The famous  English poet John Donne1 had it very clear: we are all interconnected. And he found a way of expressing so, that still arouses admiration four centuries later:

No man is an island,
Entire of itself.
Each is a piece of the continent,
A part of the main.
If a clod be washed away by the sea,
Europe is the less.
As well as if a promontory were.
As well as if a manor of thine own
Or of thine friend’s were.
Each man’s death diminishes me,
For I am involved in mankind.
Therefore, send not to know
For whom the bell tolls,
It tolls for thee.

Of course, renaissance anthropocentrism and eurocentrism show high in this beautiful piece of poetry, but the basic message is transcendent: we are all interdependent.

In 21st century knowledge and conscience, we must take into account this wisdom. We now know we are all interconnected: not only humans, but all living beings. Let me recall the UN resolution that states that countries ‘recognize that Mother Earth is a common expression for the planet earth in a number of countries and regions, which reflects the interdependence that exists among human beings, other living species and the planet we all inhabit’.

This planetary conscience comes at a time when many living species of this interconnected planet are in danger of extinction. As a matter of fact, we are loosing biodiversity at a rate of more than 100 species per million species a year, over a hundred times faster than the natural extinction rate. As all the species are interconnected, those extinctions will inevitably lead to even more losses.

Also humanity is a part of this interconnection. Albert Einstein warned already – probably exemplifying – that after bees would go extinct, humankind would have only four years of survival. And what if at this precise moment a species is becoming extinct that determines the survival of bees?

I would now rephrase John Donne:

Each species’ death diminishes me,
For I am involved in Mother Earth.
Therefore, send not to know
For whom the bell tolls,
It tolls for thee.


[1] John Donne (1572 – 31 March 1631): English poet, satirist, lawyer, and priest.

1 Comment

  1. I feel compelled to write a comment on your above work.

    Long has man stuck his head in the sand and ignored what is happening to his home. For far too long have we tried to be our own island with little regard to not only our fellow human beings but also to our neighbours on this planet, the animals. They can’t change what man has done to this environment, but man can but we are too selfish to do without something that “I need”.

    The human race is very clever and it has created so many marvels to enjoy, literature, music, sciences and philosophy – truly wonderful accomplishments.

    But we haven’t found a way to be considerate of others, and we haven’t found a way to eat money which we may have to try doing before much longer because we can’t continue to bleed this planet dry of all usable entities

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