“Human beings and the natural world are on a collision course… No more than one or few decades remain before the chance to avert the threats we now confront will be lost and the prospects for humanity immeasurably diminished.” 1,600 SCIENTISTS, NOVEMBER 18, 1992 – WORLD SCIENTIST WARNING TO HUMANITY.
Humans began to show their destructive potential towards the planet during the 1950s, ravenously devouring natural resources and discarding waste into the environment with utter carelessness. From 1990 to 1997, human global consumption grew as much as it did from the begin of civilization to 1950. In fact, the global economy grew more in 1997 alone than during the entire 17th century. STATE OF THE WORLD 1999, pg 10 – STATE OF THE WORLD 1998, pg 3.
By the end of the 20th century, our consumptive and wasteful lifestyles had painted a bleak global picture. Almost half of the world’s forests are gone. Between 1980 and 1995, we lost areas of forest larger than the size of Mexico, and we’re still losing forests at a rate of millions of acres a year. Water tables are falling on every continent. Fisheries are collapsing, farmland is eroding, rivers are drying, wetlands are disappearing and species are becoming extinct. Furthermore, the human population is now increasing by 80 million each year (roughly the population of ten Swedens). Population growth without foresight, management and respect for environment virtually guarantees increased consumption and waste with each passing year. BROWN, LESTER R, et al. (1998). VITAL SIGNS 1998. NEW YORK; W. W. NORTON and CO, pg 20 — STATE OF THE WORLD 1998, pg 4, 5 — STATE OF THE WORLD 1998, pg 14.
The natural background of extinctions is estimated to be about one to ten species per year. Currently, it’s estimated that we are instead losing 1,000 species per year. More than 10% of all bird species, 25% of all mammals, and 50% of all primates are threatened with extinction. Of 242,000 plant species surveyed by the World Conservation Union in 1997, one out of every eight (33,000 species) was threatened with extinction. STATE OF THE WORLD 1999, pg 13, 97.
THE BIG QUESTIONS THEREFORE ARE;
What would drive humanity to damage its life support system in this way?
Why would we disregard our host organism, the earth, as if we were nothing more than disease intent upon its destruction?
There are those who scoff at the idea that a tiny organism such as the human species could mortally affect such an ancient and immense being as mother earth. The notion that we can be powerful enough to inflict illness on a planetary being is nothing more than egotism. Where is there any evidence that a planet can get sick and die? Well, how about Mars??