Rendering Ourselves Extinct

May 3, 2014                                              1535419_618781068186993_625927179_n

“We are warming, and that comes with consequences. By the way, Earth will survive this. People say ‘save the Earth.’ No, don’t worry about Earth. Earth will be here long after we have rendered ourselves extinct.” Dr. Neil deGrasse Tyson

From all the various articles I’ve read and all the videos I’ve watched this week, this quote from Neil deGrasse Tyson, speaking about climate change, stuck in my brain – especially that last sentence. Earth will be here long after we have rendered ourselves extinct. And I think it grabbed me and wouldn’t let go because it states, so succinctly, two facts we are going to have to come to grips with, now, if we have any chance of surviving climate change as a species.

Fact number 1: Climate change won’t destroy the earth. What climate change will destroy is an earth that is habitable for US (and probably most life).

Fact number 2: We are rendering ourselves extinct. Climate change is not just something that is happening to us; climate change is something that is happening because of us.

And nature doesn’t care one whit whether we survive it or not. We can blame other people/big corporations/the legislators/other countries; we can disbelieve, pooh-pooh, or deny the science. It doesn’t matter. It’s happening. What’s happened so far is irreversible and we will have to live with those and worsening consequences for decades – even if we stop our dumping of CO2 today.  The longer we dump that extra carbon dioxide into the atmosphere, the worse even those worsening consequences will be – including human extinction.

That’s how it is, folks. Business As Usual is over, either way. What, if anything, remains now depends on whether or not we and our leaders can pull ourselves away from the craps table before the family fortune is gone.


Well, we’re finally having fairly normal weather for this time of year, so I’m going out to check the garden and start getting the beds ready for transplanting in a couple of weeks.

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6 Responses to Rendering Ourselves Extinct

  1. xraymike79 says:

    You say: “…What’s happened so far is irreversible and we will have to live with those and worsening consequences for decades – even if we stop our dumping of CO2 today…”

    It’s not decades, but thousands of years that our CO2 emissions will be in the atmosphere. That’s what makes AGW so catastrophic — there effect is essentially forever on a human and civilizational time scale. And climate change’s evil twin of ocean acidification will last for tens of thousands of years.

    “Remember: Enjoy your life today, because yesterday has gone and tomorrow may never come.” ~ Alan Coren

    • theozarker says:

      Hi Mike, thanks for the link and the comment. About the “decades” comment, if I’ve understood what I read, what we’re experiencing today is from carbon dioxide released decades ago, so even IF we stopped today, it would continue to get worse in the coming decades and, then, stop getting WORSE. But you’re right that it won’t ever get BETTER because the increased CO2 will stay there for a thousand years (and in the case of ocean acidification, thousands of years). So, as you said, we’ve essentially changed our climate forever on a human and civilizational time scale. Whether we can stop dumping it in time to avert changes dire enough that it will wipe us out as a species is looking more and more unlikely.
      As you know, there are those scientists who think ongoing changes from what we’ve already dumped up to this point, will be enough to cause our extinction.
      Whether we’re “already extinct” and just don’t know it yet, or we can stop in time to avert total extinction, BAU, this global civilization as we know it today, is gone for good.

  2. eugene says:

    We tout the human ability to hope, love, etc., etc. The one that amazes me is the incredible ability to deny reality. The Arctic Ocean is/has melted and people still say “not happening”.

    • theozarker says:

      Hey, Eugene, I guess I could see denial as a (very) temporary strategy to give one time to get one’s bearings without just giving up, but it sure seems like a dead end strategy in the long run in evolutionary terms, doesn’t it.

  3. Pingback: Follow Up on COD ~ And Why it is Worth to Continue the Discussion | Living As If Others Really Mattered

  4. graveday says:

    Earth abides, it has been said. People…not so much. I don’t know if you have ever read Lewis Thomas, but in one of his essays he noted, based on the nuclear worries of the time, that people might become a very widespread, but exceedingly thin, layer in the geological record. I’m happy for him he is not alive today, where his nuclear worries remain relevant, but have become merely a nasty backdrop to climate chaos.

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