We as a species, have seriously fucked up. As the human race evolved through the years alongside hundreds of thousands of other species and lifeforms, we forgot a very important fact. While we might be the “top” species that the earth has supported (a questionable claim at best), somewhere along the way we forgot how reliant we are on the planet. We made the decision that as the top lifeform, we are the sole masters of our survival. This is absolutely not the case. We have polluted the planet so much, that we have actually forced a new epoch in the timeline of the planet, that will probably result in our long, drawn out death.
Recently, we passed a threshold for carbon emissions.
What does this mean exactly? Essentially, humans have pumped so much excess CO2 into the atmosphere over the last hundred years or so that we have begun to alter the planet’s ecosystem. Our ecosystem changes and alters over time to keep the world in balance. Upsetting this balance means we have put into motion a series of events that have a great chance of killing most of the life currently existing on earth at the time. Some people might be wondering how the entire human race could be wiped out? It seems almost like science fiction. Honestly, however, it would be pretty easy for the planet to kill us. The yellowstone super volcano is an easy example. While dormant, volcanoes can turn active, and if it ever erupted, it would produce enough ash and smoke to completely block the sun in a large part of the planet for an extended period of time. That would immediately cause mass extinctions. Humans would probably live for a while, but as other species faced extinction, it would cause a chain reaction within our ecosystem that would inevitably lead to more and more extinctions. While a super volcano erupting is not to be blamed on climate change or (I hope) human influence, the chain reaction of extinctions it could cause is something we could be facing soon. We have likely already started a process that will lead to mass extinction. As the global CO2 levels go up, the world’s oceans face irreparable changes in its ecosystem. A drastic shift in an ocean ecosystem could lead to a chain reaction of extinctions that at the very least have dire effects on food sources for humans world wide.
In our quest for survival, humans have decided that we are the greatest force in existence. Our hubris has let us believe that we don’t need the planet to sustain our lives. This is entirely wrong. Sadly, it might not even be fixable at this point. Sure we are enacting some small measures, like the Paris Climate agreement http://ec.europa.eu/clima/policies/international/negotiations/paris/index_en.htm, but it seems unlikely that we will be able to act fast enough. The earth is going to remind us very quickly that we are not solely responsible for our survival, but in fact we rely on our planet for everything. Sadly this reminder will be catastrophic for our species. Heres hoping I am wrong.