Tuesday, November 24, 2015

NaBloPoMo -- Victims of our Own Success

Is that a way to describe humanity?

For much of our history as a species we did not have great lives (by modern standards lives were downright substandard).  Mothers were far more likely to die in childbirth.  Children were lucky to live to 5 years old. Subsistence and survival was the name of the game.

But continually we improved.  We got better at food production, and developed technology, and life got better, easier. We developed medical care.  Sure sometimes the development cycle was hit and miss.  Sometimes there were great leaps and sometimes things just didn't change.  But overall we kept getting "better" at controlling and making use of the world around us.

And today? Today much of the global population enjoys a fantastic average life expectancy. WE can make things grow where nature says they shouldn't.  We can drive the cold of winter away and ease the heat of summer (inside at least). We can turn a key and drive across the country. We can manipulate not only the chemistry of our world but the very DNA in our organisms. And it appears to be killing the planet.

Silent Spring. Love Canal. CFCs. Greenhouse Effect. Acid Rain. Chernobyl. Fukushima.  And that is just a partial list...

Maybe our success will be the cause of our demise?

Now let us be honest, the ideal of living so that we don't impact our environment is a myth.  All organisms change their environment.  Sometimes destructively, sometimes symbiotically.  And most don't have the ability to choose or control what that impact will be.

So we need to make a choice.  And more and more I am convinced that there is no sustainable choice that will allow us the lifestyle to which we have become accustomed.

WE are (justly) proud of the things we have accomplished as a species.  ANd those accomplishments may set the stage for us to be even better.  OR we could become the victims of our own success...leaving a chnged planet behind for what ever species comes next.

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