Friday, May 22, 2009

the Universe

Thank you Mudflats for a wonderful blog that reminds me of how puny we are, and how glorious and vast the universe.

It is so enormous, there must be other planets with more intelligent life forms, and that gives me comfort.

I have come across many people who talk about their discovery of the drastically different future we have assured with our reckless squandering of fuel. It seems universal that we feel like we are living in a parallel universe with all those who surround us that remain oblivious. I have even read comments from people whose spouse is a denier, which must be especially painful.

I have been thinking a lot lately about the inexorable nature of extinction and the very real possibility that we have already assured the destruction of a habitable environment - not just for trees but eventually, us too. Reading the geological history of prior extinctions as recounted in "With Fear and Violence" has been quite useful in helping me to put this 6th Great Extinction in perspective.

For me there have been two major components to the process of realizing the inevitability of ecosystem collapse. The first concern is the almost certain breakdown of civilized society and a culture that is governed by laws. Even if it does not happen soon - and I think we are close to a tipping point - it will definitely happen in my children's lifetime. And I am helpless to spare them the ravages, deprevations and dislocations and quite likely, violence that will ensue.

The second concern is the soul-crushing notion that all the beauty that humans have created, all the art, music, theater, dance, will be lost forever.

Of course, think of all the beautiful flora and fauna that humans have driven to extinction and perhaps it's only fair.

As Lord Lovelock would have it, Gaia's revenge.

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