First of all, what needs to be understood in the conversation about climate destruction is that this has the more grievous consequences for the survival of the human race itself. It’s not just the polar bears. It’s not just the ice caps. It’s the future of the human race.
Now whatever happens, nature will survive. In the Earth’s 4.5 billion years of existence, nature has endured 5 major mass extinctions that destroyed most of the life on the planet (at least 60%), and nature will survive humanity, even if it takes a couple hundred thousand or million years for nature to get back on track. However, it is not certain that humanity itself will survive.
Today, mankind is presiding over what scientists are unanimously describing as a sixth major mass extinction event.
According to the Living Planet Report put out in 2014 by the World Wildlife Fund, humans have killed up to half of the wildlife on the planet in the last 40 years (World Wildlife Fund). And according to the Living Planet Report put out in 2016, this level of decline could increase to two-thirds by 2020. And now a recent study 2018 has said that humans have killed off 83% of wild mammals.
What is also terrifying is that the Permian Extinction (the most deadly extinction event on Earth) may have been caused by circumstances similar to the causes of global warming today. A team of researchers from Canada, Italy, Germany and the US say they have discovered what caused the Permian Extinction. According to a paper published in the journal Palaeoworld, volcanic eruptions pumped large amounts of carbon dioxide into the air, causing average temperatures to rise by eight to 11°C. This melted vast amounts of methane that had been trapped in the permafrost and sea floor, causing temperatures to soar even further to levels lethal to most life on land and in the oceans.
Professor Peter Wadhams, head of the Polar Ocean Physics Group at Cambridge University, has said, “If there were a large methane release, which is now possible because of the instability of the methane hydrates underneath the Arctic continental shelves, the off-shore waters, that could quite easily give rise to a very large [methane] pulse.” He was one of the authors of a paper in the journal Nature, which suggested it was possible for a truly vast amount of frozen methane to be released over just 10 years – a blink of an eye in geological terms, which could theoretically lead to similar events that caused the Permian Extinction (Independent).
So this is the key issue we face today. This should be a political focus, a spiritual focus, and a psychological focus of all our current endeavors. Doing what we can to stop this destruction before it is too late.
METAL GAIA ARTICLES
Humans Are Paving the Way for a Sixth Major Mass Extinction (World Future Fund)
Sixth mass extinction: The era of ‘biological annihilation’ (CNN, 7-11-17)
Study: We’ve wiped out half the world’s wildlife since 1970 (VOX, 9-30-14)
Are We in the Midst Of a Sixth Mass Extinction? (New York Times, 6-1-12)
Extinction Threat, A Call to World Leaders at Rio Earth Summit: (CNN World News, 6-20-12)
According to the article above: 41% of amphibians, 25% of mammals, 13% of birds, 30% of conifers and 20% of all plants are all threatened with extinction.
One in Five Mammals Threatened With Extinction (Common Dreams, 11-3-09)
The survival of 17,921 species is in jeopardy.
Almost 50% Of The World’s Primates Are In Danger Of Extinction (CNN, 8-5-08)
Habitat destruction as well as hunting are the greatest threats to primates today.
Currently the 2015 Climate Change Conference is being held in Paris, France. It will go from November 30th – December 11th.
Yet how effective have these climate ‘talks’ been? And is that all it is? Just talk?
Since the first climate summit 20 years ago, carbon dioxide emissions have soared (not decreased) and the pace of destruction is accelerating. Climate scientists say that sea levels, for example, are rising three times faster than predicted and that the Arctic ice is vanishing at rates unforeseen.
If we allow carbon dioxide concentrations to reach 550 ppm, that means the global temperature will continue to rise for at least another century. We have already passed the 400 mark – a figure unseen on earth for 3-5 million years, and in the last ten years, we’ve seen the nine hottest years on record.
But of course greenhouse gasses aren’t the only issue at hand.
The reality is that humans are presiding over an era of mass destruction on planet earth. Scientists are calling the human era (the Anthropocene Age) an era of mass extinction. In 40 short years, our economic systems have destroyed half of the wild life on the planet according to the world wild life fund.
