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All Good Things

It's time to reimagine that popular phrase
Robin Ward

Maybe you’re just leaving your friends’ new house. They’d invited you around for housewarming drinks. It was a wonderful, candle-lit night. Laughing, drinking, eating. Or perhaps you’re sitting on the train back from a weekend break. The time you’ve spent away from the city you’re cherishing as you hurtle through the green countryside, suburbs, and eventually back to the heat of it all. In these moments, a phrase comes to you... A short saying, perfect in its summarising of accepting that even the best of times are finite. All good things must come to an end.

But must they? The phrase is so popular we don’t question. While Nelly Furtado’s ‘All Good Things (Come To An End)’ is an example of something that perhaps should have - alas, now immortalised on YouTube - there is of course one thing we would like to keep forever. Our world.

Our world is a good thing. Mostly. If we need reminding, a fifth watch of ‘Our Planet’, and Attenborough’s voice can help us recall the stunning natural beauty and variety of Earth. Yet it’s a place that everyday we are disregarding. Plastic fills our oceans and carbon clogs our skies.

If you’re here, you probably already know a thing or two about living sustainably. But let’s note that even in it’s more or less convenient forms, it’s ultimately the answer to balancing our lives with consumption of natural resources. The waste we’re leaving behind on our planet is doing more than just blocking waterways and compromising habitats - it’s seriously affecting our planet’s ability to sustain us indefinitely. This is why our world is the exception to the rule - not all good things can come to an end.

Sustainable living allows us to maintain our world for the good thing it is. It’s no longer just a preference, it’s a necessity to live lives that keep the planet in ‘liveable’ conditions for future generations. Even our most vital resource, water, is set to totally dry up by 2040 if we keep using it the way we are.

In a way it’s a matter of perspective. Whether one chooses a vegetarian main over sirloin steak is not really the preference I’m calling out here (as harmful as the meat industry can be). No, it’s that seeing the world as an infinite resource is a mistake. It’s a mistake because without our everyday choices being informed by their future environmental impact, our world will come to an end.

The saying All good things must come to an end would have us accept our over-consumption, happily waving goodbye to our world as it goes up in flames. But by seeing our planet as the exception to this rule, we say ‘It’s not acceptable that our habitat cannot sustain us’. We say ‘Our world must not come to an end’. We say ‘Attenborough was right all along’.