So, humanity might now have a known year in which it is expected to be finished by, according to a report from an Australian institute called Breakthrough – National Centre for Climate Restoration. The report, which suggested that humanity will be finished as early as 2050 seems to have caught the media out. It comes in the same week as another report indicated that the level of carbon in the atmosphere is the highest it has been in millions of years.
I find the idea that we now have a definitive year by which we will have a humanity destroying climate change emergency interesting. It is interest not because , but because nature does not care for human concepts such as time and space. A natural event happens because the necessary physical parameters for it were triggered.
This is not to say I think we are not running out of time. The damage being caused by the destruction of the natural ecosystem is catching up rapidly. There will come a time at this rate, and quite possibly within a few decades where ecosystem collapse simply does not permit the human race to continue functioning in the way it currently is. The food supply will implode and a massive wipe out of insects will crash basic biological functions such as the natural breaking down of dung, the pollenation of plants and cause a chain reaction of events that work their way through the food chain – larvae in aquatic systems will no longer exist, depriving amphibians of their food, and ultimately depriving fish of their food supply.
But perhaps there should be a date – that human condition of procrastination springs to mind, as without a time stamp it is hard to install a sense of urgency when it is needed. We see this in the Government, which despite declaring a climate change emergency is still ambling along like a walk in the park with the dog. A call in the media the other day to be on a war footing in dealing with climate change is laudable, but meaningless when nobody seems to know what it should look like or how to make it happen.
It might not be climate change that kills us humans though. The consumption rates of resources and the huge impact it is having on the ecosystem scares me far more. The eventual collapse of the ecosystem will spare no one including the humans who made it collapse, because it will crash the food chain. The demise of insect life will cause massive scale failure of biological functions such as decaying excrement, the cross pollenation of plants and the natural transfer of bacteria. The massive use of resources and the complete failure to recycle minerals used such as gold, silver, palladium, copper and so forth means more mines will be needed, which will involve vast tracts of landscape being opened up. And in doing so tracts of ecosystem that we cannot afford to lose are being torn up.
It might also be too late to recover anyway. The industrial revolution was in the 1700’s and since then particles of carbon per million has reached 415, which has not been seen in millions of years. Humans have existed for about 3 million years – if you compress the geologic record into a day, humans have been around about 60 seconds – but in that time, we have seen 1/2 of known species wiped out. We cannot sustain that rate of destruction without wiping ourselves out too.
I have stated numerous times we should be pulling out the stops with things like waste to energy plants, a recycling programme for aluminium so that our energy needs are reduced among other ideas. But I am an advocate, not a industrialist, politician, planner or otherwise. I cannot pull the strings that make these things happen, but I can advocate.