Robert J. Burrowes / War Is a Crime – 2016-01-02 17:02:22
Is Near-Term Human Extinction Inevitable?
Robert J. Burrowes / War Is a Crime
(December 21, 2014) — If you hadn’t previously heard the expression ‘near term human extinction’, you have now. And you will get used to hearing it soon unless you insulate yourself from reality with greater effectiveness than you are doing by reading this article.
The expression ‘near term human extinction’ is relatively new in the scientific literature but, unlike other truths that have been successfully suppressed by national elites and their corporate media, this one will keep filtering out until you start to hear the expression routinely.
Why? Because this truth is simply too big to suppress permanently and the planetary environment delivers its feedback directly to us in the form of catastrophic environmental events, climatic and otherwise, whether or not these are reported by the corporate media.
It is now widely accepted that we are living through the sixth mass extinction in planetary history. The last one occurred 65 million years ago, when the dinosaurs vanished. We are now losing biodiversity at a rate similar to that time. But this mass extinction is driven by us. And we will be one of the casualties. The only real debate is when. And this debate is predicated on the unstated and highly problematic assumption that we can continue to avoid nuclear war.
So what does the expression ‘near term human extinction’ mean? In essence, according to those scientists who use the term, it means that human beings will be extinct by about 2030. For a summary of the evidence of this, with many references, listen to the lecture by Professor Guy McPherson on ‘Climate Collapse and Near Term Human Extinction’. [See below for recorded address by Guy McPherson â€“ EAW.]
Why 2030? Because, according to McPherson, the ‘perfect storm’ of environmental assaults that we are now inflicting on the Earth, including the 28 self-reinforcing climate feedback loops that have already been triggered, is so far beyond the Earth’s capacity to absorb, that there will be an ongoing succession of terminal breakdowns of key ecological systems and processes — that is, habitat loss — over the next decade that it will precipitate the demise of homo sapiens sapiens.
Now, it should be pointed out, many scientists disagree with this timeframe. For example, science journalist Scott K. Johnson endeavours to explain ‘How Guy McPherson gets it wrong’. And, just recently, Dr Piers J Sellers, acting director of earth science at NASA’s Goddard Space Flight Center, stated that ‘It is almost certain that we will see a rise of two degrees Celsius before 2100, and a three-degree rise or higher is a possibility. The impacts over such a short period would be huge. The longer we put off corrective action, the more disruptive the outcome is likely to be.’ See ‘Wobbling on Climate Change’.
But even if Johnson and Sellers are right, and McPherson is wrong about the timeframe, there are still many scientists who are keen to point out that we are ongoingly breaching ‘tipping points’ that make human survival increasingly problematic.
In 2009, for example, Johan RockstrÃ¶m, James Hansen and colleagues explained that three of nine interlinked planetary boundaries — in relation to climate, biodiversity loss and biogeochemical cycles — had already been overstepped. See ‘A safe operating space for humanity’.
And, in 2012, Prof Kevin Anderson, Deputy Director of the UK’s premier climate modelling institution, the Tyndall Centre for Climate Change Research, warned that emissions are now out of control and we are heading for a world that is 6 degrees hotter; he pointed out that even the International Energy Agency, and conservative organisations like it, are warning that we are on track for a 4 degree increase (on the pre-industrial level) by 2040.
He also accused too many climate scientists of keeping quiet about the unrealistic assessments put out by governments. See ‘What They Won’t Tell You About Climate Catastrophe’.
And what these assessments do not necessarily take into account is the synergistic impact of our combined assaults on the environment including those unrelated to the climate. These include the devastating assaults on the environment through military violence (often leaving vast areas uninhabitable), rainforest destruction, industrial farming, mining, commercial fishing and the spreading radioactive contamination from Fukushima.
We are also systematically destroying the limited supply of fresh water on the planet, which means that water scarcity is becoming a frequent reality for many people and the collapse of hydrological systems is now expected by 2020.
Human activity drives 200 species of life (birds, animals, fish, insects) to extinction each day and 80% of the world’s forests and over 90% of the large fish in the ocean are already gone. Despite this readily available information, governments continue to prioritise spending $2,000,000,000 each day on military violence, the sole purpose of which is to terrorise and kill fellow human beings.
