Humanity lives in a social construct generated by humanity to protect humanity from humanity’s worst nightmare, extinction. Ever since the beginning of time the planet Earth has been a battleground amongst species, fighting for existence on a rock in the middle of a vacuum protected by little more than a shell of gases. Most humans don’t realize that we have gifts that no other species has had to this date, the ability to communicate with one another, the ability to reason, and think beyond the capabilities of any species that has ever been on Earth, yet we as human beings conform to a society that rejects thinking and scientific discoveries. Modern human society is divided in many ways from political parties to race and many people can talk circles around the entire basis of government and economics but in the end what does it amount to? Why are we here?
Climate change is still denied by many people across the globe, as the world’s weather events get more unpredictable and ice sheets melt at alarming rates. Being from Alaska and living there for eighteen years of my life I have become accustomed to cold weather in the winter and mildly hot weather in the summer. Fairbanks, Alaska, 198 miles south of the Arctic Circle where in the winter the temperatures regularly dip below -20 F for more than a third of the year suffered from freezing rain last winter and temperature rising into the high 30s and 40s during what should’ve been the coldest time of year. Fairbanks did not only suffer from a warmer winter but also a warmer summer in which forest fires raged across the entire state and caused millions in property damage to many Alaskans. I’m not saying that everyone who doesn’t believe in climate change is wrong, but instead I believe that we as a species should take a look at ourselves. Humanity has come on a long hard path many call history, as Winston Churchill once said, “Those who fail to learn from history are doomed to repeat it” yet where did fossil fuels come from?
During the Paleozoic Era there were many volcanic eruptions in which carbon was being pumped into the atmosphere. The occurrences during the Paleozoic Era are eerily similar to today’s climate change except with cars and the production of energy pumping carbon into the atmosphere. Over many millions of years the carbon from the volcanoes settled into Earth’s natural carbon sinks in the oceans and became covered with sediments at the bottoms of these prehistoric oceans. Many fossil fuels are found underneath continents that were previously underwater where most of the carbon was settled into the earth. Fast-forward many millions of years more and along comes humanity, a race of highly intelligent beings who dig up these fantastic sources of energy, Hallelujah, but as we burn these fossil fuels we as humans reverse the process it took the planet millions of years to do, rid the atmosphere of all the carbon produced by volcanoes. Backtrack to Churchill’s quote on history repeating itself, the Earth during the Paleozoic Era suffered from extreme climate change wiping out almost all living creatures on the planet, after millions of years the skeletons of these organisms were buried in mud and sand. 250 million years passed and these fossils began to change their organic state into hydrocarbons, which eventually after many more millions of years became oil and natural gas in the sedimentary rock underneath earth’s surface. After the insanely long process of getting all the carbon out and cleaning Earth’s atmosphere humanity comes along and burns all of these carbon stores releasing the carbon all back into the atmosphere and creating what? Another climate change event heating the atmosphere again.
History is doomed to repeat itself. Mankind as a species has an opportunity to change the world and reverse the process of climate change by switching to clean energy and doing the little things, such as riding a bike instead of driving on your daily commute or choosing to recycle that plastic. The little things can end up doing a lot to help out your fellow human beings, “Every man must decide whether he will walk in the light of creative altruism or in the darkness of destructive selfishness” said Martin Luther King Jr. the selfishness of mankind is evident in the way humans treat one another. Examples of selfishness could go all the way back to the Roman era when races were persecuted for the color of their skin or their beliefs to the modern day in which humanity still persecutes each other just for how someone looks or their cultural beliefs. In a society that thinks it is better than everything and everyone else we are truly no better than animals unless we take the path of altruism and do not for what is good for ourselves but what is good for all. I’m not saying that humanity should adopt a communist style government but that everyone should do as for others as they would do for themselves because in the end we are all here together on this floating rock. As a little boy growing up I was told to treat others as I want to be treated, I firmly believe that everyone should apply this idea to their daily lives because if we continue on a path of destruction humanity will miss out on its greatest moments yet to come.
Written by Alex Parker, ESLLC 2015-2016