October 26, 2015

Climate Change and You…and Me and the Planet

I rarely step away from posting about writing—this being my author blog and all—but lately there has been a perfect storm of instances that has really made me think about our planet. Intriguing articles about fossil finds, which lead me to look up details about that period or that geographic area. Swarms of earthquakes all up and down the west coast, which spurs me to research volcanic activity through the ages. Articles on how fracking is a national security threat. All of these things make me think! It’s scary – me thinking, that is. And I can’t help myself. Sometimes I have to share my thoughts with you good people. It’s like if I ‘say it aloud’ I can get on to new, less consuming thoughts. Right now my mind won’t leave the immense power of our planet vs. the miniscule presence that is humanity.

Recently they found an enormous shark fossil in Texas. The prehistoric mega-shark swam around in a sea that covered what is now Texas and split the U.S and Canada into two separate landmasses. Imagine that sea. It was shallow as far as seas are concerned, originally created by shifting plates. It eventually retreated because of a continual uplift of sandstone and lagoons, leaving sharks like the one they recently discovered stranded on land to be fossilized, or maybe pushing their already fossilized selves up out of the water. Did you know sharks are so old, they pre-date trees? The first tree, a type that is long extinct, was part of a lush woodland that used to fill what is now the Sahara desert. Which, by the way, became an arid desert due to the monsoons shifting southward (not due to
pollution or deforestation.) I’ve also recently read that the Yellowstone super volcano has a super eruption every 600,000 to 700,000 million years (last one was 640,000 million years ago) and scientists think it has been super-erupting—eruptions that impact the world’s weather and tilt of the earth, etc—for 16 million years.

There are a lot of stories like this.

These stories, especially stories about things that happened before humans arrived on the scene, are the reason why cries to “Save the Planet” don’t resonate with me. The planet doesn’t actually care that we are here. Not anymore than it cared about the mega-shark, the dinosaurs, or that first tree. It has survived without us before, it will likely survive without us again.

What we need to do is “Save Humanity.” When we pollute the skies until we have to wear surgical masks to walk outside, we aren’t making a lasting affect on the planet that it can’t fix or adapt to on its own. We are impacting the quality of life for our fellow man. When we kill off the polar bears or create earthquakes by fracking, the world will simply continue on. Eventually it will shake us off like a dog after a bath.

I’m not disputing that we have a direct impact on our planet with our excessiveness and desire for convenience, I’m just sharing my own, admittedly novice opinion that we are like the flea biting the dog’s skin. Irritating, but nothing a good purge won’t fix. I mean—come on—16 million years of weather altering super-eruptions versus 2.5 million years of humanity. Heck, even the dinosaurs had 165 million years here before the earth abandoned them. Where’s the loyalty there? I doubt anyone out there is arrogant enough to think the planet finds us more important than the dinosaurs. However, we believe we are with our critical thinking and apposable thumbs. But do we look out for one another? No. We continually bite into the skin of the dog by building pollution-spewing factories and cutting down rain forests. Ordering brand new Halloween costumes online instead of piecing one together from the Goodwill. Buying a brand new car every few years instead of a lightly used one when we actually need it.

To the earth, humans are an irritating blip in its long, long history. We are a case of chicken pox. Maybe even only a 24 hour flu.

But not to each other. Our fellow humans—your friends, your family, your co-workers, your customers, your online acquaintances, your favorite clerk at the grocery store, the man behind the desk at the post office, the faceless person across from you and the four-way stop, the girl (now woman) you used to be best friends with in third grade who you no longer know, but who had a lasting impact on you…all the people everywhere are your entire reason for being. In some small miniscule way you are accountable to each of us for the actions you take that impact this planet. The planet doesn’t care. But I do. So does your mom.

Stop trying to save the planet and start trying to extend our time on earth. Focus on making the time we have here enjoyable. Recycle – for your children. Increase the instances you walk, bike, or use public transportation – for your best friend and neighbors. Grow your own veggies – for your family. Plant a tree for humanity. Consume less, upcycle more. Make responsible decisions and set strong examples for others. Let’s give each other a cleaner planet to live upon. Let’s be good stewards of our land and its resources and maybe it will let us stay a little longer.

5 comments:

  1. Wow! You've done a lot of research. What you're saying is sad but true. Myself, I take a lot for granted. Like our water supplies. We've always had plenty of water, as far as I know. Our recent 5 year drought proved how easily we can run out of water. Now, we're very conservative minded, even though our water supply has been replenished. Next time, it might not be, so the city governments are still making rules of how much water we can use. Our other resources may be in danger too. I haven't read about them, but it's logical. My son planted a garden the past year, and the veggies were yummy. He's plowed and is getting ready for this coming spring. We've learned to catch rain water off the roof to water the garden and for other uses. Everything you said is important. Thanks for the reminder.

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    1. I just feel like if we put a human face on the problem, instead of the world, it might feel more doable for each of us. Thanks for stopping in, Beverly. Glad your water supply has been replenished. Hopefully the west coast will get that this winter due to El Nino.

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  2. Hi Paula - I read your blog on this because it sounded like you might have a balanced view of climate change, and I think you do. We're not harming the earth, it'll take care of itself, we are harming people with our waste and excess. I like your perspective of caring about and taking care of people first.

    I saw a typo though where an apostrophe is incorrectly used, I'm sure you'd want to fix it: It's in the sentence - "we aren’t making a lasting affect on the planet that it can’t fix or adapt to on it’s own."

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    1. Thanks for the heads up on the typo and for stopping in to read.

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