Life in Peril
There is no question. Life in the biosphere is in peril. Not just at the hands of human economic activity, but nature runs in cycles, a self organizing system of life, with cycles vastly older than the existence of our species. The human species has their own sense of cyclical life, their finite natures rule their lives, but this has not stopped them from considering that the Earth that sustains them is affected by them.
Earth is in fact in the beginning of a 100,000 year orbital pulse which places us at the beginning of the next 100,000 year ice age cycle. This beginning stage lasts 10,000 years, referred to as the temperamental Holocence, in which there is a warming cycle, we are in this stage. However, this is a precious and delicate system, and the activities of the human species are accelerating this warming process which can affect the greater system of life upon which we are dependent.
-There are fourteen gases in the atmosphere; gases such as carbon dioxide and methane are called greenhouse gases because like a greenhouse they keep heat from escaping back to space. Methane traps a lot of heat, but it is much rarer than carbon dioxide. Carbon dioxide stays in the atmosphere for 100 years.
-The biggest source for carbon dioxide emission is coal burning plants for energy purposes, and the burning of fossil fuels which includes oil.
-1 ton of coal burned = 4 tons of carbon dioxide emitted.
With developing nations such as China and India the increase in emitted Carbon Dioxide that stays in the atmosphere for 100 years cannot be sustained by the delicate balance of gases that make up our atmosphere. Developed Nations need to share Greener technologies with these developing and underdeveloped nations to prevent massive disruption to the biosphere.
-The twentieth century, a blip of geological time, may be an early stage in a mass extinction, the likes of which have occurred five times since life on earth began. (J.R. MacNeill, “Forest, Fish, and Invasions”)
-The greatest of these extinction spasms happened about 245 million years ago and swept away perhaps nine-tenths of main species, followed by one about 65 million years ago that ended the reign of dinosaurs and paved the way for mammals.
-Previous extinction spasms derived from unknown causes, but the modern one is different in that its cause is obvious: a rogue mammal’s economic activity. Nothing of the sort has ever happened before in Earth’s history.
-Every 200 years or so, on average, a mammal ought to go extinct, but since Human exploration, settlement of new lands, forest clearance, and hunting quickened the pace, since AD 1600, at least 484 animals and 654 plants have gone extinct.
-Once these systems are thrown off balance they begin collapsing, and when too many of the smaller systems collapse it triggers a tipping point in which the larger systems are then affected and catastrophic apocalyptic events will forever alter the Earth that we rely and live upon.
We are not in control of anything accept our own actions. This ancient system of self organizing life will react to any unprecedented changes and self organize to create a new cycle of equilibrium; possibly destroying the very delicate system of life which sustains the human species in the interim. Not a malicious or conscious act, but an act of cyclical adaptation that we must be aware of in order to live in accordance with Earth and all her systems.