Thursday, 1 January 2015

Language Follies and a HNY

First off: A Happy 2015 to my reader, and thanks for stopping by.

 Wouldn't it be good if we could clear away some linguistic clutter in 2015? I don't mean the simply daft stuff, I mean the misleading phrases and euphemisms. Here's a few:

Future-proof.  On the cover of "Broadleaf," the Woodland Trust magazine, I read "Future-proof: building a blueprint for the woods of tomorrow." Well-meaning, successful organisation - it doesn't need to write such bollocks. (Apart from any other consideration, a blueprint is a drawing, from which you create a building. You don't need to build a blueprint...)

The idea that we can proof anything, especially the natural environment, against future changes is foolishly misleading. 

An ex-Snowdonia National Park environmental officer made it clear to me that the natural environment never keeps still. Conservation doesn't flash-freeze things as they happen to be at that moment. We can of course protect our woodland, in the here and now.

The reason why I think this nonsense is misleading is because if we cannot accept, indeed live in and with, the understanding that everything is always changing, we stand no chance of leading sane and rewarding lives. The more we cling, the faster we will perceive "it" as changing and the more panicky we will feel, whatever "it" might be. "It" will flow away from us even more quickly. The phrase "future proof" comes, I think, from the computer industry. "nuff said. Let's bin it.

Saving the planet. Whatever we do, the planet will be fine, rolling on through space for billions more years, unless there is a truly vast collision with something much bigger than it. 

We won't necessarily be fine at all. Hubris doesn't help. We need to live with natural systems, degrade our support environment less, and so on, if we are to save our civilization, and ultimately the species, from premature wipe-out. But saving or destroying the planet is beyond us. Even a nuclear war wouldn't destroy it. It would simply destroy us, and very many other life forms. We need to keep our actions in sharp focus, within the limits of what we can do, if our civilization in to thrive and continue, until - ha! You can't, ultimately, future-proof our ways of life.

1 comment:

  1. A very happy new year to you, too, GM, from one of your many readers! My hope for all those who fail to future-proof the planet is that they find closure.