The point is simply this: you are welcome to analyse the scientific evidence for yourself and make your own assessment of the timeframe and the degree of severity of the threat. Perhaps human extinction will not occur until next century. But whether we define ‘near term’ as 2030, 2040 or even next century, human extinction is now a distinct possibility. And after 200,000 years of our species, calling this ‘near term’ seems reasonable.
So is near term human extinction inevitable?
In my view, human extinction is the most likely outcome. But not simply because we are inflicting too many insults on the planetary environment.
Extinction is inevitable because of human fear and, specifically, unconscious fear: The fear in ourselves and others that is not experienced consciously but which often drives three capacities that are vitally important in any context: the focus of our attention, our capacity to adequately analyse the evidence (if we get our attention focused on it) and our behaviour in response to this analysis.
For example, if you do not know that your fear is making you screen out unpalatable information, then you won’t even notice that you have turned your attention elsewhere and have now forgotten what you just read. Or your fear might prevent you adequately analysing the evidence and/or responding intelligently to it. See ‘Why Violence?’ and ‘Fearless Psychology and Fearful Psychology: Principles and Practice’.
So, if you are one of the people still reading this article, you are probably less frightened than most people. The others gave up before they got to this paragraph. So let me now tell you the primary problem with the fear.
It distorts the mental focus, capacity for analysis and the behaviour of national elites, that is, corporate owners and their political, military, media, bureaucratic, academic and judicial lackeys.
In essence, corporate profits cannot be maximised in a world where environmental constraints are taken into account, either through sensible consideration or legal requirement, so fear will drive dysfunctional corporate activity irrespective of its environmental cost.
And corporate executives will ensure that their political and other lackeys do not get in their way because the fear that drives profit maximizing behaviour is deep-seated and far outweighs any fears in relation to the environment. For a fuller explanation of this point, see ‘Love Denied: The Psychology of Materialism, Violence and War’.
This is why lobbying elites to change their behaviour in the direction of environmental sustainability (or peace and justice, for that matter) is a complete waste of time. It is their fear that locks them into what they focus on, what they are ‘thinking’ and what they are doing, and arguments, no matter how sensible or evidential, cannot work.
In essence then, it is fear that drives dysfunctional environmental behaviours. And, history tells us, fear will prevent us taking sufficient action in time.
So is there any point doing anything given that we are dead on track for near term human extinction?
Well, if you are like me, you are one of those people who does not intend to go down without a fight. A big fight! So you might consider joining those of us participating in The Flame Tree Project to Save Life on Earth’: a fifteen year strategy to address all of our environmental challenges systematically in a way that undermines the elite fear that would destroy us all.
You might also like to sign the online pledge of The People’s Charter to Create a Nonviolent World’. [Read the Charter below — EAW.]
The Flame Tree Project was inspired by that great environmentalist, Mohandas K. Gandhi, who identified the environmental crisis nearly one hundred years ago and, having done so, subsequently lived his own life in extraordinary simplicity and self-reliance, symbolised by his daily spinning of khadi: ‘Earth provides enough for every person’s need but not for every person’s greed.’
Extinction might be howling outside our door but, if you have the courage, you can still fight. There is no downside in trying. But we need to fight strategically so that we defeat elite fear. How long do you want to wait before joining the fight?
Robert has a lifetime commitment to understanding and ending human violence. He has done extensive research since 1966 in an effort to understand why human beings are violent and has been a nonviolent activist since 1981. He is the author of ‘Why Violence?’ His email address is email@example.com and his website is here.
