“The planet is fine. The people are fucked.”
Maybe the title sounds provocative or melodramatic to you. It is something I tend to do. Yet, in this case it is rather too mild.
A more accurate title would be: We kill our children, our grandchildren and 90% of living creatures.
Our planet faces a similar global disaster that took place 251 million years before at the end of the Permian period. The causes are natural in both cases (since everything in existence is part of nature).
The only difference is that this time the catastrophe is brought about (or at least accelerated) by the deeds of a species, the magnificent Homo Sapiens Sapiens, the wise man who is anything but wise, while playing soccer on the brink of the abyss – and total extinction.
But, as George Carlin said: “The planet is fine. The people are fucked”.
The global warming of the planet that hosts us is a fact. Until now, the average temperature has been increased by 0.6 Celsius since the pre-industrial era. You may think it is a long time, but the 200 years of industrialization of the wise man are but a blink of an eye for mother Gaia.
This is nothing compared to what is yet to come. A research of British scientists in 2005 revealed that the doubling of CO2 emissions will increase temperature from 1.9 to 11.5 Celsius compared to the pre-industrial era.
If the average global increase of the temperature exceeds 6 Celsius, then we will be damned proud that we triggered a new mass extinction (with us, the wise monkeys, having secured a prominent place in this “mass”) of the living creatures.
But even if the average global increase is just 1.4 Celsius, we will still face conditions that probably we will be fucked, while the planet will be fine.
Simple things that we have seen in numerous disaster films: A big part of the ice of the Arctic and Antarctica will melt, countries will be flooded. The Gulf Stream will come to a standstill and therefore North Europe will face a new ice age. The temperate zones will be desertified (like the countries around Mare Nostrum, the Mediterranean). The tropical forests will become Savannah (widely spaced, scattered trees, seasonal vegetation). And we should not forget the “extreme weather events”, like the hurricanes that appeared to the South Atlantic, tornados, heatwaves and drought.
These things will cause plagues and famines, massive immigrations and –naturally – wars among the wise monkeys.
When will it happen? I’m sorry to break this to you but it has begun, it is already happening. With any luck, our grandchildren will not be born – because it is definitely a piece of bad luck to be born on a planet hostile to wise monkeys.
How can we stop this? Maybe it is out of our hands now, but the only way would be to reduce the CO2 emissions by 90% (!).
What does this mean? What would a country look like, if it did so? The environmentalist Mayer Hillman answered impulsively to the question saying: “A very poor third world country”.
To stave off the extinction we are heading to we should, for starters, stop NOW the use of hydrocarbons. Can you envision a world free from oil and natural gas? If not, you should visualize it people-free.
Moreover, even if the 100% of the energy we use came from renewable sources (wind, solar, hydroelectric or wave power), still each one of us, the wise, should use significantly less of it.
No more distant trips or pre-cooked meals, no more clothes or furniture or gadget shopping during the discount period.
Reality is here: Without oil, the global economy will collapse. Without furniture from the IKEA and iPhones, the global economy will collapse (again) – as well as our personal life.
What would you choose? A planet for your grandchildren to live on or an outing during the weekend with the car?
You don’t have to answer. There are more important things to stress you like the new president of the USA, the policy of the government or what shall we eat tomorrow.
We’d better say a joke about global warming and our stance on it.
Someone has taken medical examinations and goes to the doctor to get the results.
“I’ve got some good and some bad news”.
“Tell me the good news first”.
“OK. You’ve got a month to live”.
“Are you kidding me? If this is the good news, then what is the bad?”
“The bad news is that I should had informed you a month ago”
Denial-Rage-Negotiation-Depression-Acceptance. Then the doomed man goes to buy something, anything, since it is Black Friday.
We act in a similar way. We are well aware that we stand upon the brink of destruction. The ship is going down and we eat at the restaurant, we have quarrels about sports and we grieve on the internet about the death of an aged singer-actor-politician.
The last few weeks I stumble constantly upon news about the end that is coming faster towards us.
The scientists were terrified to find out that the average temperature in the Arctic Circle was above 0 Celsius. They knew that it was on the cards, but they were expecting it to happen many years later. Obviously the doctor had forgotten to inform them.
In Siberia, huge craters were discovered. They were not made by aliens or meteorites. They are related to global warming.
In Australia, the Great Barrier Reef has lost more than 2/3 of its corals.
And also the average global temperature in 2016 was the highest ever recorded.
At the same time, the president of the USA states that global warming is a hoax, a conspiracy plotted by the Chinese who want to dent the American economy through treaties (for instance the Kyoto protocol).
In Greece they intend to build a plant that burns coal while we consume food that is produced, cooked and packed in other continents and come here via airplanes.
In the final analysis, everything we do adds to global warming whereas we do nothing to delay it (it is too late to avoid it).
Therefore, there are good and bad news about the extinction of our species. The good news is that we’ve got some years to go on. The bad news is that we should have known – and acted accordingly – a few years before.
Goodnight and happy end of mankind.