Where are we headed? That’s a question that makes my head spin if ever there was one. And, of course, the answer is always: it all depends. Perhaps I should qualify that question with some more precision: where are we, as a species, headed.
We’ve known for a while now that our lifestyles are unsustainable. Our activities are causing major shifts in climate, which are raising the temperature, melting ice caps, which in turn will flood coastal cities comprising 40% of the human population. So to be clear, and blunt, our continuing along this path will lead us to ruin. Only fools and those invested in the present system argue that this isn’t so.
So what can we do to change this? What area should we invest in to alter the path we seem to have chosen? It is my proposition that we must transition into a new era of human thought. Now, before you shake your head sadly and wonder what hippie-dippy crap I’m about to spew, don’t get me wrong, I’m very serious, and it is imperative that we change the way we think about how we live if we are to continue surviving on this planet for the next two hundred years.
We live with basic assumptions, always. All this depends on where we live, of course. I can only tell you the basic assumptions I have while living in Canada. Those assumptions are different for those living in other parts of the world, as the cultures and environment vary, and appear to be as solid as bedrock wherever we are. My assumptions are something like this: There will always be enough food to eat, there will always be “stuff” for me to buy at the store, and there will always be enough natural resources to give me all these things that I either want or need.
But it’s not true. It’s a fantasy born of my own experience, i.e., I’ve always know this, therefore I will always have it. If something came to run out, then it would be an anomaly in my life experience. As I said, if I was living in a poorer country, my experience would be different, my basic assumptions shifted. One assumption that we all, on this planet, take for granted, is that we will always have breathable air. Oxygen has been around for a very long time.
The problem at the moment is that with the rise in temperatures, trees are dying, en masse, and will continue to do so, or we are burning them down to make way for grazing land. What is worse, is that a type of phytoplankton that lives in the sea, which produces much of the oxygen we breathe, can only survive under a certain threshold of temperature. So, once again, to be blunt, if we do not change the way we do things, we will suffocate. It might not be today, or tomorrow, but it might happen in a few generations to our children or grandchildren.
What our tiny human brains cannot comprehend, though, are things that are far away. We were built to understand recurring things and immediate danger. Since we’ve not lived a period of mass extinction, we are not mentally prepared to change, since we do not see the upcoming danger. It’s like a tsunami wave that is still many kilometers away, and all we perceive is a thin line. We might still have time to finish our barbecue before it hits. But hit it will, with the force of a million dump trucks, right into our living rooms.
The question is, who will it hit, and how bad will it be? Will it only extinguish most of the human race, or all of it? Dr. Fermi posited that the reason we may not have encountered other intelligent life out there is because it managed to kill itself off before it was able to spread among the stars. So how can we overcome our own death-wish?
What can we do to ensure the survival of all that we have accomplished, and all that we could become? It takes a shifting in the way we think, and act, and that is the easiest, and the hardest thing to do. The question is: is it worth it for your children and grandchildren to survive? Do you care enough about them to say “yes, we will do something.” Because that’s what it all comes down to.
Now, there are those fools out there who will say: “This is bullshit and scare tactics.” No. No it’s not. Not when 84 percent of scientists say it isn’t. You’re allowed to have your own opinion, but what you can’t have is ownership of the truth when thousands of researchers tell you you’re wrong. Because you are, and you’re part of the problem. When you’re ready to be part of the solution, come on over and start helping, because right now, you’re not.
But for everyone else out there, who want to see our species survive, we have work to do, and to start off with, we must shift away from many things; that’s understood. We all know we should recycle more, and use renewable energies. That’s the basics. But it’s our philosophy of survival that also needs to change, or else we stay on the same path, and whatever slight difference we might make will only be cosmetic, like repainting the Titanic while it’s sinking.
– To be continued.