Quo vadis, humanity? In our lifetime, we are witness to unparalleled planetary destruction that has caused a great deal of havoc and dysfunction in our “civilized” world.
Our supreme advantage in the food chain has brought about dire results, an exorbitant price we can no longer afford: As the top predator species in the planet, man graduated to being the ultimate terminator in inflicting mayhem on animals, his fellow men and his very planet. We have indeed become our Earth’s worst nightmare.
Consider the following: every week, as much as a thousand species of life are extinguished by man’s activities, such as hunting, animal trade, food industry, industrial pollution and urbanization. All told, tens of millions of species are now extinct, due to man’s insatiable appetite for food and material gain.
Rain forests-home to teeming ecological biodiversity that is crucial to the balance of nature, and that provide healing, medicinal compounds to injured or ailing lives-are disappearing at an alarming rate and their replacements are far too little and too late to reverse the depletion rate.
Deforestation depletes thirteen million hectares of tropical trees annually from the Earth, about the size of the big state of Illinois.
60,000 TREES EQUALS 1 SUNDAY NEWSPAPER
It is a shocking, sobering thought that a Sunday edition of my favorite newspaper, the New York Times, purportedly require newsprint from an equivalent of over 60,000 felled trees (that may never be replaced).
During the last 4 decades, the planet’s coral reefs, the nursery of the ocean’s marine life have been reduced by as much as 50%, thanks to industrial pollution, illegal fishing and illegal sale of corals.
Climatic change, with catastrophic consequence, is rapidly taking place on Earth as man-made activities dangerously weaken our planet’s protective pittsburgh pirates hawaiian shirt of ozone high above the atmosphere. Except for die-hard conservative cynics clinging to their opposing views, the debate is largely over as glaciers disappear from such disparate places as the Himalayas, Greenland, the Alps, the Andes, and the arctic region.
An excellent read into the implications of all these extinctions can be gleaned from the following warning by geologist-priest, Thomas Berry:
“The devastation of the planet that we are bringing about is negating some hundreds of millions, even billions of years of past development on the Earth…a change unparalleled in Earth history.”
A HISTORY OF PUGNACITY AND PLUNDER
Like geologists and paleontologists peering into the future by decoding the past from millennia of rock formations and buried fossil remains of animals and plants, historians and sociologists sifting through the human record have a lot of evidence in their hands with which to draw a faithful portrait of humanity.
It is obvious we are not a wimpy lot. In fact, we seem to take great delight zapping one another: man’s brief 5,000 years of recorded history are marked by a senseless legacy of murderous feuds, assassinations, power struggles, pogroms, killing fields, and wars. Peaceful times are too few and far between. And those times do not mean the absence of war and hostilities but only their reduction. The two World Wars in modern history, resulting in the deaths of over a hundred million soldiers and civilians, underline man’s bestiality and inhumanity to man.
It is true that the end of the cold war in the late eighties and the replacement of orthodox communist ideology with capitalistic features have brought about increased cooperation between the great powers and greatly reduced the prospect of a nuclear Armageddon. But a raging ‘conflict of civilization,’ between Islam and the West now threatens world peace, with its own brand of violence and terror, unparalleled in history. Rogue states and terrorist organizations with global reach are major players in the new world order.
Man’s gargantuan consumption of fossil fuel threatens his civilization, if not existence. Unchecked global warming would mean, in the foreseeable future, the inundation of great cities and coastal areas throughout the world where most people live and work, and the decimation of countless species.
With an exploding global population, a water world would trigger a mad stampede for scarce higher land and dwindling food supply. A Darwinian nightmare, with no-holds barred, would descend upon us.
Only the very fittest can survive such a grim scenario.
write by Elfleda