ALAN BOYLE NBC NEWS
Scientists Build Case for 'Sixth Extinction' ... and Say It Could Kill Us
Even conservative calculations show the world is in the midst of a sixth mass extinction that's being caused by our species -- and is likely to lead to humanity's demise if unchecked, scientists reported Friday.
". . . the human species itself could eventually fall victim to the sixth extinction.
"If it is allowed to continue, life would take millions of years to recover, and our species itself would disappear early on."
Turn it around or leave. We cannot successfully adapt to the downwardly spiraling environment, that we are causing, by somehow getting used to it, following it to a point of total collapse and hoping to survive.
Strategy one: turn it around. But how? Leave it to the leaders, i.e., business, political, scientific/technical? Not much going on there, other than, "business as usual", while predictable committees discuss and debate the reality of what is, in fact, happening, real-time now.
Up to this point, world leaders, along with their attendant committees, commissions, councils, research groups, etc. have compiled sufficient data to bring near unanimous agreement on the reality that human activity is pushing the balance of elements in the global environment to a mass extinction scenario. This is not the voice of an alarmist fringe. It is the establishment. There is no pause button.
Are we simply automata, sleepwalkers, choreographed by the impersonal designs of vast industries and their political facilitators, whose only measure of worth is the dollar and to whom, the world is nothing more than a commodity to be exploited in whatever fashion yields the greatest profit for the least investment? Are we waiting to be "led" out of this disaster by those who orchestrated it? Do we not, as individuals, have the ability to "wake up" and "see" a world, once resplendent with life and health, now toxic and destabilized; accelerating into a a mass extinction event, due to our inability to grasp the simplest reality of the connection and equality of all things in nature? Despite all of the reports and studies, complete with dire warnings, compiled by the world's "greatest experts", the only net change is an increase in the toxic output driving environmental collapse.
Perhaps, the problem is that we are struggling with solutions to deal exclusively with the effects of destructive human activity rather than facing and unraveling the causes, the flawed and distorted views, that underlie human behavior.
The lens through which we see the world has delivered a distorted and fictional view of planet earth, a warehouse of resources, a vast table, set for exclusive human consumption and exploitation; a world created for and given to us by a creator who made man in his own image.
Now, the planetary biosphere, having absorbed the toxicity generated by humanity living this fiction, approaches a critical point. Deep, core changes threaten to end all life, including ours, and they are accelerating.
The historical view was neither good nor bad, right nor wrong. Just fictional and unsustainable.
Strategy two: leave. The movement in the leave option is in the direction of Mars. Follow the money: NASA, DARPA, SpaceX, etc. Public and private development and investment taking place on this front is toward the establishment of a sustainable, habitable human colony on Mars.
It may be feasible. The big if, of course, is whether an effective, much faster, delivery system can be developed to transport the people, technology and infrastructure components to Mars that will be necessary to terraform or construct a habitable, sustainable base colony. Is all of this possible in the time available? Unlikely. If so, who gets to go and run the show? Take a wild guess. The same individuals and organizations who led the ruin of this world? Would we really be leaving, if we take our same, failed perspectives and attitudes to our brave new world on Mars? More than likely, a predictable replay: competition, greed, expansion, militarization, war. Earth redux produced, directed by, and starring the usual suspects?
The unavoidable conclusion that shakes out of the current situation of ongoing environmental collapse and mass extinction, is that a species dedicated to war and self serving exploitation, at all costs, is destined to fail, in the evolutionary sense of survival. We have, through years of relentless destruction, unbalanced and altered the composition and pattern of core elements in the global environment. Our activity, guided by mistaken and distorted attitudes and beliefs concerning man and his relationship to nature. As long as these fictions remain in play, as the platform for human behavior, survival seems unlikely. All moral judgements aside, the prevailing mindset, simply doesn't work.
These perspectives are developed more fully in Joseph Carlisi's book, "Playing God on the Eve of Extinction", which is available from Amazon.
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