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The Earth will be fine.

[Comment posted to friends Facebook article thread today. He thought we were ruining the environment, and in this slice of time indeed we are...but a grander context shows this to be a blip on a long history of much bigger changes effected by other life systems on Earth before us.]

In the eye blink of Geologic time that we've been here, Earth...over which we kvetch so, is going to "belch" and free herself of the scourge that is us. The belch may be a super massive Caldera explosion or it may be ...due to her crossing the path of a cosmic pebble dislodged from the Asteroid belt or it may be the next deep Ice Age...but the belch will come. We may go on to reign for 5,000 years of glory and yet...Earth then, can belch and throw *whatever* we evolve into ...headlong into chaos...no matter how powerful. The hiccup in the environmental system that we are indeed causing now will be rectified...and in the vast space of Geologic time to come will be remembered in her records as not much different from thousands of hiccups that came before and thousands that are yet to come. You think we are the first animals to severely change the climate...the biological prolixity of animals is why we have a climate...and the propensity for Earth to periodically upend the Chess board is means we are up next.

During the anoxic transition over a billion years ago...those early aerobic bacteria had no idea they were setting the ground work for oxygen breathers like our selves...from the perspective of the anaerobic forms they were displacing...apocalypse was occurring. When the great dying of the Permian Triassic occurred over 230 million years ago...the small, agile, bipedal progenitors of the dinosaurs benefited from the removal of the larger and previously dominant synodont forms...but after nearly a reign of 150 million years their candle out went with the coming of a cosmic pebble...clearing the way for frightened shrew like nocturnal mammals to ascend. Such hubris we walking Apes have to think that we matter a mote to Earth, we are forgetting that the Earth isn't in here with us, we are in here with the Earth. This isn't our home, or the home of life as much as it is life's prison...from which periodic belching has eliminated the lives of TRILLIONS of living things by fiat. We are going to save the Earth? We are just now able to gawk in wonder at the ghosts of other rocks circling suns far distant...the hope of visiting them, non existent...if the Earth belched now, we are doomed...to the continuous process of change that Earth has gone through...the trillions of us alive today are no different from the trillions that were alive during the Dinosaurs reign...or the trillions that were alive during the Eocene....or the trillions that were alive during the Pleistocene...and we are going to save the Earth??? Really???


We need to save ourselves *from* the Earth.


References:



http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Cynodont

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Permian%E2%80%93Triassic_extinction_event

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Oxygen_catastrophe

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Cretaceous%E2%80%93Tertiary_extinction_event


http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Eocene


http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Pleistocene

Comments

Brittany said…
Thought provoking post.
The last lines especially resound with me. I've always felt environmentalists were missing the mark when they operate under the assumption that the earth is perfect and stable and we are what is 'wrong' with it.
Like you say, if we look at the species that came before us and were wiped out in a planetary hiccup, there is no reason our fate won't be the same. Science and technology are our only hopes for longtime species survival. Not 'going back to nature.'

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