Friday, November 2, 2018

We Humans Have Become Just Another Failed Experiment

There are lots of failed experiments in the history of our planet, so don’t shed too large a crocodile tear. Evolution is made up of the failed and the successful. Most of the oldest species still remaining on earth are ocean creatures, but the ones we would recognize are whitetail deer (3.5 million years), zebras (4 million years), red pandas (5 million), sandhill cranes (10 million), hedgehogs (15 million) and—drumroll—the Virginia opossum (an almost unbelievable 70 million).

They may not be around much longer, because since 1972 man-made environmental change has knocked off 60% of the animal species on earth.

By comparison, the modern human has been roaming around for about 200,00 years—a mere eyewink in hedgehog history. 

To make the point, the deer, zebras, pandas, cranes, hedgehogs and possums were fine-tuning their survival skills, while we humans kept on workin’ on larger and larger brains. Writer Kurt Vonnegut made the observation that our big brains were killing us and he wasn’t far from right.

With too much time on our hands after we developed farming and an industrial world, we got up to mischief and therein lies the rub. We learned about education and asphalt, medicine and high-rise buildings, science and Wal-Mart. Smart dudes that we were, we traded whale-oil for petroleum and the horse and carriage for the internal combustion engine.

Somehow or another, we convinced ourselves that the natural world belonged to us, rather than the other way around. That very human deceit was the open doorway to another ‘big-brain’ stumble—that by ‘looking the other way’ all dangers would diminish over time. We ruled the planet, something hedgehogs never contemplated in their 15 million years of hedge hoggishness.

None of the animals I’ve named had the big, well-developed brains to understand what they were doing. Zebras were busy being zebras and worrying about lions and tigers. 

We were different. We understood, but ignored the coming environmental tsunami. Global climate change is no surprise. Scientists have been warning us about it for a hundred years. Population growth didn’t catch us asleep-at-the-switch, we knew it was coming and we knew it was unsustainable.

Our false pride found us with our pants around our ankles and now it’s too late. Rather than recognizing that, the conversation is about Mexican migrants, job loss, income equality and who will win the mid-term elections.

It doesn’t matter, folks. The game is over.

It didn’t have to be too late. Sustainable energy has been with us for forty years, but oil was just so profitable. An all-electric, no-cost-at-the-source energy bonanza was within our grasp, but we willingly fumbled the ball. The Paris Accords are a joke, questioning the scientific evidence is a crime, delay is impossible and the governmental dithering worldwide amounts to a treason against humanity.

So, sit back and relax. Netflix is releasing 57 new original shows and movies this month. There is no tomorrow and whining about the future is a fool’s errand

If you want a little relief from all the angst, take a moment to catch George Carlin on his take on the planet. George is gone from us now, but this 11-yr-old video is right on the money.

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