THE PEOPLE’S CHARTER TO CREATE A NONVIOLENT WORLD
1. The United States government dominates world affairs and is engaged in a perpetual war (sometimes presented as a ‘war on terror’) to secure control of essential diminishing natural resources (including oil, water and strategic minerals) from what the 2010 United States Quadrennial Defense Review refers to as ‘the Global commons’ (which means, in effect, anywhere in the world, including the land of other peoples). The USA, with less than 5% of the world’s population, consumes 33% of the world’s resources
2. The United States government (sometimes together with pliant government allies in Europe, the Middle East, Asia, America and Australia) maintains occupation forces in countries such as Afghanistan, Iraq and the Mariana Islands
3. The Chinese government occupies Tibet
4. The Israeli government occupies Palestine
5. The French government occupies Kanaky and French Polynesia
6. The Indonesian government occupies West Papua
7. The Chinese government violently suppresses the people of China, including practitioners of the gentle, meditative art of Falan Dafa, some of whose imprisoned members are subjected to forced organ removal
8. The populations of many countries including (but not limited to) Burma, China, Iran, North Korea, Saudi Arabia, the Sudan, Syria, Turkmenistan, Uzbekistan and Zimbabwe are violently suppressed by militarily-backed dictatorships
9. Indigenous peoples in many countries have been dispossessed of their land, culture, spirituality and human rights by settler populations from other countries
10. The use of nuclear materials to generate electricity and create weapons of mass destruction exposes humankind and other species to unnecessary and unacceptable risks of radioactive contamination
11. The burning of fossil fuels (producing carbon dioxide) and extensive animal agriculture (producing methane) is precipitating catastrophic alterations in climate patterns
12. The Earth’s natural processes are being degraded and destroyed by human violence including (but not limited to) the destruction of ecosystems such as forests, rivers, wetlands, grasslands and coral reefs; the over-exploitation and pollution of fresh water supplies; and the degradation and poisoning of industrial agricultural and fishing systems, all of which are precipitating an unnatural and accelerating rate of species extinctions
13. There is a massive and increasing number of refugees and internally displaced persons caused by the use of military violence and climatically induced ‘natural’ disasters
14. Many people devote their energy to the design, manufacture and/or use of weapons and torture equipment in order to harm, mutilate or kill fellow human beings
15. The global economic system, maintained by Western military violence, results in the death through starvation-related diseases of one child in Africa, Asia or Central/South America every five seconds, often denies ordinary working men and women a fair return for their labour, forces many people in industrialised economies into poverty and/or homelessness, and ruthlessly exploits the natural environment and nonhuman species
16. Violent and/or discriminatory practices often deny many groups — including (but not limited to) children, aged people, women, working people, indigenous peoples, racial groups, ethnic groups, religious groups, cultural groups, people with particular sexual orientations, people with disabilities, military personnel, incarcerated people and nonhuman species — the opportunities to which they are entitled as living beings on Earth
17. The global slave trade denies 27,000,000 human beings the right to live the life of their choice, condemning many individuals — especially women and children — to lives of sexual slavery, forced labour or childhood military service
18. Terrorist organisations, criminal organisations, drug cartels and cults use terror and violence to exploit ordinary people
19. There is widespread violence in the family home, in schools, at the workplace and on the street
20. All of the violent behaviours described above have their origin in adult violence against children: this violence generates the warped emotional and behavioural patterns that later manifest as adult violence in its many forms. See Why Violence?
21. It is human violence — against ourselves, each other and the Earth — that threatens to cause human extinction
22. National governments, international government organisations and global institutions (such as the United Nations, the World Bank, the International Monetary Fund and the World Trade Organisation), all of which represent national elites, are not capable of addressing the above problemsâ€¦
The Purpose of The People’s Charter:
This Charter identifies eight aims of a nonviolent strategy to mobilise ordinary people, local groups, communities, non-government organisations and international networks opposed to these and other manifestations of human violence to explicitly renounce the use of violence themselves and to take nonviolent action to strategically resist this violence in all of its forms for the sake of humankind, future generations, all other species on Earth and the Earth itself.
