And this is entirely understandable. So let’s get the bad news out of the way first, THEN reasons to feel a little better.
The Earth is indeed facing a calamitous change. Continued climate changing emissions mean that the planet is very steadily heating up, resulting in areas of desertification, melting glaciers and shrinking polar ice. The melting ice will cause sea levels to rise around the world resulting in low-lying areas being flooded, displacing millions of people and destroying some coastal ecosystems.
Ecosystems will change, globally, in response to climate change. In the past, this has meant that ecosystems had to literally move to a suitable new territory. Ecosystems are currently in bad shape already from habitat destruction and subsequent loss of volume and coverage. They’re not in a great shape to move. Extinctions will be high.
Why do many of us find it hard to believe in scientific facts and instead fall for weird conspiracy theories? Why do we lack trust in politicians or the media? It’s become really hard to trust anybody anymore, partly due to the deluge of contradictory info on social media.
Science and reason have helped to get humanity where it is, so why turn our backs on that now?
It looks like, so far, activism has largely failed on climate change. There have been wins, here and there, but the relentless push of economic growth has overtaken these. For example – wins on halting rainforest destruction – we might stop it for a while, but the push for relentless economic growth eventually overcomes these gains. With climate change, one of the wins is the growth of renewable energy. This has made a difference, but still, the push for growth means ever higher carbon emissions.
An ethical dilemma of our time is – is it ok to eat meat or should we go vegetarian or even vegan?
I am a vegetarian, bordering on vegan. The people that I argue with over this issue almost always take the line that it’s natural for us and part of our biological heritage to include meat in our diets. They then often go on to justify their position further by saying that if we didn’t eat animals then all those millions of cows, pigs, sheep and chickens wouldn’t exist at all and so surely it’s better that they live their lives, even if those lives are not great, and that we eat them. Continue reading “Should humanity go vegan?”
When has the environment ever been a problem for any one species? Apart from the problems of being eaten, dying of a disease or being burnt to the ground in a forest fire if you happen to be a tree. Assuming that your species continues to exist, even if that might not necessarily include you, when has the environment ever been a problem? In terms of incoming nutrients, water, food and resources, when has the environment ever a problem? Generally, there’s always more coming from somewhere. The ecosystems are, generally, in balance. There might be patches of drought meaning less water and less food, but it usually gets better. Ecosystems do change over time otherwise new species wouldn’t evolve or others go extinct. But it’s usually a very slow process with little change between the generations.
65 million years ago, a group of environmentalists set up a campaign to build a huge space laser to deflect asteroids and thus save themselves from extinction.
Their campaign failed.
They were wiped out.
Could the same happen again?
For more futurology – check out my book. Available on the home page of this website, or on Amazon – here.
To give you a taste of my book, here’s the section on conformity:
Conform to the norm
Conformity, as discussed earlier, is an important part of what keeps society together. Back with the caveman, it would have been vital. Way before we were human it would have been vital. Whilst it’s still good to be part of a society and feel like you belong, conforming to what is normal or what is expected is increasingly becoming a problem, creating confusion and anxiety, in a society that is becoming increasingly complex.
This review is from Richard Claxton from September 2017:
“If you want to take a journey through the history of human evolution, how our psychology evolved and then consider what might be the next evolutionary steps for humanity (if we can find a way of preserving the biosphere that sustains us), you would do well to give this book a go. As a (1) non-scientist by educational background and (2) an environmental campaigner and activist, I found this a fascinating and thought-provoking read.
Jeff Rice’s lucid and often-conversational style makes the book very accessible; it also asks some profound questions about where we are going as a species, speculating on the very diverse possible outcomes as we enter the ‘Next Level of Complexity in the Universe’. Rice argues that, “in terms of evolution, we are in a transitional phase” and that “something is happening” in relation to that ‘Next Level’. Hitherto, we have been the ape that got lucky and evolved to be the all-powerful, all-consuming top species. But that pre-eminence may not last. One of Rice’s key arguments is that our psychology struggles to keep up with rapid technological advance and change: we are in essence “a Stone Age human in a Space Age World.” He goes on to say, “Technology has surged forward. The intellectual aspects of our brains are fast catching up but the more primitive caveman part of us, our emotions and our social structure, are trailing.” This discrepancy, he argues, contributes to our current inability to tackle serious global problems effectively, for example, climate breakdown and habitat loss. However, plenty of hope is offered in an often optimistic concluding section – evidence of human psychology and consciousness emerging that can take us beyond our hard-wired caveman impulses. A very interesting book.”