Earth Day 2017: Humans Are The Most Destructive Species On Earth
We humans have been in existence for less than 1% of life on Earth – In the short time of our existence, we have impacted everything; every part of our small blue planet. Our home!
We have been around for only 200,000 years – Archaeologists have calculated that humans originated about 200,000 years ago in the Middle Palaeolithic period in southern Africa, and migrated out of Africa around 70,000 years ago and began colonizing the entire planet. We spread to Eurasia around 40,000 years ago (there is no geologic boundary between Europe and Asia – so they are combined as Eurasia.) and Oceania (roughly Australia to Fiji), and reached the Americas just 14,500 years ago.
Humans are a member of a species of bipedal primates. We walk upright. We also have opposable thumbs so we can grip ‘things’. We have, what we think of as a highly developed brain. And so, we have called ourselves ‘homo sapiens’. In Latin, “Homo” means “man” and “Sapiens” means “wise”. Wise Men.
Dinosaurs existed for 135 million years – It is estimated that dinosaurs were the dominant terrestrial vertebrates for 135 million years, from 231.4 million years ago till around 65 million years ago.
Dinosaurs lived for a greater time on the planet than man. Scientists explain the extinction of dinosaurs with one or two hypotheses – that the extinction was due to an extraterrestrial impact, such as an asteroid or comet, or, a massive bout of volcanism.
We humans though, have been around for a comparatively short while, yet we are making ourselves extinct due to our own activities.
In our short existence, we have impacted every corner of the world with smog, with acid rain; by breaking-up habitats and causing extinctions.
We humans are part of the same ecosystem. Each creature on this planet has a reason for its existence and is as important to life on earth as we (humans) think we are.“Any intelligent fool can make things bigger, more complex, and more violent. It takes a touch of genius -and a lot of courage to move in the opposite direction.”
~ E.F. Schumacher
We are dependent on nature. Nature is not dependent on us. When we destroy an ecosystem, we are destroying life that depends on that ecosystem. Humans and nature are powerfully linked and co-evolving. All living things in an ecosystem depend on all the other things – living and non-living – i.e. organisms interact with their inorganic surroundings for continued survival, to form a self-regulating, complex system that contributes to maintaining the conditions for life on the planet. All the actions and reactions that take place and affect one part of an ecosystem, affect the whole ecosystem in some way or the other.
We are only one small part of the web of life, yet we, in this short time of our existence have treated our planet so shoddily and with such a callous contempt that we have irreversibly damaged our planet and shortened our own existence on the planet.
When nature cannot defend itself there will be a backlash. Nature cannot resist our wiles and will eventually succumb to our destructive tendencies. When forests are mined for minerals and other resources and laid bare of all their biodiversity, desertification will take place. Lakes, rivers and water resources will dry up.
There is no wisdom in man killing what sustains man … and with it, humankind!
The backlash will not be nature fighting back! But, of nature as we know it, dying out!
Homo Sapiens… Wise Men. Not at all!? Our wisdom is highly disputable. Dinosaurs were considered unintelligent, due to the small size of their brain compared to their body size. They existed for 135 million years. They didn’t kill themselves. But, man is destroying mankind.
Our planet is not in danger. Humans are in danger. From ourselves. Humankind is on the road to extinguish ourselves. Sooner rather than later. The future for all of us is bleak. The planet will continue as it has for the 99% of the time before man, it will adjust and continue. Perhaps with other life forms, other vegetation, other landscapes.
The earlier we learn to curb our innate inclination to be brutal, to pollute and to annihilate, and the earlier we will learn to live with compassion and in peaceful co-existence with ourselves and with nature, the better it is for us and our continued existence.
Pratap Antony, Passive activist/Active pacifist writer on ecology and environment, compassion and humanity, dogs, social justice, music and dance.“When we respect the environment, then nature will be good to us. When our hearts are good, then the sky will be good to us. The trees are like our mother and father, they feed us, nourish us, and provide us with everything; the fruit, leaves, the branches, the trunk. They give us food and satisfy many of our needs. So we spread the Dharma (truth) of protecting ourselves and protecting our environment, which is the Dharma of the Buddha. When we accept that we are part of a great human family—that every being has the nature of Buddha—then we will sit, talk, make peace. I pray that this realization will spread throughout our troubled world and bring humankind and the earth to its fullest flowering. I pray that all of us will realize peace in this lifetime and save all beings from suffering”. Maha Ghosananda (1929 – 2007) revered Cambodian Buddhist monk – known as the Gandhi of Cambodia
The original source of this article is Counter Currents
Copyright © Pratap Antony, Counter Currents, 2017
Thanks to: http://www.globalresearch.ca
Life on Earth is Dying. Thousands of Species Cease to Exist. Homo Sapiens is the Cause
On the day that you read this article, 200 species of life on Earth (plants, birds, animals, fish, amphibians, insects, reptiles) will cease to exist. Tomorrow, another 200 species will vanish forever.
The human onslaught to destroy life on Earth is unprecedented in Earth’s history. Planet Earth is now experiencing its sixth mass extinction event and Homo sapiens is the cause. Moreover, this mass extinction event is accelerating and is so comprehensive in its impact that the piecemeal measures being taken by the United Nations, international agencies and governments constitute a tokenism that is breathtaking in the extreme.
And it is no longer the case that mainly ‘invisible’ species are vanishing: those insects, amphibians and small animals about which you had never even heard, assuming they have been identified and given a name by humans.
