The world is changing.
We've been hearing about global warming and climate change for years. There are, of course, many consequences of this disaster that scientists around the world have been telling us about.
As temperatures change, different ecosystems will be unable to evolve with the change and species of flora and fauna will die out.
Ice caps will melt and sea levels will rise, forever changing the landscape.
Food and water shortages will put the human race in dire straights, and WE COULD BE IN THE SIXTH GREAT EXTINCTION ALREADY!
Yes, yes, Science. We get it. The sky is falling.
But here's a thought... maybe the sky isn't falling fast enough. Maybe we should speed things up a bit. Frack that oil. Deregulate pollution standards. Let the Republicans dismantle all environmental protections so they can get to those valuable mineral deposits and what not that they've had their eyes on for years.
What is this madness? You say. BLASPHEMY!
Now hear me out before you sacrifice me on the Alter of Common Sense.
Let's stop for a minute and really think about what we are saving.
People have always been divided. But never more so than these days of social media and connectivity, where any idiot with a keyboard can spew their brand of hate and vitriol. Trolls that live just to stir up trouble. "Victims" of every possible combination of what they consider to be slights against them.
We have the obvious hate groups, of course. KKK, Westboro Baptist, ISIS. People so oblivious to others that they are willing to threaten, abuse and even kill so they can force others into their beliefs.
We have relatively new groups formed to protect their own status quo, regardless of how ridiculous that status quo is. Men's rights groups, upset that women are finally getting equal treatment under the law. "Christian" groups that are fighting for their supposed religious freedoms, though those freedoms have never been in harms way in this country. Groups that see change coming and somehow feel it will have a negative impact on their lives, when in reality it will have zero impact on how they want to live.
But we also have groups that, while once forces for positive change, seem to have devolved into playing the blame game for their every problem. Feminists turning against each other because of skin color. People of Color demanding that ALL white people are to blame for the historical traumas placed on them. They don't propose solutions anymore. They just gripe about how everyone is against them.
Now, to be fair, not all feminists or POC's or other people in these once excellent organizations fall into this extremism. But it seems that the increasingly extremist factions of these groups are getting more and more air time, and the logical, rational people in those groups are having their voices drown out by the outrage and indignation of the more extreme members.
Hate seems to be the easiest route for most people to take, because it is so very easy to let oneself feel slighted and offended about pretty much anything. It is easier to let rage take over and explode about your issue than to sit and have calm, reasonable discussions to find solutions. It is easier to get on your iPhone and post something about how outraged you are, than to actually get out into the community and DO something about it. It is easier to demand that your way is the ONLY way and dig your heels in than to find common ground and compromise.
There are few solutions presented anymore that would actually benefit all of the inhabitants of this planet, flora and fauna alike. When one hears of ideas to "combat" this problem or that issue, it nearly always involves sacrifices to be made by others that the presenting entity deems to be against them, with very little to no sacrifice from that entity.
Some, of course, are legitimate arguments. The police need to be policing themselves, and need to get back to "protect and serve" instead of believing that they are the law, judge, jury and executioner. Systemic racism, poverty, injustice - all need to be addressed. We need to curb our greed and stop destroying the air and water and land for profits.
Unfortunately the only solutions many can come up with begin with the phrase "If only..."
If only black people would stop being angry.
If only white people would admit they are inherently racist.
If only poor people would work harder.
If only all guns were outlawed.
If only people were not so greedy.
People these days expect a single, magic bullet solution to problems. But when things get complicated, which they inevitably do, rational discussion breaks down into a blame game, hurt feelings, hatred and vitriol for the "other side". When our leaders act like petulant children who would rather have a tantrum if they don't get their way, how do we expect their followers to behave any differently?
Which brings me back to climate change.
Think about what it is that seems to bring people together. It isn't anything human made. But when you have a good old natural disaster, it brings out the humanity in most people.
Floods, tornadoes, earthquakes, tsunamis. Suddenly everyone wants to "help out their fellow man" (and woman, of course).
