened.
Which brings us to 2012. You’d have to have spent a lot of time in a cave not to have heard about the Mayan calendar coming to an end on December 21st. And certainly a lot of people are going to go crazy about it between now and then. But I’m going to put my pixels on the line below and write this:
It's not going to be the end of the world.
Obviously, if armageddon’s just a few full moons away, there’s no need to save energy, manage resources sustainably, eat and shop responsibly, and all that. But if the sun’s going to continue to rise and set, as it has for an unimaginably long time, this is exactly what we should all be doing - planning for the world to go on.
True, many people have been wilfully making a mess recently, childishly assuming that someone will tidy up after them. But it’s my impression that we are that someone. There is no one else. Just us seven and a bit billion people scattered around the place, with our unique fingerprints, talents, hopes and dreams.
If any world is going to end on December 21st 2012 (at 12:21:12 exactly, if you like), I’d like it to be the world of selfishness, ignorance and abuse. In its place I’d like to see a world of awareness, compassion and love. That’s the planet I want to live on and the environment I want to leave for future generations.
To people who say it’s not an ideal world, I agree. But it could be.
There. I’ve said it. Now I’ve got to go and work on our to-do list. You wouldn’t believe how much we want to get done before January 1st 2013.