Catchy title, no? And no it’s not clickbait – look around you.
In Brazil, huge areas of the Amazon rainforest are burning out of control. The Brazilian president Jair “Captain Chainsaw” Bolsonaro has waited until today to ask the military to step in to assist, when Brazil’s National Institute for Space Research announced that it has detected more than 75,000 wildfires in the Amazon rainforest since January.
And the cause of these wildfires? Possibly farming companies looking to clear land to make a profit. Land that for millennia has acted as the lungs of the planet, absorbing carbon dioxide and generating oxygen – for humanity, not just Brazilians. And it seems to me that it’s Bolsonaro’s influence on politics and culture in Brazil that has empowered these people to feel they can act with impunity – or dare I say it, maybe his government is sponsoring them behind the scenes, as a way of speeding up the deforestation Bolsonaro seems hell-bent on. Were there wildfires in the Amazon on this scale 20 years ago? 50 years ago? There were not.
Slightly further north, in Iceland, scientists have put up a memorial to a glacier that has ceased to exist due to the climate crisis. There’s no doubt whatsoever that human activity is responsible for the change in temperatures that caused this to happen.
And a little further northwest, in Greenland, scientists are finding that coastal glaciers are more affected by deeper, warmer water than previously thought. If the Greenland ice cap were to melt entirely, the world’s sea level would rise by over 24 feet. It’s not hard to imagine what that would do to London, or New York, or Sydney, or Jakarta.
And all the while temperatures rise and in turn humans install more power-hungry air conditioners and contribute further to the temperature change.
And what is humanity doing? Not very much.
In Nepal, proposed construction of a new airport will destroy large areas of forest, including rare animal habitats.
In Malta, construction is out of control due to political corruption and the Maltese islands are rapidly becoming a dustbowl.
In China, construction of new coal power plants continues.
In the US, energy consumption continues to increase and hits a new record almost every year, with 80% still provided by fossil fuels in 2018.
Everywhere, traffic increases as car ownership rises and the transport of commodities increases to support a growing global population.
And in fact out-of-control population growth is another huge factor in the unsustainability of what is being done to the planet. The catholic church is of course one of the biggest causes with their intransigent backward policies on reproductive health, indirectly supported by the USA with their global gag rule.
I don’t think there has been a period in history when more politicians and religious leaders were enabling more damage to the planet than today. And I can’t understand why these people are in power. Is humanity really becoming collectively so stupid that they vote into power people like Donald Trump, Jair Bolsonaro and Boris Johnson? Is humanity really becoming collectively so selfish that as long as their own personal interests are served, the rest of the world can go fuck itself? Is humanity really so blinkered from reality that they continue to support and fund damaging religious organisations like the catholic church?
If it was possible to graphically represent all the things I’ve been talking about in a graph that measures ‘damage to planet earth’ against time, I’m pretty sure the result would be an upward curve increasing in gradient, not even an upward straight line.
A day is going to come when that curve passes a certain critical point, the oceans rise, crops fail, water supplies dry up and temperatures are too high for humanity to survive. The question is, when will that day be?
I actually think there are people alive today who will see the start of the extinction of humanity.
And people wonder why I get depressed.