The world’s human population is now over 7 billion. From time-to-time some suggest that perhaps this is just too many people for one little planet to bear.
Most people don’t have any idea, really, how many resources it takes to support one human life, let alone seven billion. We can say, “Everything is fine; the Earth can handle us.” But on what do we base this rather frivolous statement?
The phrase of the day, boys and girls, is “The Sixth Extinction.” Kind of catches your attention, doesn’t it? According to our friends in the white lab coats, the last mass-extinction occurred 65 million years ago with the fall of the dinosaurs.
From a human-centered point of view, I suppose the last mass-extinction wasn’t such a bad thing. After all, while having a dinosaur as a pet might have worked in The Flintstones, I very much doubt that our ancestors would ever have secured a toe-hold on world domination with these big fellas still roaming the Earth.
So who cares if bees and frogs and turtles and sharks and jungle cats snuff it this century? By the year 2100, you and I probably won’t be around any longer, but a projected 10 billion human beings will make sure that our individual presence isn’t much missed. And I'm sure they will carry on, somehow, without the need for any wildlife. Bees are taking away our jobs anyway, and with their elimination, this will open up new opportunities for the human masses.
Human beings take comfort from strength in numbers. Maybe only 1600 Giant Pandas remain the wild, but perhaps they weren’t supposed to eat bamboo forever. Maybe the future was set aside solely for human beings (and as one commenter recently posted to a blog, as many domesticated chickens as we can raise).
Well, brothers and sisters, I have met the domestic chickens, and they are us. We are they. That said, the real question to me is: Who will be running this place 65 million years from now, and will they be as foolish and arrogant as we have been in our short reign at the top of the food chain?
If human beings are just animals, is it naïve to think they should care anymore about the future of the planet and their fellow species than, say, a cat cares about a moth it’s trying to catch and eat alive?
“I think a human animal is far more wild and unpredictable and dangerous and destructive than any other animal.” – Jeff Corwin