The Intergovernmental Report on Climate Change earlier this year noted if action is not taken “soon’ the resultant 2C increase in global temperatures will have ‘severe’, and ‘irreversible” impacts on human habitation and economic activity.
Governments, in their desperation to feed the “god of growth” are increasingly making more and bigger foolish decisions that undermine our sustainability as a species on this planet. Take for instance, the ever-increasing taxpayer dollars pouring into oil and gas explorations, or the actions of corporate-resourced governments such as the UK or New Zealand, with their intent to emasculate regulations that protect the environment against corporate interests . Or the potential horrendous environmental impacts of international agreements such as the Trans-Pacific Partnership Agreement (TPPA). The “god of growth” must be fed, regardless of the consequences to our planet and the species who inhabit it.
While climate change gets all the press these days in the media; it should be noted that climate change is just one of a multitude of impacts of homo sapiens’ drive for “progress’ and ‘growth’ over the past 200 years. For those species (including humans) at the sharp end of climate change- those in tropical countries or drier hotter climates, the impacts are likely to be truly horrendous over the next 100 years -and for the next few thousand or perhaps million years beyond that. However what underpins this destruction of our planet is our incurable arrogance that we are somehow “superior” beings who are overlords of the other species on this planet.
It is absolutely undeniable that unless we can co-habitate with the other remaining species that we have not killed off as yet-we too are doomed as a species. We are entirely reliant on other species for our short , medium and long-term survival. No amount of concrete or tar or metal or money can hide this fact. The journey to bio-extinction in the pursuit of profit in New Zealand is just one of countless stories of man’s folly.
What is required is a fundamental shift by all humans on this planet to understand that every other species shares an equal right to life on our little blue ball. Killing off a species or a few million individual sentient beings to make way for a shopping mall, is just nonsensical.
While we may pretend, we have not behaved in any way as caretakers of this planet; we have not behaved rationally and with fore-thought, we have not allowed the blinkers to fall from our eyes to let ourselves see the folly of our shallow understanding that because we are homo sapiens, then anything that does not exist or think like a homosapien is inferior, and not worthy of life, unless it is for our use: for us to kill and eat, or for human tourists to gawp at while they destroy the surrounding environment. A supposed scientific principal which argues that other species are inferior to one particular species whose “superiority” is based on the core attributes of that one species and no other, is a rather dubious piece of scientific endeavour! This superficial belief, called anthropocentrism, must be eliminated from human consciousness, if we are all to continue to thrive or even survive on this planet.
To put it bluntly, those rationales exhibit primitive thinking and zero compassion for other species; let alone a rather dubious understanding of the laws of cause and effect.
As Prof. Will Steffen of the Australian National University and the Stockholm Resilience Centre notes; “Some people say we can adapt due to technology, but that’s a belief system, it’s not based on fact. There is no convincing evidence that a large mammal, with a core body temperature of 37C, will be able to evolve that quickly. Insects can, but humans can’t and that’s a problem.”
In all the reports about climate change or even loss of bio-diversity it is very rare to see an analysis of the impacts of homo sapiens’ folly on other species. In almost every case you will instead see a superlatively superficial analysis of the impacts of climate change in dollars and cents, or the cost of a species lost we can no longer exploit. Those analyses are proof in themselves that we have lost our way as a species in a spectacularly ignorant way.
Oliver Millman’s graph below in The Guardian illustrates well how close we are to global cataclysm.
It is time for us to change-and soon….
Shifts in the Climate Change Debate: Hope and Suspicion: Richard Falk