The Earth is dying.
How often have you heard this line? I heard it a couple of days back, here.
It tends to pop up during debates about the environment, and the damage we have been doing to it over the past few millennia.
Now, while I agree with environmentalists on many topics, perhaps most, I do strongly disagree with this one statement.
And not only is it inaccurate, it is also quite arrogant.
Think about our body’s reaction to an infection. If a virus invades our bloodstream and tries to take over, our body will raise its temperature to make itself uninhabitable. It may cause some discomfort, it may affect some systems, but once the virus is exterminated, not only do we survive, we actually grow stronger.
That is what the Earth is experiencing right now. Being overrun by an invasive species, it is making itself less habitable to purge the infection. Some other species may be affected in the process, and life as we know it may change on the planet, but it will survive.
The Earth is not dying. If anything, it might be trying to kill us.
Our planet has survived for over 4.5 billion years, and has hosted life for the past 3.7 billion years. It has experienced dozens of mass extinction events, like the one that killed off the dinosaurs, but it has always found ways to evolve and thrive.
I think we can safely assume that the planet will survive us. Well, at least for now…
How much longer will we survive? Now that, Detective, is the right question.