Wednesday, March 29, 2017

Where It All Began

Never one to miss an opportunity to be overly-dramatic, film maker Michael Moore took to Twitter yesterday after President Trump signed an executive order rolling back President Obama's anti-energy corporation executive orders yesterday with this tweet:

Historians in the near future will mark today, March 28, 2017, as the day the extinction of human life on earth began, thanks 2 Donald Trump

Never mind the glaring logical error of that tweet--if humans are extinct, what historians will there be to point back to yesterday?  Plus, one could argue that every day could be the one that sets in motion the extinction of our species.

The day before yesterday, a virus may have mutated in an animal that has not had contact with humans yet, but that our immune system will not be able to fight in time to prevent its global spread.  Many would argue that July 16th, 1945 was the day that sowed the seeds of our destruction, as the scientists working on the Manhattan Project exploded the first atomic bomb.  If you really wanted to get technical, that date owes its significance to December 17th, 1938 when German scientists discovered that heavy elements could be split through fission and release large amounts of energy.

Our most likely extinction scenarios that are already in motion likely don't have exact dates at all.  I can only tell you that it was 630,000 years ago that the supervolcano under Yellowstone National Park stopped its last eruption.  Since that day, pressure has been building up underground that will have to be released as sometime in a giant cloud of ash and toxic gasses that--depending on the size and spread of the fallout--could easily wipe out most life on the planet.

It may have been several million years ago that two asteroids collided in the far reaches of space, sending one of them on a collision course with the 3rd planet orbiting the Sun on a date that we could not hope to predict now--because we don't know it's coming.  And speaking of the Sun, the day it formed as a yellow giant more than four-billion years ago, it began a life that will end as a red giant--swelling in size large enough to engulf Mercury, Venus and Earth.  That will bring a new meaning to "global warming" when that happens.

So yes, it is entirely possible that yesterday was "the day extinction of human life on earth began"--just like the day before that and the day before that.  But when you consider that 99.9% of all creatures that have ever lived on this planet are now extinct--you can see that the odds were never really in our favor to begin with.

No comments:

Post a Comment