The Sky is Falling Probably!

Sheera-a and Talmin stood at the edge of the wrecked city, taking in the crumbling building which nature had already started to reclaim. Vines and other flora gripped against the mortar with a death grip, striving to find a ray of sun leaking through the dark nuclear winter clouds that fully enveloped the planet. They each felt the other’s warmth in spite of the cutting winds of the onsetting nuclear winter and knew that, together, it would all be alright. They would be the seeds of a new humanity, preferably a smarter humanity less predatory and greed filled.

What . a . bunch . of . bovine . excrement! Pee Yew with a capital yecch! I just finished reading yet another science fiction book and the only positive comment I can make is that at least it didn’t have zombies involved. This one was where Artificial Intelligence took over and wiped out mankind in defense of the planet. It’s usually one or the other. Zombies rise because of man’s mistreatment of the planet or some higher digital being wipes out mankind because we have  squandered our precious resources. Okay, there are also the books where an advanced alien civilization comes to kick us off the planet because they have been watching us destroy our planet and they’re afraid a few of us might leak out into the galaxy and infect whatever mental disease we have on member civilizations of the Galactic Hegemony of Democratic Caliphates who have perfectly unsoiled planets and an ordered set of societies.

The common thread here is that, as a species, we really suck and exhibit #1 is what we have done to our planet.  This is a common thread because EVERYBODY knows that we’ve plundered our planet irreparably and for some reason this is okay with us because we keep on electing the same bacterial slime into our political structure and staunchly refuse to make a single effective change to our lifestyle while we’re at it.

Television documentaries garner world respected awards for in depth explanations of precisely what we’re doing wrong and we give a standing ovation to the producers. Yet we consider it entertainment, as though we just saw Lord of the Rings XVIII: Merlin contracts melanoma and for the next couple of weeks we discuss the deep truths of the One Ring over our Cafe Venti at Starbucks.

To listen to us, some raise their voice in ire and say Hey Man! We are doing something about the frightful state of affairs! We just re-enlivened the salmon runs and now we can raise the take of salmon fisheries. Meanwhile, the ice shelves in the arctic keep calving, the oceans are heating, the currents are changing and people are saying “I wonder why we’re getting such a rising number of more powerful hurricanes. We have to import sand to Florida beaches because its all getting washed away.

I keep finding myself thinking about deer. Okay, that seemed to come out of left field, but let me explain.  Nature has a built in population control that applies to most lifeforms on the planet, but let’s look at deer. When deer populations grow to a certain point, they consume all of the available food and start to die off. As their numbers shrink, nature replenishes the foodstuff they survive on and the herds begin to regain their strength. If left completely alone, deep populations are totally self correcting. This is, I grant, an over simplification, but it’s still accurate.

While our egos don’t take well to the concept, we people are animals as well, and subject to the same population curtailments our fellow breathers experience. Except that we’re smart. We find way around nature’s attempts to keep us in balance with resources. Or do we? By getting more food out of the ground we deplete it of minerals and contaminate it as well. Additionally, we drain the aquifers and pollute them with the effluence of our consumerism. I have to wonder is Mother Nature is just sitting back and smiling while thinking “Go ahead on my little people, all you’re going to do is set yourself up for a more dramatic and catastrophic herd culling.” At some point we get dumber about our clever ways to bypass nature’s controls and paint ourselves into a virtual corner.

We know this is more than a supposition because we’re not totally mentally challenged yet. We know quite well what the results of our actions -lack of actions- will reap for us in the end, and so we find that where in earlier times our science fiction promised a future of peace and interplanetary commerce with the occasional ego inflating interplanetary war against evil aliens where good triumphs over evil, instead we have artificial intelligence, smarter than us aliens, or zombies making the backdrop of our depressing and apocalyptic futuristic views.

A few articles back I wrote a piece in which I proposed the granting of a wish: That a shield would prevent any person from harming or being able to bully their fellow planetary residents -or the planet itself. I surmised that the people of planet earth would be forced to use logic and a demonstration of universal benefit to sway others to their way of thinking.

I began to think about the ramifications of that scenario and realized that war, crime, radicalism and even marketing would become a thing of the past. I also realized that it would also shape the products available to us,  remove entire cities (the most obvious, Las Vegas because of the toll it takes on the Colorado River) and would even change agriculture, forcing industry and populations away from life giving waters of rivers in favor a supporting food supply.

The thing is, I couldn’t really imagine it. The changes would be so sweeping and draconian that it would traumatize entire generations of mankind. My grasp for a better and gentler world would create an apocalypse of its own. This caused me to wonder then, wouldn’t I have just added another villainous dystopian crash of civilization? I think so.

Then again, at least I may have added another paradigm for the writers flooding Amazon’s digital shelves with visions of our social demise. I guess it’s time to switch over to hard science to replace my voracious consumption of reading materials. They too are pointing to all of the ways that asteroids, comets, rogue planets, black holes, expanding suns, gamma ray bursts, antimatter, and dark energy and dark matter will bring life to a cataclysmic end, but the pictures of it are prettier than rotted undead shuffling around.