We humans tend to wrap ourselves up in the “now” of things because we think in linear terms and because we ALWAYS view time MEASUREMENT and TIME itself as synonymous. But, they’re NOT! While the former is a human invention, the latter is part of the cosmic fabric. Bear with me. I’ll be as brief as possible.
A Physics Nobel Laureate of the late ‘90s—His name escapes me and I’m too lazy to look it up—recently published a piece wherein he wrote that the Earth is indifferent to what humans do. But, I’ll have to paraphrase his article because I don’t have the time now to look it up.
And, like a good scientist, he used the metric system. I do the same thing, but I always publish my numbers in English because, other than 9-millimeter bullets and illicit drug-weight measurements, the metric system as never gone over very well in this country.
As boldly as I dare state it, God notwithstanding, of course, humans are NOT going to destroy Earth. We may annihilate OURSELVES—and probably will—but the Earth, barring any cosmic catastrophes, will be around for quite some time.
This pale blue dot has been around for about 4.5-BILLION years, with another (estimated) 4- to 5-BILLION to go. But, in one form or another, humans arrived only about a tenth of a cosmic blink ago… about 2-MILLION years, and in our modern form, approximately 100-THOUSAND years ago.
Mother Nature has been in charge from the beginning. She’s in charge now; and, will remain in charge until the END. As well, ego draining as it is, she has never needed humans to help her run things. And, she doesn’t need us now. In fact, to her we must be like irritating Mediterranean fruit flies buzzing around her face.
Just think of how irritating those flies are to US and what a relief it is when they go away. Humans can do whatever they wish. But, Mother Nature does not give a damn; and she’s going continue on HER schedule with or without us. And, whatever WE do TO or FOR Earth is pointless over geologic time.
For example, on average, this planet experiences a little over 3-feet (about a meter) of rainfall in any given year. Over the past 300-years, it’s rained about 700 feet deep (a little over 2-football fields). Going back about 20,000 years, Earth’s rainfall has been enough to fill all of its oceans 4-times over. And, over the past 65-MILLION years, Earth’s cumulative rainfall has been enough to fill all of its oceans 25,000 times.
But, comparing NOW to THEN, the amount of water on Earth has NOT changed in any appreciable amount over geologic time. And, the same is true about cumulative atmospheric carbon dioxide concentrations. No matter what humans do, they’ll eventually return to pre-human levels—it’s just that we won’t be around to witness it.
The point is that “NOW” means nothing to Mother Nature. The LONG RUN is all that counts and geologic time is the only time framework to use in analyzing what’s happening on this planet in terms of its climate.
Mother Nature is not a politician. She does not care who resides in the Oval Office or which political party controls the U. S. Congress. In fact, she does not care who runs which country or their respective forms of government. She does not worry about or care about human rights or violations. She does not care how many of us starve to death—including children and the infirm. For her, natural law is all that counts and she will enforce it!
I don’t think a large number of humans understand this—they certainly do not act as though they understand it. And so, we love our doomsayers. They pose some ominous scenarios that provide virtually unlimited fodder for political hissy fits and mountains of pseudo-evidence for spending boatloads of money to “fix” something that, in the long run, will fix itself.
And, of course, as crass as it may be, let’s not ignore the multiple purveyors of solution-providing billionaires that will emerge as the result of successfully scaring the crap out of a growing army of political but science-ignorant folks because REAL science involves MATH.
Long before humans took up residence on this rock, massive volcanic eruptions blasted the hell out of it; meteor impacts larger than some of our states routinely nailed it, and other natural disasters far beyond anything most of us can imagine savaged it on a regular basis. But, it’s still here because it’s sturdier than the doomsayers want us to believe.
But, so are humans; we’re just a lot dumber. We do things BEFORE thinking about the consequences and we do them all of the time. And, while we lack the capability to destroy EARTH, it’s well within our capacity to destroy ourselves, along with other species in the process (except those damn cockroaches).
Global warming has become a defacto trigger to some of the most vehement political hissy fitting on the planet, especially in America. Have humans contributed? Yes. To what degree? Unknown. Can we reverse it? No. Can we slow it down? Probably not. Does it matter? In the long run, NO! In the short run, yes, but only to humans and other current life forms.
Our climate is changing and it’s going to eventually become anywhere from a bit uncomfortable to, possibly, downright unlivable. And, this is going to happen even if the nations of Earth begin taking steps to curb it. So, we’d better soon stop fantasizing about PREVENTING it and start finding ways for us to ADAPT to it
One way or another, some day we will have used up all of the fossil fuels in ground. But, in about a millennium thereafter, Earth will have dissolved most of the resulting carbon dioxide into the oceans. And, when that process has run its course, the carbon dioxide concentrations in the atmosphere will be only slightly higher than they are today.
Multiple millennia thereafter, the process will complete by having transferred excess carbon dioxide into the rocks and return Earth’s carbon levels in its oceans and atmosphere to the levels before humans arrived. For us humans, THAT time frame is, effectively, an eternity—we’ll be long gone—but in geologic time, it’s a cosmic instant.
Like it or not, Mother Nature is in charge of regulating things. And, the best scientific evidence seems to support a “thousand-year” carbon dioxide pulse followed by an interminably slow decay back to the planet’s natural “good ole” days… before human civilization raised its head.
Can humans do themselves in over this? Yes, if we’re not careful. But, make no mistake about it; carbon dioxide excesses have never been permanent and they are not permanent NOW. Extinctions, on the other hand, ARE. The dinosaurs are still gone. And, if we don’t soon wise up… Well, just fill in the blanks!
Humans are special only because we think we are. There is no cosmic decree that validates this, though. Humans are fallible and often arrogant beyond description. And, as always, following closely behind arrogance is stupidity beyond description.
This planet has been around for billions of years. It has been home to millions of life species, 99% of which are now extinct. The dinosaurs lasted about 80,000,000 years; humans have been around, in ALL forms, only about 2,000,000. We have NO reason to be cocky!
Climate change occurs over geologic time and Earth has always done it on its own without any human consultations. And, while humans can contribute to climate change, all the major glacial occurrences of it have taken place at regular intervals—about every 100,000 years or so with glacially slow cooling followed by abrupt warming to levels we’re seeing now.
According to Earth’s geologic record and deductive evidence, “Six million years ago the Mediterranean dried up. Ninety million years ago, there were alligators in the Arctic. Three hundred million years ago Northern Europe was a desert and coal formed in Antarctica.” And, there wasn’t a human in sight!
Joe Walther is a freelance writer and publisher of The True Facts. You may comment on his column by clicking here.