You and I are on the brink of driving to extinction some of the most iconic species alive today. For a photo gallery of threatened species, some of which are ‘critically endangered’, see ‘World’s wildlife being pushed to the edge by humans – in pictures’.
If you want to read more about some aspects of the extinction threat, you can do so in these recent reports: ‘World Wildlife Crime Report: Trafficking in protected species’ and ‘2016 Living Planet Report’ which includes these words: ‘The main statistic from the report … shows a 58% decline between 1970 and 2012. This means that, on average, animal populations are roughly half the size they were 42 years ago.’
And if you want to read just one aspect of what is happening in the world’s oceans, this recent UN report will give you something to ponder: ‘New UN report finds marine debris harming more than 800 species, costing countries millions’.
But not everything that is going badly wrong is well known either. Did you know that we are destroying the Earth’s soil? See ‘Only 60 Years of Farming Left If Soil Degradation Continues’.
And did you realise that even nitrogen is now a huge problem too? See ‘Scientists shine a spotlight on the overlooked menace of nitrogen’.
Of course, military violence has devastating consequences on the Earth’s ecosystems too, destroying land, water and atmosphere (not to mention killing human beings) in the fight over resources. You will get no joy from the article ‘Iraq’s oil inferno – government inaction in the face of eco-terrorism’ or the website of the Toxic Remnants of War Project.
But every single aspect of military spending is ultimately used to destroy. It has no other function.
While 2.5 billion human beings do not have enough to eat. See ‘One in three people suffers malnutrition at global cost of $3.5 trillion a year’
As you read all this, you might say ‘Not me’! But you are wrong. You don’t have to be an impoverished African driven to killing elephants for their tusks so that you can survive yourself. You don’t have to be a farmer who is destroying the soil with synthetic poisons. You don’t have to be a soldier who kills and destroys or a person who works for a corporation that, one way to another, forces peasants off their land.
You just have to be an ‘ordinary’ person who pays your military taxes and consumes more than your share of world resources while participating without challenge in the global system of violence and exploitation managed by the global elite.
‘Why is this?’ you might ask.
This is because the primary driver of the human-induced mass extinction is not such things as some people hunting a particular lifeform to extinction, horrendous though this is. In fact, just two things drive most species over the edge: our systematic destruction of land habitat – forests, grasslands, wetlands, peatlands, mangroves… – in our endless effort to capture more of the Earth’s wild places for human use (whether it be residential, commercial, mining, farming or military) and our destruction of waterways and the ocean habitat by dumping into them radioactive contaminants, carbon dioxide, a multitude of poisons and chemical pollutants, and even plastic.
And do you know what drives this destruction of land and water habitats? Your demand for consumer products, all of which are produced by using land and water habitats, and the resources derived from them, often far from where you live. The most basic products, such as food and clothing, are produced on agricultural land, sometimes created by destroying rainforests, or taken from the ocean (where overfishing has savagely depleted global fish stocks). But in using these resources, we have ignored the needs of the land, oceans and the waterways for adequate regenerative inputs and recovery time.
We also participate, almost invariably without question or challenge, in the inequitable distribution of resources that compels some impoverished people to take desperate measures to survive through such means as farming marginal land or killing endangered wildlife.
So don’t sit back waiting for some miracle by the United Nations, international agencies or governments to solve this problem. It cannot happen for the simple reason that these organizations are all taking action within the existing paradigm that prioritizes corporate profit and military violence over human equity and ecological sustainability.
Despite any rhetoric to the contrary, they are encouraging overconsumption by industrialized populations and facilitating the inequitable distribution of income and wealth precisely because this benefits those who control these organizations, agencies and governments: the insane corporate elites who are devoid of the capacity to see any value beyond the ‘bottom line’. See ‘The Global Elite is Insane’.
If you want action on the greatest challenge human beings have ever faced – to avert our own extinction by learning to live in harmony with our biosphere and equity with our fellow humans – then I encourage you to take personal responsibility.
If you do, you need to act. At the simplest level, you can make some difficult but valuable personal choices. Like becoming a vegan or vegetarian, buying/growing organic/biodynamic food, and resolutely refusing to use any form of poison or to drive a car or take an airline flight.
But if you want to take an integrated approach, the most powerful way you can do this is to systematically reduce your own personal consumption while increasing your self-reliance. Anita McKone and I have mapped out a fifteen-year strategy for doing this in ‘The Flame Tree Project to Save Life on Earth’.
You might also consider signing the online pledge of ‘The People’s Charter to Create a Nonviolent World’ which obviously includes nonviolence towards our fellow species.
One of the hidden tragedies of modern human existence is that we have been terrorized into believing that we are not personally responsible. See ‘The Delusion “I Am Not Responsible”‘.
For a fuller explanation, see ‘Why Violence?’ and ‘Fearless Psychology and Fearful Psychology: Principles and Practice’.
It isn’t true but few people feel powerful enough to make a difference.
And every time you decide to do nothing and to leave it to someone else, you demonstrate why no-one else should do anything either.
Extinction beckons. What will you do?
Robert J. Burrowes has a lifetime commitment to understanding and ending human violence. He has done extensive research since 1966 in an effort to understand why human beings are violent and has been a nonviolent activist since 1981. He is the author of ‘Why Violence?‘http://tinyurl.com/whyviolence His email address is email@example.com and his website is at http://robertjburrowes.wordpress.com
The original source of this article is Global Research
Copyright © Robert J. Burrowes, Global Research, 2017
Thanks to: http://www.globalresearch.ca