Protecting Our Environment
While the very real threat of climate change has
garnered much attention in recent years, there exist other
ecological threats which present significant dangers to civilisation
and the environment as a whole. It is therefore important to examine
a few of the most relevant in relation to humanity.
One of the most critical yet understated threats comes from the
rapid extinction of species on a global level. Our organic system is
based on a hierarchical scale, and therefore such organisms as
phytoplankton essentially represent the backbone of the food chain.
Should chemical alteration of the oceans occur on a large scale, the
entire food chain may indeed begin to collapse in a relatively short
amount of time. The same can be said regarding bees and the
pollination of flowers along with worms which aerate the soil,
allowing plants to thrive.
Human disease is another factor which needs to be carefully
considered. Should a potentially fatal disease mutate to become an
airborne pathogen, millions or billions could perish globally. Such
mutations may occur naturally or be caused by chemical byproducts of
industry or even medicine. If we consider such an easily
communicable disease and factor in worldwide travel, the ability to
spread from continent to continent may in fact endanger humanity as
a whole. Furthermore, should such a disease have a relatively long
incubation period, detecting and combating it would prove difficult,
if not impossible.
While nuclear war is an obvious threat, it is mentioned here because
many individuals are living under the misconception that since the
end of the Cold War this threat has all but vanished. In fact, there
are many who believe the contrary. The danger of a rogue nation
state developing and deploying such a weapon is a real concern. If
we combine this with the aging infrastructure of many old weapons
systems, the threat of an accidental launch and subsequent
retaliatory strike are more real now than in the past. Should such
an event occur, humanity itself may face a protracted extinction.
Although the aforementioned threats are known to most, an
astronomical event such as a large impact event or gamma ray burst
also represent extinction level events. The real danger is that
mankind may have little warning of an asteroid impact and hardly no
warning of a gamma ray burst. These and the previously mentioned
scenarios are but a few ecological threats which exist and may have
to be faced by humanity in the near future.
The past environment
The possible future environment
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