Without question, because of our being politically hypnotized, we are well into the Sixth Mass Extinction of life on Earth.
On this subject we actually ponder the cost of not committing ecocide ("how much will it cost to stop killing the Earth and ourselves?"), as if committing ecocide would "save money".
The remaining question, then, is whether the human species will become extinct during this ongoing current mass extinction:
Greenhouse gas emissions increased by a record amount last year, to the highest carbon output in history, putting hopes of holding global warming to safe levels all but out of reach, according to unpublished estimates from the International Energy Agency.(Guardian, emphasis added). The first post of this series listed a tiny portion of life forms the oil wars have made extinct, so here is today's list for your perusal.
Ponder and memorialize the ultimate cost:
In the four billion years since life on Earth began, there have been five times when there was a sudden mass extinction of life-forms. The last time was 65 million years ago, when the dinosaurs were killed, probably by a meteor. But now the world's scientists agree that the sixth mass extinction is at hand. Humans have accelerated the rate of species extinction by a factor of at least 100, and the great Harvard biologist EO Wilson warns that it could reach a factor of 10,000 within the next 20 years. We are doing this largely by stripping species of their habitats. We are destroying the planet's biodiversity, and so we are making the natural chains that keep us alive much more vulnerable to collapse. This time, we are the meteor.(A Turning-point We Miss At Our Peril, emphasis added). We kill ourselves in stupid wars even as we wage a stupid war against the only Earth we have, the only means of survival, then we glorify that madness with holidays.
At the same time, we are dramatically warming the atmosphere. I know it has become terribly passé to listen to virtually all the world's scientists, but I remember the collapsing glaciers I saw in the Arctic, the drying-out I saw in Darfur, and the rising salt water I saw in Bangladesh. 2010 was the joint-hottest year ever recorded, according to Nasa. The best scientific prediction is that we are now on course for a 3ft rise in global sea levels this century. That means goodbye London, Cairo, Bangkok, Venice and Shanghai. Doubt it if you want, but the US National Academy of Sciences – the most distinguished scientific body in the world – just found that 97 per cent of scientific experts agree with the evidence.
Memorialize this too.
The previous post in this series is here, the next post in this series is here.