The essential questions I would like to pose are the following-
- Are we prepared to leave as our legacy not only to future generations of humans, but also the future of our fellow creatures a world whose living populations will be severely decimated by the onslaught of climate change brought on by human activity?
- Are we prepared to jeopardize the quality of life and security of future generations of humanity on planet Earth so that we can maintain our privileged and comfortable lifestyles based upon a patent disregard for the environmental degradation that we necessarily impose upon our planet?
These questions are no longer simply philosophical in nature. The current data is clear that we are in the midst of a major change in the global environment caused primarily by human activity. The following statement was made within the Smithsonian Museums website – Smithsonian.com – “According to the International Union of Geological Sciences (IUGS), the professional organization in charge of defining Earth’s time scale, we are officially in the Holocene (“entirely recent”) epoch, which began 11,700 years ago after the last major ice age.
“But that label is outdated, some experts say. They argue for “Anthropocene”—from anthropo, for “man,” and cene, for “new”—because human-kind has caused mass extinctions of plant and animal species, polluted the oceans and altered the atmosphere, among other lasting impacts.”
Humanity’s response, within the 21st century, to this real crisis will determine the future that awaits the living world. Of course, the earth has been through at least five major mass extinctions in its long geological history and will certainly survive another. The kind of adjustments involved, however, require long stretches of time involving many thousands if not millions of years. We do not have the luxury of waiting. The future of the natural environment depends upon what we do, or what we fail to do now.