It is my opinion that humans think far too highly of themselves. In reality, humans are the earth’s most invasive species. Climate change is the planet’s way of purging us: a rampant, polluting, violent, out-of-control animal. The earth is angry.

I’ve noticed that a lot of humans have a skewed perspective of nature, as if nature were an optional form of recreation they can choose to sign up for or not. You can’t “friend” or “unfriend” nature on Facebook. In fact, we are a blip, a single breath in the continuum of nature’s dream. You, human, are just a temporary speck of nature. You can’t ignore nature because you are nature.

We live inside an artificial world of houses, piped energy, roads, cars, manufactured heat and air conditioning, and it works so well, that we are nearly untouched by the affects we have wreaked on the natural world. We thrive inside our climate-controlled bubbles while more fragile species who rely on a stable environment start to disappear: monarch butterfly populations are down by 86 percent and over a million bird species are in danger of extinction. How will humans feel in 50 years when polar bears and tigers are extinct, too? When the slow spread of species extinction starts to climb up the food chain to us?

This is the problem beneath the problem: many humans are concerned about climate change theoretically, but because our artificial world is so comfortable, we’re not feeling it in a way that alarms us, since our own survival doesn’t seem at risk yet. And even with all our higher thinking, it always comes down to survival, doesn’t it? Survival and money, which is how humans monetize and quantify survival. It’s too easy to compartmentalize it and go on with your day in the bubble.

But say you are convinced, then what do you do about it? Buy a hybrid car? Recycle? Buy organic bananas? Is that enough? Maybe we are placated into thinking we are doing enough by making those painless choices. I don’t know that our recycling or purchasing choices will make a difference except as a stabilizing effect once the massive destruction caused by global big industry gets stabilized. I guess the most effective thing to do is elect the people who support that level of change.

My guess is humans will eventually have to restrict population growth, restrict automobile use, restrict building size, even stop eating meat. But the humans who would “unfriend” nature on Facebook, if they could, will always balk at losing their rights and privileges to live big … and they really like their meat.

Maybe a few centuries from now, if humans are still on the planet, they will look back at the 21st century as the Age of Decadence and Excess. They’ll shake their heads in wonder at the idea of two people living in a 3,000-square-foot home and flying and driving wherever they wanted on a whim.

We will have to accept vastly changed lifestyles if we’re going to survive as a species. We won’t be able to consume as much, we will have to live smaller. Stop whining and pay the piper. You, human, will have to bow down to nature. Or you will be purged.

Dana Rodney

St. Helena

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