We are a species who uniquely and constantly alter the environment we live in. In fact, we alter our environment faster than any other species, because we possess that ability and have developed the means to do so, and we do it at an increasingly accelerating rate. In short, we can change the world we live in so rapidly and drastically, that great numbers of us can’t adapt to those self-induced changes, fast enough to survive. We can, and do, surround ourselves with the byproducts of industrial excess, offensive social decisions and ill-conceived processes, faster than we can anticipate their insidious effects and unimaginable remedies.
As air quality is measurably degraded, those predisposed to cardio respiratory stress, will find their health and longevity compromised. When storm water encroaches on densely populated low coastal estuaries with increasing frequency and fury, those who are economically and physically unable to relocate to higher ground will become the storm casualties and statistically displaced, who vanish from the neighborhoods they occupied and are abandoned, invisibly, to their own devices. When prolonged heat and drought transform communities from functioning social structures to forsaken hopes, riddled by desert winds and choking dust, childhood deaths and desperate self-destruction will drive community populations to extinction, as infrastructure and essential services collapse and fall into disrepair.
We are racing toward extinction at a pace never seen in the history of the planet. Change always comes at a price. When we can no longer sustain our expansionist fantasies, when the next iPhone is abandoned for a plan to sequester carbon, when newness is no longer a reason discard last year’s clothes, when bigger portions of food give way to eating what we need, when vacations are planned without great travel, when new ideas are driven by common sense, instead of psychological marketing and when interpersonal relationships replace rabid ideological delusions, we will have turned the corner on self-destruction and started on our way back to symbiotic coexistence.