Living in today’s world means being bombarded with debates, advertisements, and general rhetoric all aimed at pulling the undecided individuals towards a cause. The debate on climate change for example, like other polarizing issues such as gun control and abortion rights, has extreme groups on both ends of the spectrum. One group aims to save the Earth and its flora and fauna while the other group sees climate change as a threat to a thriving industrial economy such as the one found in the United States of America.
To their credit, both sides argue some valid points, however, they are so caught up in the argument that most of them fail to realize the reality of the situation. They fail to realize that regardless of what we as humans do, it will not lead to the end of the world. The planet will be just fine; humans are the ones at risk of extinction.
According to ScienceDaily as well as the consensus of articles concerning the subject, Earth is widely accepted to be over 4.5 billion years old. In that time Earth has experienced events that would be considered cataclysmic by today’s standards. Events such as major ice ages that froze large sections of the Earth at once, bombardment by cosmic materials much bigger than the one that drove the dinosaurs to extinction, solar flares releasing radioactive material launched at the Earth, transformation of the entire structure of the Earth’s crust via tectonic movements, volcanic eruptions, and earthquakes that changed the structure of continents. Yet through all this, Earth continues to sustain millions of different species having its own water filtration and delivery system and even the ability to recycle its own waste material through subduction.
Contrastingly, humans as a species have been around for 4 million years spanning only 0.08% of the Earth’s age. Furthermore, humans have only been involved in the heavy industry (the generally accepted cause of climate change) for about 200 years, an even more minuscule amount of time. Are we as humans so narcissistic as to insinuate that given all of Earth’s history that we could even endanger this cosmic object we live on? The Earth has existed for billions of years before us and will exist billions of years after humans become extinct.
Speaking of human extinction, let’s examine how humans fair in the grand scheme of things. If the human body’s core temperature increases or decreases by a factor of a mere 5 degrees Celsius, it would lead to a serious compromise in the body’s function and ultimately death. Compared to the Earth we live quite a fragile existence.
To be clear, I accept climate change and the plethora of scientific evidence that stands behind it. I also accept that climate change is mostly caused by human industrialization. However, if we are to convince the world population in this debate that we need to take measures to combat climate change, we need to shift the focus from saving the world or saving endangered species, to saving the human race.
Climate change is not the end of the world, climate change would not even be the end of life on Earth. However, climate change will be the end of the human species if we do not take the necessary steps to prevent it from getting to that critical point. An important step to begin that process is to make the population aware that the scientific world’s campaign against climate change is a campaign to save human lives first and foremost. Only then will humans, as selfish as we are, begin doing something about climate change.
“History of Earth.” ScienceDaily, ScienceDaily, www.sciencedaily.com/terms/history_of_earth.htm.
“Ice Ages – What Are They and What Causes Them?” Utah Geological Survey, John Good
“Just How Frequently Do Meteors Hit Earth? I Texas State University.” Texas State University, 28 July 2017, www.txstate-epdc.net/just-frequently-meteors-hit-earth/.
NASA, NASA, hesperia.gsfc.nasa.gov/sftheory/spaceweather.htm.
“Geology.” Introduction to the Aquifoliaceae, www.ucmp.berkeley.edu/geology/tectonics.html.
“Introduction to Human Evolution.” The Smithsonian Institution’s Human Origins Program, Smithsonian’s National Museum of Natural History, 16 Jan. 2019, humanorigins.si.edu/education/introduction-human-evolution.
Editors, History.com. “Industrial Revolution.” History.com, A&E Television Networks, 29 Oct. 2009, www.history.com/topics/industrial-revolution/industrial-revolution.
“How Many Species on Earth? About 8.7 Million, New Estimate Says.” ScienceDaily, ScienceDaily, 24 Aug. 2011, www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2011/08/110823180459.htm.