I often marvel at statements like “We have to save the Earth”. Let’s get real this planet has been around for about 4 billion years and it will probably be around for at least another couple billion years. It’s future is dependent on what our Sun does when it goes from the current state to either being a Nova or a dense mass that has incredible gravitational mass.
We cannot destroy or save the earth. What we can do is sustain or destroy structures of our habitat. We live on a planet that has an atmosphere that is conducive for life. We have water that sustains and allows life to be present. If there is one constant in the history of life on this planet and it is evolution and the adaptation of life to a changing environment.
We as a species have this notion that we can manipulate nature to meet our needs and in doing so we have consumed resources that have taken millions of years to form. Our dependence on fossil fuels is like borrowing assets from a bank that was formed long ago and does not have infinite resources.
Saving the earth really means can we save our habitat. Humans do not have the capabilities to destroy this planet. We could take all of our nuclear weapons and not destroy this planet. What we would do is destroy the ability for most human and animal life to exist. This planet would survive, however we wouldn’t.
We as a species seem to be romping towards our extinction or a massive kill off of ourselves. We are changing the chemistry of the atmosphere with higher levels of CO2 and Methane and in doing this we are changing the chemistry of the oceans. We are reducing land that is able to support the growing of foods and have strained the fisheries in the oceans. By changing the atmospheric and ocean chemistries we have set in motion the increase in sea levels and weather patterns.
The question is not saving the planet rather can we adapt to the changes in our atmosphere and oceans. Can we change the way we produce and use energy. Can we adapt what and how we consume nutrients? Can we adapt to the geopolitical changes that are precipitated by climate change?
It doesn’t matter if we agree or disagree with the science of climate change. The issue is can we adapt to the current and future changes in the atmosphere and oceans. What is clear is our burning fossil fuels at the current rate will create a higher concentration of greenhouse gasses. We seem to think that climate change will suddenly appear and we will have to face Armageddon. What we fail to notice is that we are seeing it now and it will just keep evolving. All you have to do is look at places that are experiencing extended droughts. Look at the shrinking ice masses in the Polar Regions. Look at increasing temperatures in Alaska and the shortening of the winter season. Climate change is occurring now. It will not suddenly appear out of nowhere.
If you are a liberal and care about the environment, don’t say we need to save the planet. We can’t do this; rather we can lead the way in sustaining our habitat. We need to look in a mirror and see the culprit and ask can we change the way we consume energy and resources. Do we need the latest Android or iPhone? Can we use less gasoline or reduce our consumption of electricity. Do we need the larger house or can we downsize. Do we need the latest fashions or can we make our clothes last a little longer. Can we limit the purchase of things that have excessive packaging? Can we recycle more and demand that packaging is made of recycled materials. Do we need to have every light on in our home on or can we save electricity. Can we look into smart technology that will not have appliances and entertainment equipment on constant standby?
We need to be realistic, our environment is changing and the real issue is how we adapt to the changes. We are going to face serious geopolitical conflicts. People are and will migrate from areas that have adverse climate change. This will strain resources and this will create conflict. Our species is not known for its altruistic nature in openly sharing resources.
The only thing we can save is our habitat and we are failing at this.