This is not to mention that little is being said by global elites about the most environmentally destructive industry in our time – the agriculture industry. While it was barely mentioned in the climate talks, these big agriculture businesses account for nearly 51% of all worldwide greenhouse gas emissions.
So what we have is an era in which the leaders and elites deliver feel good sound bites and lofty rhetoric. There are always ‘talks’ about change and endless ‘conversations.’ Sure, around twenty countries have taken a pledge to reduce their CO2 emissions, but what rules have been put into place to force these promises into action?
And even if these countries do reduce CO2 emissions, that’s not the complete problem.
The real problem is that today’s societies and governments are based on a system of endless growth that cannot possibly be sustained. The same leaders who deliver happy talk about saving the rain forests and cutting down on greenhouse gas emissions, are the leaders who profit from the machinery of environmental destruction and corporate greed.
The truth is that we cannot live by systems of endless growth on a planet with finite resources.
So the truth is that a corporate cabal has hijacked our democracies and governments. Our so called liberal leaders have done little to nothing to stop the break neck speed of climate change and environmental destruction. Many of the so called liberal reformers who deliver rhetoric about saving the planet and climate change, are also the people who voted yes for the TPP and cheer on fracking. It’s okay, it’s called ‘natural’ gas – so that means it’s natural right? Never mind the fact that this process releases methane into the air, which is 20 times more effective at trapping heat than carbon dioxide.
So in our time we have the growth of environmental fads, such as buying $50 dollar light bulbs and fair trade coffee. Things like this make people feel like they’re doing something without changing the actual infrastructure of the problem.
This would be like if a dragon were flying around, raining hell fire and destruction from above, and people cheered one another on for painting the dragon’s toe nails green (instead of…you know…slaying the dragon).
So a lot of this feel good talk and fake reform is dangerous – more dangerous than doing nothing in some ways. It’s dangerous because it creates the illusion that we’re doing something about our problems, when we’re actually not. This way, people don’t rise up and demand change, because they’re fooled by the lies of the fake reformers.
But the reality is that if people don’t push for REAL change, Mother Nature will push these changes herself. It’ll just be a change that human beings won’t like very much.
The reality is that the coming destruction as a result of humanity’s excesses won’t happen in a linear fashion, as part of some carefully calculated trend. The destruction will happen all at once because our ecosystem is interconnected. It’ll be a widespread domino effect. We’ll see the crash of our food systems, destroyed due to a lack of genetic diversity, and the death of natural pollinators – like the bees. We’ll see the rise of droughts, disease, coastal flooding and mega-storms.
So the reality is that change is coming one way or another.
We can either be a part of the change or be on the receiving end of it.
It would be great if our leaders could peacefully put through needed reforms. And it’s great that people are talking about environmental reform. But if real environmental change doesn’t come, there will be a need in our time for people to put forth new political ideologies – for people to be willing to take down the current infrastructure of runaway corporate greed. This may involve violence. This may involve civil disobedience. But it’s near certain that the people benefiting from the planet’s destruction are not going to stop unless someone makes them stop.
The people presiding over this system are not good people. The problems of today aren’t a temporary hiccup in a gleaming machine of progress. What kind of people would preside over the destruction of half the planet’s wildlife? What kind of people would abide the greatest income inequality of our time? The answer, is sick, disturbed people. These people are spiritually and mentally sick, and they are a byproduct of the fact that the world has been run off of sick religious ideas for a while now.
In our time there is a need to become spiritually attuned to Nature – as our ancestors were in the days of old. Soon Nature will call for warriors to take a stand against evil and greed. Will you heed the call of the Earth?
This Scandinavian production draws on some of the observational strategies of Godfrey Reggio’s Koyaanisqatsi, allowing us to reflect on patterns and phenomena of human and natural existence from both intimate and sweeping viewpoints.
A United Nations Panel has recently released a report starting that climate change could soon become impossible to solve if the world’s nations don’t take the drastic steps necessary to solve the problem. A key problem has been the United State’s reluctance to adopt the Kyoto Protocol as well as the tendency for other countries of the world to drag their feet on environmental matters. The full article states that we have about 15 years left to solve these problems before it is too late.
If we cannot summon the will to solve the critical environmental issues of our time, nature will solve the problem for us….just not in the way that we would like…