Tuesday, January 09, 2007

How it will end for Human Life

Environmental Scientists are telling us that we are polluting this world at an ever increasing rate and we have about 10 years left to alter these trends before much of this earth in the following years to come will become uninhabitable. Polar and glacial ice will melt away, the seas will rise and our coastal cities will be submerged, storms will ravage our lands and tropical regions will lose their fertility as the mountain streams running off the glaciers will dry up. Populations will desperately flee to regions where the soil remains fertile. Governments will be unable to prevent this unplanned migration. Increasingly scarce resources such as arable land, oil, water and minerals will be fought over thus ensuring an escalation of world conflict.
Just finished an interesting book by P.D.James entitled “The Children of Men” The story begins in 2021 in England. Worldwide men became sterile in 1995 and as the story begins the final generation has just turned 25. In another 60 years the human race will have disappeared, the cathedrals, libraries and factories will become silent and the animal kingdom will carry on. I will not tell you how the story ends but it got me thinking about how it affects our pollution problem. Forests and fields would cover the land, the air would become sweet again, lakes and rivers would fill, and the animal kingdom would repopulate. Unfortunately no human would be around to appreciate it but it clearly would present a solution to our pollution problem.
A less drastic solution would require leaders of major nations enforcing draconian policies that would drastically alter how we travel, how we live, what we eat and produce and what we dispose of. Leaders need public support and that means making popular policies and decisions that fit into a four year electable time frame. The time frame doesn’t fit even with the modest Kyoto plan, a fair predictor of how the environmental challenge will unfold.
In the PD James story a dying population doesn’t care about the future on this earth because there is no future. They live a futile life simply waiting for the end. Their goal is simply to hang on to what they have and to collect more as generations die off and leave their possessions behind. Presumably the last person alive will own everything, albeit in a cleaner world..
In the real world I think most of us in our own way do care about the future.. Why do we care? Clearly because we see life as a continuum from past to future generations; we will die but our family and others will carry on in the future. The problem is we are inexpert individuals preoccupied with the here and now. In the absence of visionary leaders a disaster is inevitable.
Maybe the religious fundamentalists have it right. At some point the end will abruptly come.. As an agnostic I have my doubts however about the Rapture when those born again Christians who have already died will have their bodies restored, ascend through the air, and meet Jesus in the sky. This supposedly will be followed by a mass migration of the born-again who are currently living. It will be quite an event. Mom will disappear from the bathtub, people from their automobiles, some will disappear from the dinner table and lovers from the bedroom and rise up through the roof and through the air. Babies are innocent so maybe they will rise too.
Presumably the rest of us, including my dog, will wave good bye before Jesus returns on a horse leading an army who will exterminate most of the earth's population in a massive genocide. It will be numerically the largest mass extermination of humans in history. Certainly this represents another solution to global warming. but it isn’t the loving Jesus I read about.