I’ve always considered myself somewhat of a big-picture optimist. My whole life I’ve believed that things tend to work themselves out for the best, or at least the way they should.
Being a history geek, the natural ebb and flow of growth and decline is comfortable, familiar territory. After all, there have been many instances throughout the history of humankind when the learned and wise despaired for the survival of their descendants. Thundering hoards of stabby invaders and bubonic plague will do that to you.
Viewing the long-game has always provided a certain amount of calming reassurance about our future survival, along with the fact that humanity has always rebounded with amazing resiliency.
Through the course of human history, all conquerors are eventually conquered. Mighty empires collapse while others rise in their place. One force is vanquished as another ascends to dominance.
Lather, rinse, repeat every few centuries.
So life goes on, albeit with a different pecking order, but humanity as a whole survives and continues to perpetuate the cycle and maintain some level of cosmic balance.
The problem with this philosophy at the dawn of the 21st century is an issue our predecessors never had to consider — the spectre of irreversible climate change.
Even up until ten years ago catastrophic climate change was still an avoidable scenario. We had a little wiggle room to stem the worst effects of man-made environmental damage if we’d immediately implemented due diligence. Instead, repeated dire warnings from the scientific community have gone unheeded and we continue to trash the place like we carry a few spare planet earths in our back pocket.
Our stubborn refusal to correct our mistakes has ramped up the damage to our environment at a rate even climate scientists did not foresee. Yet we persist with our continued dependence on fossil fuels and have added fracking to the mix, destabilizing the earth we stand on as well as the air we breathe.
And no, climate change cannot be attributed to the normal cycles of heating and cooling the planet naturally experiences over thousands of years. Since the dawn of the Industrial Revolution less than two hundred years ago the actions of humans have led to non-organic warming of our atmosphere with the relative speed of freight train versus tortoise.
This is a completely new scenario in human history. We’ve suffered through and triumphed over plagues and wars and pestilence but the very survival of our planet as we know it has never been a factor until this point.
And the real kicker? It’s not like we’re being blindsided. We have had more than ample opportunity to rectify our actions, avert the worst of the damage, and ensure we have reliable sources of sustainable energy going forward. But why have we not?
The answer is simple and horrific. A very few obscenely wealthy people became obscenely wealthy people by exploiting our planet’s resources, jeopardizing the future of all life on earth. The real question is why are we allowing this handful of elites to drag us to our doom?
If there’s any single factor that points to our demise as a species on Planet Earth it’s climate change caused by greenhouse gases. We’re right at, or even past, the tipping point. The common folk of this era have a moral responsibility to stop this madness for the sake of our kids and grand-kids.
Gaia will survive the punishment we’ve inflicted on her, but her headstrong children are poised to go the way of the dinosaur. We simply can’t allow that.
We don't need to search for solutions. We just need to implement them. Now. Today. And not let anyone or anything stand in our way.
Where there is life, there is hope.
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