Monday, March 02, 2015

The End is Near!

I hate to sound like one of those old religious fanatics that the media used to parody back in the 50s and 60s. But the end really is near.

Humans have been rending the ecosystems that birthed us for a long time. Our presence here wasn't a problem for Mother Earth until we developed technology. And it wasn't terribly complicated technology that started our rapacious destruction. Something as simple as stone spearheads and fire and organized hunting led to the first mass extinctions at our hands. You can track megafauna destruction across all of the continents (except for Africa) by following the spread of Homo sapiens sapiens as we moved into new territories outside of our native continent (the aforementioned Africa).

The removal of major species is bad enough, but since the 1800s we've been tearing at the actual fabric of the planet and the situation has reached a point where the systems just can't take any more abuse. We're now eating the crust of the planet and vomiting hundreds of millions of years worth of sequestered carbon into the atmosphere. If you think we're going to just walk away from this crime with no penalty, you are mistaken.

These days it's not just a situation of us taking down the animal companions with whom we've shared the planet for the past 100,000 or so years. We continued to multiply and spread long after we'd exterminated the Mammoths, the Wooly rhinos, the Glyptodonts, the Megatherium, the saber-toothed cats, Diprotodon, Aepyornis, the Marsupial lion...I could draw up a list that would run into the thousands. The problem now is that we've passed a threshold and it's not just that we're killing everything that is wild and dependent upon untouched ecosystems. We've hit the point where the planet has changed and it's not just ceasing to support the animals--It's going to stop supporting us, too.

I keep reading about pipe dreams idiots have of going to Mars and terraforming it. Hell...we can't even care for the planet for which we evolved to live. What makes anyone think that we can take an already poisonous place completely inimical to life and exist there? The idea is insane, and part of the constant misdirection we have to suffer while Earth is ravaged and depleted for the benefit of such a few at the expense of so many.

I keep repeating this answer when people ask me (and a lot of people do ask me), why I spend so much time hiking and backpacking into wilderness areas. And it's because I want to see these places while they're still relatively intact. I don't mean to imply that I am going to live to see them all collapse around us, but they are going, and they are going quickly. If you haven't seen a truly wild place and the plants and animals that exist in them, then I suggest that you do so. Because they're coming apart at the seams. Everything that men do is destructive and if you wish to see it before it's too late...time is short.

Will your children or your grandchildren live to see a planet with no elephants, no tigers, no wolves, no butterflies, no bees, no redwood trees? Probably. And what then?

Briefly: We were warned. And quite frankly there's nothing to be done about it, now. Of course I've known this for many years, and it's why I will continue to do my best to see what's left before it's all gone.

As for your grandchildren...they're screwed. Remember to thank one of our energy corporations. But what you really need to do is drag those board members and executives out of their homes and hang them from the nearest power line.

The end isn't "near". It's already here.





3 comments:

Vicki said...

Excellent post.

This says it all:

"The problem now is that we've passed a threshold and it's not just that we're killing everything that is wild and dependent upon untouched ecosystems. We've hit the point where the planet has changed and it's not just ceasing to support the animals--It's going to stop supporting us, too."

Alan Synnott said...

Here here. We have just heard that the last complete Banded Iron Stone range in Australia (and possibly the world) is under threat of open cut mining. This area supports several species of plant found nowhere else in the world.
http://iview.abc.net.au/programs/landline/NC1532Q005S00#playing at 47 mins.

Make the most of the great outdoors as we do as we agree with you James... its will all too soon be all gone!

James Robert Smith said...

Australia's ecosystems, from what I've gathered through my reading, are among the most mortally wounded on the planet. So many species exterminated, so many in danger. There's no fixing it.