Anna Golden – What The World Needs Now

What The World Needs Now

I get a blank and I start to draw. On the left of my page I draw a clear blue river, on the right a luscious green forest. In the centre I draw a brightly coloured meadow with flowers of every colour imaginable – red poppies, white daisies, blue forget-me-nots, yellow sunflowers, pink pansies, the list is endless. In the background I draw a mountain reaching up to a bright blue sky.

What the world needs now is life and a way of life. Soon, fish sparkle in the river, rabbits play in the meadow, birds of prey circle the mountain, a bear hides in the woods and a human enters the picture for the first time. A natural food chain is established and everyone learns to adapt, to evolve. That is until the human gets greedy. I build them a hut of wattle and daub and I plant them a field of healthy crops. If only, that would have satisfied them.

What the world needs now is something to believe in. I build a church in the meadow alongside which a small town springs up. I give them a flag, which is flown proudly from various important buildings. You’d think that would be enough but soon people are asked where their loyalties lie. To prove themselves they go to war. I draw in the posters with slogans of ‘Stand up For What You Believe In!’ or ‘Your Country Needs You!’ followed by ‘Sign Up Today For the Adventure of Your Lifetime!’ Off the chivalrous, young men of the world go for ‘the adventure of a lifetime,’ and that it is because few of them ever make a reappearance in my picture. Those that do, come back to a broken town. A town in the process of building a war memorial and attempting to rebuild their lives without their husbands, brothers, fathers and sons.

What the world needs now is jobs. I demolish the peaceful rural cottages. In what was once the beautiful meadow with an abundance of colourful flowers I build a city. A city with cheap, compact, uniform housing. In order to do this I knock down the trees of my once luscious forest. More and more people are added to the picture to work in the factories and the coal, where coal was discovered under the mountain. The city’s water source is the river, which is soon tinted an unpleasant black colour. The sky too begins to loose its colour as it is polluted by smoke rising from the factories. The world is now so dull it is practically black and white.

What the world needs now is efficiency. I give it electricity. I light up the streets with streetlights. I design cars, buses, trams and even electric bicycles to get around. I give everyone phones to communicate. Phone and electricity wires now crisscross the streets, continuing out into the countryside. I knock down the old cramped houses and replace them with even more cramped apartment complexes and office blocks in the city centre. Everyone seems content and the streets bustle with activity. One might wonder what the world needs now.

What the world needs now is bigger, smaller, cooler, prettier, newer, nicer, cheaper, better. I give people bigger houses in the growing suburbs, smaller phones on hand at all times, cooler boys straight from the gym, prettier girls straight from the beauty salon, newer cars to guzzle more fuel, nicer clothes with fancy brand names and cheaper food by ripping off the farmers in the poorest areas in the word. Everything is improving, getting better, so what could the world possibly need now?

What the world needs now is sustainability and equality. I make more efficient cars that use less petrol. I erect posters asking people to conserve water and electricity. I put a flyer through every mailbox outlining how people can help our fragile eco-system. I build windmills on top of the mountains. I send people with high-vis vests around to jangle buckets in peoples’ faces; begging for any spare change to help their cause. I parade an animal rights group down the main street. I organize a church gate collection for all the starving people in the world who don’t know when or even if their next meal is coming. I notice that people ignore these collections and as for the posters and the flyers, forget it (They were always destined for the bin, recycling if we’re lucky)! I suppose it’s a start but a lot of work still needs to be done towards “sustainability and equality.”

What the world needs now is a rubber or maybe the more American version of the word, eraser, is more apt. First I rub out the factory and the cars polluting the atmosphere. I fill the collections with five-hundred-Euro notes. I rub out the war memorial remembering lives that should never have been lost in the first place. I rub out the flags and the church; everybody is equal and should be loyal to each other and the earth not divided by borders and beliefs. I rub out the office clocks where people spend countless hours working out taxes and pensions. I rub out the fancy phones, the gyms, the salons and the brand names. I go a step further and I rub out the extravagant and not so extravagant houses that used so much of the world’s resources to build. I take the final step and I rub out the humans who caused this mess, even the ones in the high-vis vests. They’re not innocent, they drive their cars, they own a fancy house and buy products from the factories in countries with no workers rights. Anyway if I rub out the people there’s no poor people left to be ripped of or treated unfairly.

I look at what’s left and I see a shell of a world. The river has shrunk to less than half its original volume of water and has rubbish floating along the top. The forest is practically non-existent. The sky is all polluted. The mere memory of the meadow has long since been forgotten by what if …. What if I could reverse the whole process? Go back to before the world needed anything. When the river was clear, the sky was bright, the meadow was colourful and the forest was luscious.

The question is “Would, I, Would you? If you had the rubber would you keep going with the slow process towards “sustainability and equality” or would you peel back the layers and leave the world as it was before humans came and became greedy, got rid of all the developments, discoveries and progress humans have made in the world?”
Think about it!

By Anna Golden
Junior Cert. Student,
Salerno, Salthill

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