BSB #87 Can We Stop Climate Change?

Climate Change and the Increasing  Likelihood  of Human Extinction in Less than 100 years
by J. Morris Hicks

I began writing this BSB on April 1, but didn't post it on that day for fear that some would think it was an April Fools joke. Sad to say, this is NO JOKE!  Over the past month, I have posted a few articles about climate change and human extinction. In each of them, I drew this conclusion:

If there is any possible chance to stop climate change, our strategy MUST include a dramatic shift in diet away from eating animal-based foods. I also believe that our strategy must include other steps which I covered in my blog about sustainability becoming more difficult posted on 3-9-17. The problem is that we're running out of time to address those "other steps" and there appears to be zero efforts being started on a global scale.

Last week, I learned about a prominent Australian scientist (Professor Frank Fenner) who predicted in 2010, shortly before his death at 95, that "due to overpopulation, unbridled consumption and climate change that the human species would go extinct within 100 years." He used my favorite example of Easter Island to make his point.


"We'll undergo the same fate as the people on Easter Island. More people means fewer resources and there will be a lot more wars over food." 
-- Professor Frank Fenner

The news of his human extinction prediction was published on phys.org in June of 2010 and it featured the graph shown below. Click this title for the entire article:


Humans will be extinct in 100 years says eminent scientist


From the 2010 article on phys.org

Professor Fenner tries not to express his pessimism because people are trying to do something, but keep putting it off. He said he believes the situation is irreversible, and it is too late because the effects we have had on Earth since industrialization.

While many scientists are also pessimistic, others are more optimistic. Among the latter is a colleague of Professor Fenner, retired professor Stephen Boyden, who said he still hopes awareness of the problems will rise and the required revolutionary changes will be made to achieve ecological sustainability. "While there's a glimmer of hope, it's worth working to solve the problem. We have the scientific knowledge to do it but we don't have the political will," Boyden said.

Dr. Fenner is an MD, a scientist, an environmentalist and was the lead physician in the famous project that eliminated smallpox. 

Author of 22 books and recipient of dozens of awards, this remarkable man's prediction  about the future of our species should be taken seriously by every government in the world. Sadly, NONE of them has the "political will" to do so, especially the USA. Here is the last paragraph of  Dr. Fenner's NY Times Obituary  in June of 2010:

"Homo sapiens will become extinct, perhaps within 100 years," he told the newspaper The Australian in June. "A lot of other animals will, too. It's an irreversible situation. I think it's too late."

The Bottom Line. I still choose to think that we have chance to survive as a species, but I am sad to say that our chances appear to be slipping away. Given what has happened since 2010, I suspect that Dr. Fenner would lower his predicted number of years that we have left. He would certainly have no reason raise it, as our infestation of planet Earth has continued at full speed ahead since he died.

This cartoon is animated but it certainly isn't funny.

Video: One Minute of Human Infestation


The above video was included in my 2013 blog:  Were humans the "infestation" of Easter Island?

I shall end this post with a quote from Stephen Emmott's 2013 book, TEN BILLION. He alludes to the wonderful life for humans that has been made possible by runaway depletion of resources and the reckless burning of fossil fuels for the past century. 

To be sure, none of us wants to give up that wonderful lifestyle; hence, from where will we get the passionate leadership to change? 

Here's the quote from Dr. Emmott, who I met with in London in 2013:

Our cleverness, our inventiveness, and our activities have modified almost every part of our planet. In fact, we are having a profound impact on it. Indeed, our cleverness, our inventiveness, and our activities are now the drivers of every global problem we face.

Be well, 

J. Morris (Jim) Hicks
Promoting health, hope and harmony on planet Earth

 
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