In a world where everyday skeptics and fanatics argue over the reality and the extent of global climate change, it becomes harder and harder to figure out who to believe. Is the planet really doomed? Can the human race reverse climate change, even if they were to immediately stop all damaging environmental acts? The likely answer is no, and that the world is indeed changed forever.
But this is by no means a planetary death sentence; change is an inevitability when it comes to life. The very process of plant and animal evolution is dependent on the smallest genetic change to present us with the wealth of variety this planet experiences. Change, on an environmental whole, is an ongoing process, and a necessary one for survival in and equally changing external environment of ice ages and droughts.
None of this is to say that the human race has not changed the planet, nor that they have changed it for the better, but perhaps it is time to stop labeling this change as “good” and “bad” and trying so very hard to reverse it. For a time perhaps the human race should try to be as neutral as the practice of carbon neutrality supposes. But at the same time this is a paradoxical idea- all life on the planet will intrinsically affect the nature of the natural world, from the smallest bug to the largest fish.
How can humans, even prehistoric humans, hope to evade being the cause of change? We still see evidence of our earliest ancestors, and more than that we see evidence of prehistoric life in the very substance of controversy we both scorn and depend on today; oil. Change cannot be avoided, no matter how hard we try, and how are we to separate “bad” change from “good” change? Where is the line drawn?
These are hard questions, with no easy answer, but as simply another life form on this gracious planet, we owe it to our fellow species to lower our impact on their environments. Yet at the same time we must realize that life’s propensity for adaptation necessarily causes the world around it to change. In the end it is balance, we as humans have changed to world more than any other species in our time, it is true, but it does not mean the end of life.
In the end all we can do is be aware of the impact we inevitably have, and reduce it to a state where our change is no more than what is expected from any life form. Instead of striving to reverse climate change, and perhaps causing even more damage, we should allow the planet to adapt to the change we have caused. It will live, it will be changed, but it will live.