191 – Aren’t we among pioneers? …

“One cannot live with sighted eyes and feeling heart and not know or react to the miseries which afflict this world.” Lorraine Hansberry

One of the most significant mass extinctions on Earth was the Great Oxygenation Event (also known in scientific media as Oxygen Catastrophe, Oxygen Holocaust, Oxygen Revolution, or Great Oxidation). The event began approximately 2.45 billion years ago and was induced by the appearance of free oxygen (O2) in the atmosphere. Although the causes are not fully understood, the current evidence leads to the exponential growth of a bacteria (Cyanobacteria) that developed as early as approximately 200 million years before the event by producing oxygen through photosynthesis. The increased production of oxygen set Earth’s original atmosphere off balance. Oxygen was toxic to some living creatures at that time on Earth, and it wiped out most of them. [1]

By disturbing the balance of the atmosphere, we are positioning ourselves … the Human species … to be the next biological organism to cause a mass extinction on Earth.

In early civilizations, man learned to avoid responsibility for his cruel and destructive actions by blaming someone or something else … there was always a vulnerable group, an individual, a catastrophic event to blame. With the avoidance of responsibility, introspection about the consequences of his actions was blunted – practically obliterated. And thus, in a male-dominated civilization, we have become the cruelest and most destructive species on Earth.

The mass extinction of wildlife due to our exponential population growth, overconsumption, and poaching, is already on its way.

Extreme climate change, melting sea ice, rising ocean levels, constant conflict, unimaginable cruelty, migrations, severe droughts, fires, flooding, will continue to accelerate under the pressures on the environment of exponential growth and aggressive economic systems that demand unrestrained consumption.

There is no turning back from the damage we have already done. There are, perhaps, ways to ameliorate the impact of what we have set in motion. But that we must face the consequences of our actions is not a question any longer.

The survivors and descendants of the mass extinction 2.45 billion years ago were, as is obvious, the adaptable, oxygen-breathing organisms from which we eventually evolved. The populations that might survive the mass extinction of our own creation will have to adapt to a rarer, harsher, more volatile environment, and evolve, hopefully, with the knowledge that, as the destiny of a fertilized human ovum is to build cell by cell the pathways to the self-reflective mind, our destiny has always been to know that we are building blocks in a majestic and ingenious universal plan. Aren’t we already among pioneers in conscious self-reflection?

[1] Data taken from Wikipedia

Revised February 2021   

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