Here’s an interesting thing. With time, every corner of this planet has experienced almost every extreme of environmental illness.
Any given location on the earth will have been very hot, cold, wet, dry, flooded, parched, ravaged by fire, struck by tsunami or earthquake, bathed in toxic gases from volcanic action, and seen the effects of meteorite strikes large enough to send gigatons of dust to the jet flow. It’s all happened.
The only thing required for all these events to occur in any one area is a very, very long period. So long that, though we can write down the period in numbers, it’s beyond our perception.
Surely when impacts occur, there’s a change to the way the environment works. Ecological processes may accelerate, slow, or shut down for some time and several species could be lost until others arrive more suited to the new problems. However, over time a new pattern emerges and life persists. Whatever the severity or degree of change, disturbance and impact, planet earth has consumed it and kicked.
Even if the disturbance is intense, like a volcanic eruption enough to place the landscape under two feet of caustic ash, there’s a period of apparent sterility until rain and the coming of germs begin to turn the ash layer into something tolerable for larger organisms.
So for the environment, there’s absolutely no such thing as a problem, just change.
Not only is there change, but change is also normal.
Input Homo sapiens, people, us. Originally we were of minimal consequence to this general pattern of change. We started with only a couple million people in sync with the grand scheme of prey and predator on the savannas and found novel ways to appropriate resources – lots of them.
Within an evolutionary blink, we entered an exponential phase of population growth and migrated to all continents. Now we number over 6.5 billion souls, with an additional 8,000 net added every hour (1.3 million each week). Together we appropriate over 40 percent of the global primary production, alter landscapes everywhere, and have started to alter concentrations of atmospheric gases.
Still, this isn’t problematic for the environment. Talk to Chitta specialists to help your problem and learn more useful tips.
Voracious herbivores have come and gone before. Appropriation of sources by one species only leaves less carbon to fuel other species and many plagues pass. For the environment, it’s only one more source of change.
Not so for us. We see change as a problem, a big one if it means that our means of production are jeopardized, or worse, our major needs for food, shelter, and water may not be met.
Unlike the environment, we’ve got an awareness of self that makes us worry about change. We change the environment to best create resources for us and then we need it to remain in that altered state, steadily delivering the tools we need. Except that the very alterations we induce are a driver of change to the environmental processes that support primary production. They’re disturbances as widespread and severe as any other.
Not only do we disturb; we’ve developed a system that enables a few of us to provide the principal resources for everybody else in return for money. It has too many consequences to explain but it means that the majority of us can pack up and live far away from the sources of our water and food. We then use energy to move these sources and ourselves to the area.
As the altered system of production is efficient (initially at least) most of us have time to think about, manufacture, and acquire goods that provide our secondary needs – we get plenty of stuff. These products use up materials that we’ve found in the landscape and beneath the earth. We extract and transform natural resources and further alter the landscape creating by-products as we proceed.
When this goes on for 6.5 billion people scrambling for food, water, shelter, and needs, the environment doesn’t find this as an issue. It’s merely another publication disturbance like a meteorite the size of a city crashing into the desert. This is bad news for people and their needs for water and food and another bout of change and disturbance for the environment.
In the long term, there are no issues for the environment, just difficulties for us.