“Get over yourself, human”. The Earth will carry on without you

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The words in quotes in the title come from the first African-American female in space (in 1992). Her name is Dr Mae Jemison. She has a macro-perspective of the planet on which we live, which as the journalist Lucy Siegle says, gives us an idea as to how our micro-actions can put things right.

Dr Mae Jemison astronaut.
The wonderful Dr Mae Jamison. Photo: Getty Images

Jamison is referring to climate change as a result of the behaviour of the human race. I guess, when you look at the world from space and you have that “Blue Marble” moment it becomes clear. The fog of self-interest lifts and astronauts have a clarity of view way beyond us mere mortals when it comes to the preservation of the planet on which we live.

I remember a philosopher of sorts saying that humans hate themselves so much that they are destroying the planet on which they live so that they can destroy themselves. It does seem like that sometimes. It is a kind of madness.

I hope that’s not true but the planet will be there when we’re gone and the wild species on it, although they will be severely depleted and damaged by our behaviour but they will come back and reclaim this jewel of a planet for themselves.

I guess you have to believe in climate change and some people don’t including influential people like President Trump. But the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change say, “Scientific evidence for warming of the climate system is unequivocal”. There is a graph on the Global Climate Change Vital Signs of the Planet website which shows a massive increase in carbon dioxide levels since the Industrial Revolution (see below).

Starving polar bear due to climate change.
Starving about to die polar bear due to climate change. Photo: National Geographic.

Climate change punishes wildlife. You know, the most memorable image I have in my mind about the effects of climate change on wildlife is of polar bears losing his habitat and having to swim hundreds of miles to find prey. To see a wonderful polar bear starving to death, becoming skeletal, is haunting. This is a proud, strong animal reduced to skin and bones.

It is an image you cannot remove from your mind. There are a multitude of other examples. Climate change has an impact on turtle nesting sites as it alters sand temperatures which then affects the sex of hatchlings. I take that example from the world wildlife.org website.

Climate change causes sea levels to rise. The oceans are becoming warmer. The Great Barrier Reef is being destroyed. Longer droughts threatens wildlife. Climate change threatens humans and wildlife equally.

Chart showing raising carbon dioxide levels.
Carbon dioxide levels historically. Credit: Vostok ice core data/J.R. Petit et al.; NOAA Mauna Loa CO2 record.

Humans need to get over themselves. They need to face up to what they’re doing otherwise this beautiful Blue Marble planet floating in the oceans of the universe over millennia will be spinning 1 million years from now and the human race will be a distant memory long forgotten.