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OpEdNews Op Eds    H3'ed 1/20/22

Is the Human Species on a Fast Track Toward Extinction?

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Warming of the planet. Photo by NASA; script by B. Starr
Warming of the planet. Photo by NASA; script by B. Starr
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A National Geographic video on climate change tells us that if the 4.5 billion year lifespan of the universe is condensed into 24 hours, the tiny amount of time humans have walked this planet since the big bang would be three seconds. The documentary asks: "Will we make it to the fourth second?

Paleontologist Henry Gee writing in Scientific American on November 30, 2021, is convinced that humans are doomed to go extinct: "Habitat degradation, low genetic variation, and declining fertility are setting Homo sapiens up for collapse." He reminds us that "species come and go" and the ones like humans with small genetic variations are likely to go fast, meaning as soon as a million years.

But humans may disappear much faster than he predicts for a different reason: Climate change.

Despite having the highest intelligence among species, humans are emerging as deeply flawed, unable to adequately apply their intelligence for self-preservation, suggesting that extinction may come long before Gee's scenario plays out.

Job One for Humanity documents the scientific evidence for their conclusion: "Because of accelerating global warming and the worsening of our other 11 major global crises". We face an unavoidable die-off of half of humanity and the widespread collapse of many of our critical social, economic, and political systems by mid-century. We also face the high probability of humanity's total extinction and the collapse of civilization by the end of the 21st century." Will plans to reduce carbon emissions change that grim forecast? Job One for Humanity advises: : "Whenever you hear national politicians promise carbon net-zero by 2030, 2040, 2050, etc. know that it equals mass human extinction occurring over the next several decades."

Over the past few decades, powerful wake-up calls should have convinced us that we are not masters of nature--that naturally occurring events and threats evoked by human activities could wreak havoc, destroy all life, even the planet itself. And we might not have effective weapons to stop the carnage.

While science offers the best potential to prevent, minimize or deflect these potential disasters there has been widespread and growing resistance to science as illustrated by vaccine resisters and climate change deniers.

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Bernard Starr, PhD, is author of The Crucifixion of Truth, a drama set in 16th century Italy and Spain. Starr is a psychologist, journalist, and professor emeritus at CUNY, Brooklyn College. At Brooklyn College Starr taught developmental (more...)

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