From the beginning, I have been among those citizen-scientists concerned about global warming not for what it might do to the planet but rather for its serious potential impact on humanity.
Planet Earth will survive global climate change, just as it has survived earlier climatological upheavals, meteor strikes and other natural disasters. A new article on Grist by way of Wired outlines what will happen to tropical forests as the temperature on the planet skyrockets. And, guess what? The news is not only not all bad, it’s actually fairly bright.
Scientists constructed three Geodesic domes and controlled the climate in each of them differently. One was maintained at present-day Earth conditions, one at the level of temperature change that is at this point all but inevitable in coming decades and the final one at excessively high temperatures. Only two species died out in the hotter domes. Of those that survived, many thrived, growing larger and stronger, faster than their equivalent seedlings planted in the more moderate domes.
In other words, Earth will be transformed by global climate change in ways we cannot predict with any accuracy. Whether humanity survives the transformation is an open question. What we can say for sure is that the longer we postpone meaningful — and by that I mean drastic — action on the climate front, the less chance there is of humanity surviving in its present form. Perhaps humanity, too, will evolve and adapt and some small portion will survive the near-extinction.
When Gaia shrugs, humanity may be shaken off her surface. If that happens, we will have nobody else to blame. But of course we won’t be around to blame anyone, so….
(If you’re interested in a more explicitly spiritual take on this subject, check out today’s companion post on my spiritual blog.)