Wallets and purses are suddenly opened to help those facing a crisis. News reports show the devastation and destruction, and most people are ready to do what it takes to alleviate the suffering of others. People travel to the devastated area to help rescue, recover, rebuild.
Of course their are the jerks that will try and profit off of it, the lawless factions that will take advantage of others. Deaths caused by everything and anything in the destruction zone. There are down sides to disaster.
But if we could speed up climate change. Make it an acute threat to the world. Maybe, just maybe, people would start to take it seriously and realize "Oh crap. This really IS a threat to my life, and the lives of my children and grandchildren!"
Maybe people would open wallets and purses to do what it takes to alleviate some of the consequences of climate change.
Maybe people would come together and realize that regardless of gender or skin color or sexual preference or politics, or anything else that divides us, that we are ALL in this together, and what is good for some, is usually good for all. And what is bad for some, is usually bad for all.
Maybe those who seek to divide us and turn those "like" us against those "unlike" us will finally wake up and see just how destructive their attitudes and behaviors are.
Maybe we would finally understand that we should live our lives as if this is the ONLY planet we get. The ONLY chance we have to continue life on this world. That our actions DO have consequences that will come back around and not just bite us in the butt, but wipe us from existence.
Of course, this comes with a price. People would need to be willing to make sacrifices for others. We would ALL have to do this, not just some. Humanity would have to live up to its BEST potential. And as we can see pretty clearly, humanity has a long, long way to go for a majority of the human population to behave like that.
So bring on climate change. Faster and faster. With the change being slow, humans will continue to focus on themselves as individuals. As small groups of like minded people that MUST fight against other groups that look different or think different from them. More money, more power, more infighting like dogs over table scraps. With more rapid change, maybe more people will come together and start doing what is right for EVERYONE and EVERYTHING.
It is a race right now to see what will happen first. Can we evolve into a higher thinking species before we destroy life as we know it? Or are we better off going extinct and letting the planet heal itself over time?
Humans aren't an endangered species. We wipe out more species than all other group of animals and plants combined. Humans are the greatest single threat to life on this planet that has EVER existed. But humans also have the potential to do wonderful, amazing things that could make life on this planet - and even other planets - great.
It will be easy to let the world go to pot. We are on that easy road now. Fast food, cheap gas, using up our unsustainable resources at an amazingly fast pace. Doing things the inefficient way to save money for some. Doing things the old ways because "that's how it has always been done."
We avoid doing things the hard way, because that REQUIRES sacrifice.
Look at the Honey Bee. Honey bee populations are being decimated by Varroa mites and neonicotinoids. But we continue to breed bees that are susceptible to Varroa and treat them as best we can with chemicals, and we continue to use neonicotinoids on crops because to do otherwise would require sacrifice. The bee population would shrink significantly if we only let the Varroa resistant bees live. That would impact the honey producers profits, the food producers profits, and could cause a food shortage for a time that would increase prices for consumers. Financial sacrifice that society is unwilling to make. Same with the neonicotoids. Smaller crops due to disease would impact the farmers profits and raise prices for consumers. Just the threat of the griping and whining from their constituents, and the threat of not being re-elected because of it, keeps leaders from making the hard decisions to do what is right.
China doesn't have any honey bees, because they have literally destroyed the food chain that the bees live in. They do all of their pollination by hand. That works over there because they live in a dictatorship and have billions of people. Do you think that would even be feasible in the U.S.? No. not at all.
Yet we continue to do what is easy instead of what is right. Because we, as humans - not just Americans, but worldwide - believe that sacrifice is better forced upon something or someone else so that WE can live easier, rather than taking on that sacrifice as a whole for the betterment of all.
It's a race alright. Between the easy path to global chaos and destruction - which humanity may not survive, but the planet will, and the hard path to make sacrifices for each other, the plants and animals, the air and the water, for the betterment of all.
I want to root for the hard path, because in the long run it would benefit my children's children and beyond. But I think that too many are firmly committed to the easy path because, well... It's easier. Maybe that is what would be best for the planet in the long run.