We mostly try not to think about it, but somewhere down deep we know we’re going to die someday. Death is a normal part of the life cycle. From a biological perspective, it’s the purpose of life to reproduce and carry on the species. There’s a conservation biologist who has been saying that the human species is headed for near term human extinction (NTHE), and he’s not alone in his prediction. What if these scientists are right, and climate change is a much bigger deal that we’ve been led to believe in the main-stream media? Our obsession in the news with near term politics blinds us to the bigger picture of where our global civilization is headed. If NTHE is a thing, then how much does it matter who is fired from the President’s cabinet and why? It’s all interesting, but relatively speaking, why do we focus on such trivia in the national news?
Ignorance is a possibility, given our tendency to focus on myopic news versus the big picture. Without great reporting in the mainstream we might not realize what the big reality is. Then there’s the opposition, delegitimizing science and journalism, generating misinformation about the climate realities.
Data shows the Arctic is melting rather fast. This explains quite a bit about changing weather patterns. Methane release accompanies this melt, and methane levels are up due to multiple sources outside the Arctic. Methane is a powerful greenhouse gas.
Few predictions look past 2100 in terms of global warming, and those born after 2000 who might live that long will surely take note. For those in my generation, our grandchildren, or optimistically our great grandchildren may not survive. This is NTHE.
Opposition to the possibility, to the data, is more than scientific critique. Attacking the sources, delegitimizing institutions like NASA which provide data, and putting out misinformation such that the Arctic is somehow getting colder — all of this is part of our “media”.
Meditate on acceptance of NTHE for a moment. Of all the generations that have survived in the United States over our relatively brief yet turbulent history, could it be possible that climate change could be that big of a deal? Could agriculture fail to support us? Could heat consume us? Could any number of self-supporting feedback loops come to haunt us? Failure of the food chain. Water shortage. Disease. War. Yes, some of this has been the doom of previous states, but globally, is an apocalypse a possibility? We are interconnected and interdependent as never before in the time humans have inhabited the earth. So, yes.
With growth as an imperative, it’s inevitable that we will meet a bleak future. The sooner we accept the idea that we have really screwed up our future, the more likely that we can act to try to prolong our collective lives. Or does it work that way? Individuals with a terminal diagnosis tend to act to prolong their lives, but not always. Some want to live fully now, and others want to live as many days as possible no matter the quality of life. It’s unprecedented in human history to have a global civilization so interdependent as we are today, and how much longer can we go on “growing our economies”? There is an end, and might we devise an endgame?
What if we accepted, by-and-large that it is all over, our global civilization and human life on the planet? What would you do the same or different if NTHE were true? What would you do?
Living with a Terminal Diagnosis was published in the Paradise Post on May 1, 2018.
Robin Huffman lived in Paradise, California from 1989 until she evacuated from the Camp Fire on Nov. 8, 2018.