“What matters is what matters to us.”
By the time I left work I had pages upon pages of ideas, notes and references; most of them scribbled down during sleepless nights, idle periods at my desk and on the train travelling to and from London. I also had a very simple idea – something so simple that it just had to be right:
In essence, it means that unless we are able to consciously experience something, then it doesn’t matter. That seems reckless, at best, but there was a mirror to this: because – and it became increasingly clear as I was writing the first part of the book – humans are being adversely affected, directly and indirectly by the actions of humanity.
If it could be made clear that it really was ourselves who matter most of all to us, it would be incontrovertible that we have to do something about the problems we have created.
It would entirely go against what it means to be human if we knowingly ignored what was happening.
In order to make it totally obvious that there was a lot more unsettling stuff going on than most of us realised, I then had to look into all sorts of different areas for evidence of the effects of our activities upon human beings: forget, for a moment, that species are being wiped out every day and that habitats are being destroyed; what was most astonishing of all was that almost everything we were doing was affecting something else at some scale or another, and it was coming back to bite us.
Whatever I read about, at every scale imaginable – bacteria, insects, birds, fish, trees, entire global ecosystems – it kept coming back with the same answer: we were causing our own demise.
The title was born: A Matter Of Scale.