The world is on fire. The heat is getting worse than it has ever been (in the time we limited sentient creatures have knowledge of.) There is a very real chance that the end of life on Earth is actually a short time away in the near future (a thing some religions have been predicting unsuccessfully for thousands of years.) What will it actually mean for us to be at the end of time (realizing that we are only talking about our pale blue dot in the near-endless universe?)
Here’s what we face. The greenhouse gasses, particularly carbon dioxide, are keeping the heat from the sun from radiating back out into space. Temperatures have already passed what a few years ago was described as the point of no return. The permafrost in the northern hemisphere is melting, releasing increasing amounts of methane, an even worse greenhouse gas, and creating a feedback loop that makes the problem overwhelming. The glaciers in the north and the ice shelf in Antarctica are melting, and sea levels are rising. Major coastal cities are not preparing fast enough for being underwater. Huge populations will be displaced and become refugees. Food-production systems will break down due to drought and unrest amongst workers in both farming and the distribution of food. The mounting expenses of battling these unbearable problems will destroy economies. More wars will break out to add to the misery Putin has already caused by war crimes in Ukraine. Eventually, nuclear weapons may cool the Earth with nuclear winter and stop the production of carbon dioxide by obliterating all manufacturing and depopulating the northern hemisphere. The cockroaches will inherit the Earth. Hopefully, as the dominant species, they will do a better job of managing the environment. But one never knows how they will handle it once they reach their own industrial revolution.
Politically, the party with the power denies the existence of the climate crisis. They are concerned with expunging any record of white-people guilt for any crimes against racial groups caused by slavery, Jim Crow laws, genocide against Native Americans, lynching, and any of the other fruits of racism from the history books. They are, after all, quite comfortable in all-white conservative bubbles of thought, and are easily offended by any defense of the Black Lives Matter group. They also focus on removing any suggestion of sexual ideas or knowledge from school books and libraries, because anything but Bible-touted notions of love and sex is pornographic, perverted, or somehow related to lifestyles they certainly don’t want to have anything to do with and prefer to legislate away. So, every effort they are willing to make to avoid the things in that previous killer paragraph involves loudly saying “No!” to any possible solutions to the problems that are going to kill us. Hopefully, the cockroaches won’t become Trumpist Republicans when they take over, giving their rise to intelligence and civilization a better chance of thriving.
It is probably still within our power to stop this relentless life-extinguishing future from happening. There are definitely people who understand both the scientific challenges and the value of all the things we will lose if we sacrifice the entirety of our future for short-term corporate profits (the things all the Republicans we will continue to elect will vote for because of where their priorities really lie.) The human population has shown repeatedly throughout history that they are resilient and inventive, and can overcome all sorts of evil if the will to do so is truly there.
I am a pessimist, which means I always prepare for the worst possible outcome. Fortunately, that way of thinking means I am usually pleasantly surprised at the outcome, and if it does turn out bad, at least I am prepared for that outcome.
So, if we are going to destroy our world and ourselves, I have to ask myself, was it worth it for us to have ever existed?
Can you look at the smiling face of a child and say the existence of the human race on planet Earth was not worth the effort?
And there are reasons to be glad we are here and we have a history that came before us. The Civil War and World War Two were both terrible things. But one eliminated legal slavery. The other eliminated fascist genocidal regimes from Europe and Japan.
We are able, as a species, to laugh at our own foibles, to create humor and music and literature and poetry. We were able to produce Shakespeare, Mozart, Rober Frost, Red Skelton, Robin Williams, Shel Silverstein, Dr. Seuss, Beethoven, Kurt Vonnegut, the Beatles, Ernest Hemingway, Mark Twain, Elvis, Goethe, Socrates, Buddha, Jesus Christ, Mohammed, T. S. Eliot, Andrew Lloyd Webber, Julie Andrews, Johnny Carson, and the list could go on for days…
We were able to rise up from the ground, fly through the air, and eventually land on the Moon.
We were able to survive the Black Death, Small Pox, Ebola Virus, AIDS, and Covid 19.
We unleashed the power of the atom. We observed and learned about the far reaches of the galaxy and the many other galaxies in the greater universe beyond the Milky Way using only telescopes, mathematics, and the scientific method.
Is it enough to justify the existence of our race? You tell me. I foolishly think we are worthy to live on into the future, even if I myself will soon no longer be able to keep living. I hope to die of non-climate-crisis causes with peace in my heart. But I realize, too, that it depends on a lot of other people besides me. And I do not have confidence in all of them.
If there is a God who can help us, He is certainly welcome to make an announcement in the comments. But barring Divine intervention, what are you willing to do to move the question forward? I am doing what is within my power.