The New Earth without us


Whenever I think of the future of our planet, I have to fight encroaching pessimism hard and keep my faith in common sense and wisdom.   But some people just don’t get it even with an overwhelming evidence that we are heading towards a catastrophic disaster.  Ice is melting, many species disappearing, the seas are rising, etc.  If this is not so alarming, why are so many people including Stephen Harper suddenly interested in the Arctic?  Until now Ice is so thick that nobody cared too much about the life-style of the Inuit or the welfare of polar bears.  Now that it is melting and the sea is increasingly wide open, suddenly the mineral rights of the sea bed, the sovereignty of Northwest Passage, etc. have become important issues.   I am dismayed by the mind-set, “My mind is made up.  Don’t confuse me with facts.”  Are the humans basically so stupid and self-destructive?

However,  I heard a sort-of good news in a recent event in February at the University of Lethbridge with Dr. Thomas Homer-Dixon who tends to be rather pessimistic on the question of environment.  In a panel discussion with Homer-Dixon, James Byrne, our own Lethbridge environment guru, assured us, “Don’t worry about the planet earth.  It went through many catastrophes, but it recovered and came out differently with new life-forms on it:  dinosaurs disappeared but something else took over, and so on.  The earth always recovers.  Don’t worry about it.”

However, the bad news is: “The newly configured earth likely will not have humans on it and it will probably be a better planet without us,” by Dr. Byrne’s statement.  That might be comforting if you don’t care about welfare of your offspring.  The earth will probably be O.K. until you die and a few decades after.  And those who drown first in rising seas are people who live far away, a place like Kiribati or Tuvalu.  You can worry only about your pension hoping that it lasts till you die, or you can do something fast about the environment if you care about your grand-children’s grand-children.  You choose!

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