The aims of this nonviolent strategy are as follows:
1. To convince or, if necessary, nonviolently compel the United States government and United States corporations to no longer use military violence and economic coercion to control world affairs for the benefit of the United States elite and its allied national elites in Europe, the Middle East, Asia, America and Australia
2. To convince or, if necessary, nonviolently compel the United States government and its allied governments to completely dismantle their military (including nuclear) forces and overseas bases, to decolonise or end their occupation of all occupied territories, and to instead adopt a strategy of nonviolent defence
3. To encourage all individuals and organisations currently resisting the military and/or economic domination of the United States elite and its allied elites to recognise the shared nature of our struggle and, when appropriate, to coordinate at local, regional or global level our acts of nonviolent resistance to this domination
4. To support the development and implementation of comprehensive nonviolent strategies for the liberation of Afghanistan, Burma, China, French Polynesia, Iran, Iraq, Kanaky, the Mariana Islands, North Korea, Palestine, Saudi Arabia, the Sudan, Syria, Tibet, Turkmenistan, Uzbekistan, West Papua, Zimbabwe and all other countries living under the yoke of occupation or dictatorship. (See The Strategy of Nonviolent Defense: A Gandhian Approach)
5. To support the development and implementation of comprehensive nonviolent strategies to end violence in the home, slavery, the sexual trafficking of women and children, the use of child soldiers, as well as the existence of terrorist and criminal organisations, drug cartels and cults
6. To support the development and implementation of comprehensive nonviolent strategies to end the marginalisation and exploitation of particular identity groups including (but not limited to) indigenous peoples; women; workers; racial, ethnic, religious and cultural groups; children; aged people; military personnel; incarcerated people; refugees and internally displaced peoples; those who are homeless and/or live in poverty; people with a particular sexual orientation; people with disabilities and nonhuman species
7. To encourage the people of the industrialised world (except those already living in poverty) to each accept personal responsibility for reducing their consumption of global resources to a level that is commensurate with genuine equity for all human beings on Earth and the ecological carrying capacity of the Earth itself, particularly given the needs of other species. See The Flame Tree Project to Save Life on Earth
8. To encourage all adults to understand the violence they (unconsciously) inflict on children and to take responsibility for ending this.
The methods of this nonviolent strategy are as follows:
1. To listen deeply to ourselves, each other and the Earth
2. To engage in acts of nonviolent resistance and creation: acts of nonviolent protest and persuasion, acts of nonviolent noncooperation and acts of nonviolent intervention, including the creation of new organisations, communities, institutions and structures that genuinely meet the needs of all beings in a just, peaceful and ecologically sustainable manner. (For ideas about nonviolent actions, see Gene Sharp, The Politics of Nonviolent Action, Boston: Porter Sargent, 1973.)
The People’s Charter Pledge:
Having read and agreed with this Charter:
1. I pledge to listen to the deep truth of myself, others and the Earth
2. I pledge to make every effort to progressively eliminate the violence I inflict on myself, others and the Earth
3. I pledge to engage in acts of nonviolent resistance and/or creation to bring about a nonviolent future on Earth
Signing The People’s Charter:
If you are committed to acting on this Charter, please add your name and country to the list of Charter participants HERE
If you need ideas to fulfill your pledge, please consult the websites and books cited in The People’s Charter.
You are welcome to invite others to consider signing this Charter.
Robert J. Burrowes — Australia
Anita McKone — Australia
Anahata Giri â€“ Australia
Climate Collapse and Near Term Human Extinction
Guy Mcpherson / The Global Research News Hour
According to Proceedings from the National Academy of Sciences, the level of atmospheric carbon dioxide we observe today is the minimum level we’ll see for at least the next 1000 years. Carbon dioxide is incredibly recalcitrant in the atmosphere. We can’t just wave a magic wand, start doing permaculture and powering down and expect to reduce that number to 350 parts per million, as proposed by 350.org.”
— Guy R. McPherson
While much of the public may have doubts about whether or not anthropogenic climate change is a reality, it is a FACT that over 97% of peer-reviewed scientific research published over the last two decades confirm the viewpoint that the planet is indeed warming due to human activities.
As noted in a previous interview, Dr. Mcpherson, Professor Emeritus of Natural Resources and the Environment at the University of Arizona, has spent countless hours pouring over the scientific literature, and connected numerous dots. Dr. Mcpherson is in full agreement with the scientific concensus around anthropogenic (human-generated) climate change.
Further, he concludes that global warming has passed a “tipping point” and that habitat loss associated with the warming of the planet will condemn the human species to extinction within 20 years.
Unlike other prominent scientists and activists, McPherson concludes that there is really nothing the human species can do to prevent or mitigate this catastrophe.
Dr. McPherson has given many lectures to public audiences across Canada and the United States and has now done multiple media interviews. His February 6 speech in Winnipeg laid out the evidence in detail. Winnipeg audience members had a chance to direct questions to the American speaker afterward. The talk was introduced by his host, Gerry Kopelow of the Dharma Centre of Winnipeg.
Guy McPherson is the author of Going Dark. His blog, Nature Bats Last, can be found at www.guymcpherson.com.
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