The world is constantly changing.
Temperatures fluctuate, sea levels move up and down, species are born and become extinct, continents shift.
Somehow, when I was younger, I realize that I knew a lot of things that I didn’t really understand. I remember looking at the maps of the earth as it looked before, when the continents were arranged differently. The scope of the time frame was (and still honestly is just a little) unfathomable to me, though. Millions of years? Hundreds of millions of years? Sure, I understood it took a long time, but that’s about it.
For some reason, at the time, something very important didn’t occur to me; that is, if the world has gone through all these changes, well, why did it stop?
Spoilers: it didn’t.
The environment is a hot button issue right now, as it should be. Times are dire for us if we don’t start working together on solutions to the growing specter of overpopulation and global scarcity. The urgency is real, and the survival of the human species is at stake.
But hey, normal Tuesday for us these days, right?
I’ve been reading about the great extinctions of the past this week (shameless plug for your local library, where you can find an endless repertoire of interesting new things to learn about), and I was struck by the circularity of it all. Each period saw the rise of sets of species to dominance, only for their rule to be ended by events such as global warming, cooling, or sea level shifts. These processes take millions of years, of course, but the result is always the same: the old dies out to make way for the new. By the end, I was left feeling that this current state of affairs is nigh unavoidable. Hastened by human activity to be sure but coming no matter what we do. Unfortunately I have heard this idea levied as ammunition against climate activists. After all, what’s the point if we can’t stop it?
I guess I can see that argument. Sure, what is the point? We’re stuck on a sinking ship. The rate at which governments and people would have to come together to save us from the emerging crisis is simply unattainable, especially given the volatile state of world politics now. Here’s a question for you, though – if you’re on a ship that you know is going down, is the correct answer really “Aw, well, darn, guess we’re going down and all that, such a shame”? I, for one, am going to listen to the people looking for the lifeboats.
Just a thought for a Tuesday.