In the Face of Extinction, We Have a Moral Obligation

Researching and writing about the impacts of runaway climate change, as I’ve been doing now for too many years, I’ve watched several patterns recur.

One of these is evident in a recent warning from the UN. Biodiversity chief of the UN Cristiana Pașca Palmer warned that if governments around the globe don’t work to bring a halt to the loss of biodiversity and succeed in implementing a plan to do so within two years, humans could face our own extinction.

Palmer said, according to The Guardian, “People in all countries need to put pressure on their governments to draw up ambitious global targets by 2020 to protect the insects, birds, plants and mammals that are vital for global food production, clean water and carbon sequestration.”

People in all countries are already working to pressure their governments to do just that. Yet, with few possible exceptions, we know all too well how wedded most governments are to the current power structure and the economics that drive it to believe radical policy change like this will actually occur (without overthrowing said governments).

Then the pattern will repeat: After some time passes, and things are even worse, another dire warning or results of a study that serves as one is released, and again, nothing will change.

As cynical as this is, anyone paying attention over time can see this pattern.

Thus, we shall continue to watch these milestones as they pass by, then brace ourselves for what is to come.

Personally, I have instead surrendered and accepted the inevitability of our situation: that we will live the rest of our time, however long each of us might have left, on an irrevocably changed planet, while the Sixth Mass Extinction event continues apace. We will daily walk further into that frontier.

However, for me, this means that caring for the small piece of land where I live has never been more meaningful. Never have I felt as much gratitude for birdsong…

Read more