#231: A Truck-Turned-Bush

Apocalyptic thoughts on an object claimed by nature

Nature is beautiful, remarkable, and downright stubborn. The scenes of apocalyptic novels and films frequently depict the truth that, while our human-made objects may seem grand, impressive, and long-lasting, nature will outlast them. When they sit abandoned or broken, time comes with its ravages. Ruins are created, and nature thrives.

If you haven’t noticed from all the media coverage, our planet is suffering the effects of climate change. It is suffering under our abundance of plastic, fossil fuels, and destructive acts of deforestation. The facts are there: if we keep up what we’re doing, we won’t have a planet to destroy for much longer.

The campaigns which focus on these issues talk about the damage we are doing to the planet, the habitats we are destroying, the animals we are bringing to extinction. We are polluting their home.

But the thing is, this earth is our home, too, and what we should be concerned about is ourselves. Because however much damage we do to the planet, something of nature will survive. We have proved ourselves brilliant at extinction, so much so that we seem to be fighting for our own end. Because in reality, the planet will bounce back. Okay, I’m not a scientist, but just look at the ages of time. The planet, and what we think of as nature, will still be here in some form for many thousands of years.

Why this eco rant? Because I found a truck, full of bushes, and started pondering our insignificance in the face of nature. Yes, the natural world is beautiful and stunning, and it is the source of our food and growth and survival, but it does not care for us. And if we stop caring for it, then we won’t be left with much else.

It is a realisation that is proved by this truck-turned-bush. This human-made object has been left and forgotten about. It was probably broken, waiting for a human to come fix it. But in that time of waiting, nature took over. It has found a rather nice home, it seems, in which to thrive. If we took away the truck now, the life inside would be destroyed with it.

This is yet another problem we face when it comes to fighting climate change. Of course, it cannot be simple. We cannot just say ‘Clean the rivers! The oceans! The forests!’ and all will be well. Our trash has been scattered across the natural world, and the natural world is trying to live in and around it — and by doing so, it becomes part of it. This realisation was made by the Creekside Discovery Centre, when they tried to remove the shopping trolleys from this city river, and discovered that the fish population collapsed — they had taken the only ‘houses’ the fish had left, living in a river with no foliage at the water’s edge.

Climate change is a big problem, and big problems are not easy to solve. I don’t have much of a solution for you — I wish I did. Instead, I keep trying to teach myself to do the little things. Recycle that piece of paper, use a reusable coffee cup, turn off the light. I am on the lookout for more actions I can do, even as I feel like bigger changes are needed, because this planet is close to my heart.

But until then, I think about this overrun truck, and remember that as much as I love this planet, I’m worried about climate change for my own self. The planet will be fine, it will re-create itself in new ways, like it has done for centuries. It’s us humans I’m worried about.

Katie writes a weekly blog post about random objects that she finds in her everyday life. If you’re interested in reading more, check out her blog Object, a collaboration with fellow Medium blogger Eleanor, and sign up for the monthly newsletter (containing exclusive content) below. You can also follow us on Twitter at @ObjectBlog.