A recent episode of the popular BBC programme TopGear featured a race to the North Pole between a traditional sled and a heavily modified Toyota pick-up truck. It was the first time a car had been driven to the North Pole.
The show made great television but ultimately it was a depressing demonstration of human stupidity. The show had no value other than the ‘entertainment’ of television viewers.
As always with this kind of stupidity the impression was given that this was a heroic event; man against the elements, striving to prove the unrivaled courage and determination of the human species.
It was, of course, no such thing. The ‘stars’ of the show were supported and protected by a large group of other humans with more vehicles, aircraft, film crews and mechanics.
Much was made of the courage of the ‘stars’ as they struggled through bear infested country. In fact they were never in any danger whatsoever. They were armed with what the programme production notes described as a plentiful supply of “anti-bear weaponry.”
Should any of these magnificent beasts get in the way of this human entertainment they would have been blasted into eternity.
Television programmes of this sort have a powerful influence on human behaviour. If a highly respected institution like the BBC thinks it’s ok to exploit endangered environments for ‘entertainment’ then ordinary people cannot be blamed if they follow the example.
I can just imagine the reaction of a bored Mr. and Mrs. Yuppie who have been to all the usual holiday resorts and are determined to outdo the Jones’ this year.
“Darling, why don’t we do that. We can take all the family and have wonderful time.”
I’ll get right on it dear, I’ll have James modify the Merc tomorrow.”
Businessmen are probably already planning the construction of staging posts to accommodate tourists – hotels, car parks, fuel depots and of course lots of anti-bear weaponry.
I have long held the view that the human brain is not sufficiently evolved to ensure the survival of the species. While we have the ability to realise the massive damage we’re causing to the environment we do not have sufficient brain cells to actually take effective action to prevent the process.
That leaves only one question. Will we kill ourselves off before we kill everything else?
I hope so.