To say that one’s own time is finite is a blinding flash of the obvious. Much less obvious for most of us, however, is the question of time as it relates to the planet…or, more specifically, the amount of time that the planet can continue to support its most destructive organism…the human race.
Scientists are divided into two camps on this question. First, there are those who don’t talk about it out of fear of the professional consequences. Then there’s the second group…the scientists who believe that human habitation of the planet is at imminent peril. The only thing that divides this group is not if…but rather when.
At the other end of the apocalyptic spectrum is Guy MacPherson who says that human extinction is likely by around 2030. Other scientists have a more optimistic outlook. For example, a History Channel documentary titled “Two Degrees: The Point of No Return” predicts that the world will start to really feel the effects of climate change by 2052…with the “end of days” happening in around 2117.
Regardless of where you’re placed on the spectrum, there’s no denying that it’s getting hotter and that this will have serious consequences for humanity.
MacPherson’s strategy for dealing with this?
“I recommend living fully. I recommend living with intention. I recommend living urgently, with death in mind. I recommend the pursuit of excellence. I recommend the pursuit of love.”
While I don’t know who’s right in this debate (although the emerging evidence seems to support the “apocalyptic ecologists”) I’m drawn to MacPherson’s strategy for dealing with the crisis.
Even if we assume that he’s wrong about the whole human extinction thing (much less the timing), his prescription is a sound one for humans living in troubled times.
My approach will be to hope for the best while acting for the worst.