Sustainability Challenge: The Earth Doesn’t Need Saving

26 Mar 2009|Dave Decelle

The Earth, and Life in general, has survived uncounted cataclysms over the billions of years of Earth’s history. Species come and go, but the Earth is eternal (well, relatively speaking anyway).

According to some geologists, the Earth was completely covered in ice for millions of years, during which only bacteria and the simplest of plants survived, while many forms of life became extinct (see story). Now I’m not talking about some mini ice age like the one 15,000 years ago where the glaciers moved as far south as Cape Cod. I’m talking about the entire planet covered in ice, from the poles to the equator. What beat back the ice? A global-warming, climate-changing, greenhouse effect caused by volcanoes spewing CO2 into the atmosphere. Still the Earth survived and generated new life.

Dinosaurs, having ruled the top of the food chain for millions of years, were made extinct by a cataclysmic asteroid strike, leaving room for other species to ascend. Still the Earth survived and generated new life.

The Earth and Life in general are going to go on regardless of what we do to the atmosphere and the planet. What will change is that the Earth will become less and less hospitable for humans. If we don’t change our ways, then, at the very least, the quality of human life on Earth will drastically devolve; at the worst, we will become extinct.

So don’t kid yourselves. It’s not the Earth that needs saving, it’s us.

In this blog series, “Sustainability Challenge,” I’ll be exploring issues around sustainability, climate change, energy conservation, etc. I welcome comments and look forward to some robust discussions.

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