SuttaCentral

Worried about Earth's future? Well, the outlook is worse than even scientists can grasp

While the problems are too numerous to cover in full here, they include:

  • a halving of vegetation biomass since the agricultural revolution around 11,000 years ago. Overall, humans have altered almost two-thirds of Earth’s land surface

  • About 1,300 documented species extinctions over the past 500 years, with many more unrecorded. More broadly, population sizes of animal species have declined by more than two-thirds over the last 50 years, suggesting more extinctions are imminent

  • about one million plant and animal species globally threatened with extinction. The combined mass of wild mammals today is less than one-quarter the mass before humans started colonising the planet. Insects are also disappearing rapidly in many regions

  • 85% of the global wetland area lost in 300 years, and more than 65% of the oceans compromised to some extent by humans

  • a halving of live coral cover on reefs in less than 200 years and a decrease in seagrass extent by 10% per decade over the last century. About 40% of kelp forests have declined in abundance, and the number of large predatory fishes is fewer than 30% of that a century ago.

(…)
Essentially, humans have created an ecological Ponzi scheme. Consumption, as a percentage of Earth’s capacity to regenerate itself, has grown from 73% in 1960 to more than 170% today.

High-consuming countries like Australia, Canada and the US use multiple units of fossil-fuel energy to produce one energy unit of food. Energy consumption will therefore increase in the near future, especially as the global middle class grows.

:grimacing:

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:cry: :broken_heart:

I was once absorbed with the idea of fossil-fuel, how it was created and transformed through millions of years. And how wonderful it was that it has transformed the human civilization in the way unimaginable in just 200 years. But one day I suddenly realized that the fossil-fuel we’re using everyday and so essential for our lives right now, they are made by countless bodies of dead living beings of ancient times of the earth, and now basically we’re burning their corpses to fuel our lives. And millions years more, in turn our own corpses will be made into fossil fuel just like theirs! How sad it was for me at the time.

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The situation is undeniably dire. So we should do something, right? But what? This article lists a few things but most of them aren’t actionable on the individual level. It’s a list of massive changes that we can’t personally accomplish. We can only do our best to influence things to go in that direction, hoping that it’s enough but knowing it probably isn’t.

Vagueness seems to be common in communicating desirable changes to environmental behavior. If it wasn’t, big companies wouldn’t get praise for making meaningless changes and marketing the hell out of them. “The lid of this overpackaged plastic container now contains 12.5% recycled material because we care about [checks notes] bees. Give us your money.” Ugh.

I’m not saying every article needs to have a comprehensive action plan. I’m just thinking that if we’re gonna make suggestions, it might be useful to focus on being specific.

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