We Are All So Screwed

When Bruce Willis nuked an asteroid
And saved the human race
It was lauded as planet-saving plan
But today, the greatest danger
Doesn’t come from outer space—
No, today the biggest danger comes from Man.

As we populate the planet,
Every son and every daughter
Adds a burden, and a problem to be solved;
There are some already living
Who will face a planet hotter
Than it’s ever been since humans have evolved.

We could maybe make a difference
If we alter our behavior—
If we change the things we’re doing that are bad
But it’s easier and cheaper
Just to pray there’ll be a savior
And to put our faith in Jesus and His Dad

When we jump across a threshold
And a tipping point is crossed,
It’s a warning sign that must not be ignored;
Opportunities not taken
May be permanently lost
Still these idiots keep waiting for their Lord

If the global population
Sees the future we have mapped
And refuses to accept, much less to act
Our environment may push us
Past the threshold to adapt;
And denial won’t protect you from a fact

In the battle for our future
We must open up our eyes
And attend to what our scientists have found
We must hear the voice of reason
Through a chorus filled with lies
If our species wants the chance to stick around.

Earth may be near tipping point, scientists warn“. That’s the LA Times headline; the original article in Nature is the slightly more academic-sounding “Approaching a state shift in Earth’s biosphere“. Either way, the news is bad:

“Humans are now forcing another such transition, with the potential to transform Earth rapidly and irreversibly into a state unknown in human experience,” wrote the authors, who are from the U.S., Europe, Canada and South America.

If current trends continue — exploding global population, rapidly rising temperatures and the clearance of more than 40% of Earth’s surface for urban development or agriculture — the planet could reach a tipping point, they say.

“The net effects of what we’re causing could actually be equivalent to an asteroid striking the Earth in a worst-case scenario,” the paper’s lead author, Anthony Barnosky, a professor of integrative biology at UC Berkeley, said in an interview. “I don’t want to sound like Armageddon. I think the point to be made is that if we just ignore all the warning signs of how we’re changing the Earth, the scenario of losses of biodiversity — 75% or more — is not an outlandish scenario at all.”

I think the headlines should be more sensationalist. 75% loss in biodiversity merits “SCIENTISTS TO HUMANITY: WE’RE ALL FUCKED”


  1. Kylie Sturgess says

    Well, that puts nasty people on the internet into sharp perspective, thanks!

    Um, I think.

    *gets depressed*

  2. Trebuchet says

    As I pointed out in a comment on another FTBlog, this doesn’t apply in North Carolina, where warming is limited to a linear progression and tipping points are against the law.

    Sometimes I’m just glad to be in the last third of my life.

  3. The Ridger says

    When nothing is left but weed species (not meaning unwanted, but rather the tough ones that spread and thrive), and humanity finally goes … the planet will recover, as it has in the past. We won’t be here, and that might be good for Earth, though of course not for us.

  4. carpenterman says

    The Ridger: “When nothing is left but weed species…”
    Why do you say that means we won’t be around? Humans
    are weeds, and damn hardy ones at that. We can live almost anywhere, and eat nearly anything. The issue isn’t “Can we as a species survive a catastrophic climate shift?” but rather, “How much would such a thing SUCK?” And the answer is, a SHIT-LOAD. Millions, perhaps billions, will perish; massive economic hardships; political upheaval; you name it.
    Would the human race, as a species, survive? Oh yes. But it would be a terrible time to be alive.

  5. Crudely Wrott says

    Carpenterman said:

    Would the human race, as a species, survive? Oh yes. But it would be a terrible time to be alive.

    It makes me wonder, how far back in history, in terms of knowledge and technology, would the survivors find themselves?

    On the good side, there will be libraries, and many other kinds of records, and machinery and infrastructure and plentiful examples of human constructs left for perusal and instruction. On the bad side, how many of the survivors could make profit of the leftovers? How many would have the wherewithal to understand? To not make the same mistakes?

    Too, our energy grid will go down, no doubt. Will there be sufficient knowledge and skill left to either put it back into operation or to create a newer and cleaner one?

    More importantly, is there enough distributed knowledge about living off the land, harvesting food that’s not on the market shelves, dealing with injury and disease, and other kinds of individual self sufficiency?

    These are the questions that disturb me the most. Humanity may well survive the tipping point but succumb to collective ignorance. It is frightening to think that humanity might not find itself hurled backwards in time by years or centuries but by millennia.

  6. The Ridger says

    @carpenterman: We are indeed a great weed species. But I wasn’t saying we were certainly doomed – my “and” was only meant to say that if we manage to create a planet with only a few bugs, deer, coyotes, johnson grass, starlings, and the like and then we die, the planet will recover, as it has from previous Great Dyings.

  7. Eidolon says

    Trebuchet @2

    I am in my last quarter of of my life. I am so sorry for those who come after…the world my grand children will inherit is going to be one I think I am going to be glad to miss.

    As a diver and instructor, I have seen the slow but inexorable shifts. Invasive species we cannot begin to handle – like the lionfish in the Caribbean disrupting whole ecosystems. Commercial fishing causing whole populations to crash and some seem unlikely to ever recover.

    And when my students come back from their first trip and tell me of all the beautiful fish they saw, the shark they glimpsed, all I can think is “You should have seen it when…”

    And still the deniers of reality hold sway in the public forums. Corporate interests trump science each and every time. Like the Ghost Dancers of the late 1800’s Christians just KNOW that their imaginary deity will make it all good all over again.

  8. Rising Ape says

    I figure that if collectively we are too stupid to see the writing on the wall, we get what we deserve. I always laugh when when I see the “Save the Planet” stuff. Planet Earth will be just fine, it may have a different species of intelligent life in a few millennia, no biggie. But before our species would die out we would be back to the most base primal existence, killing each other over scraps and cooking them over the burning library books. Yes, that would suck a shitload!

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