(c) Copyright 2005-2013 David Dilworth
Some claim that toxic pollution or burning fossil fuels is the most devastating damage humans have done to our earth. Now of course, those are deadly serious problems, but are they the longest lasting harm ?
While burning fossil fuels certainly causes major harms including creating the most deadly cancer causing compound (from diesel engines), after a few tens of thousands of years even the most potent parts of that pollution will have transformed into far less harmful chemicals. And if humans are still around they’ll likely use electric vehicles.
Some poets say love is forever. It may feel that way. However, genuine forever-ness is the loss of an endangered species; not unlike the permanent loss we realize when one of our parents dies.
Americans destroyed the last passenger pigeons just before the first World War due to hunting and massive deforestation of their habitat. The very social bird once formed a flock some 300 miles long and a mile wide that took an estimated at 3-5 billion birds 14 hours to pass by. Their extinction is wholly un-reversible. They are never coming back.
Locally, facing true forever-ness are our endearing neighbors the adorable Sea Otters, magnificently graceful Condors, amusing California Red-Legged Frogs (I sometimes “accidentally” call them Carmel Valley red-necked frogs) and the adventurous Southern Steelhead.
Extinction, is the most devastating damage Americans have wrought, and our local politicians are hell bent on causing even more.
Extinction is Forever, Truly Forever
Update Feb 2014: The Economist (!) published a book review about humans causing the current “mass extinction.” The book is “The Sixth Extinction: An Unnatural History. By Elizabeth Kolbert.“