Close to 75000 species become extinct every year. This is nearly 1000 times the natural rate. (Thanks to the human intervention). We have 8.7 million species today. At this rate, all of them will be extinct in 116 years. A Stanford study estimates that our civilization might collapse by 2100.
Doomsday theories are so prevalent that our minds are on auto pilots to tune them out. There are more than 300 movies about apocalypse and we still haven’t run out of ideas how humanity will cease to exist. As ridiculous as they may sound, the underlying message that someday our species will disappear is not untrue. This certainity is not my belief but an obvious conclusion based on our historical performance. To digest the idea one needs to understand the key to our performance – Human behaviour. So, lets look at it in a very simplistic way.
Humans are lazy by nature. We invent to live in comfort. Think of agriculture for example. Humans were wanderers before this invention. We were on a constant move in search of food. When we found out how to grow wheat, we settled around a farm to live a comfortable life. With more time at hands, we found pleasure in procreating, producing more hungry mouths than we could feed. To feed them, we found technology, fertilizers and pesticides. We cut down forests to farm new lands. We learned to domesticate animals and made their lives miserable.
When crops did not suffice, we switched to meat. Animals were bred, fed on farms until they were ready to be shipped for factory slaughter. More forests were cut for animal grazing. More animals cut to produce more meat. Water, trees, birds and animals perished, creating a deadly imbalance in nature.
It is this imbalance that started the mutilation. So, the ozone is now damaged, the Arctic is melting, the temperatures are soaring, the mountain glaciers disappearing. Hurricanes, tsunamis, earthquakes and pandemics are appearing out of the blue. More than 50 million people die every year in these natural disasters. All of this started with agriculture, that we discovered to settle down and save ourselves from the labour of hunting.
Being lazy might have turned out bad but being intelligent, even worse. Humans use their intellect to solve problems at hand. While, we solve one, we create many unforeseen that are worse than the original problem. Back in stone age, we were glad to build stone arrows for hunting animals. In the years following, we improvised to swords and axes. Pistols and machine guns were invented to kill in an instant. An atom bomb was built to wipe out a town. A nuclear bomb could take down a country and biologically engineered virus can perhaps, take down the whole of humanity. Today, more than 1.6 million people die of violence caused by the weapons. (The ones we invented originally to hunt deers).
Inspite of all this, we live in constant fantasy to explore. You shouldn’t be surprised when someone ate a chimpanzee, only to discover AIDS or when a scientist inventing blood transfusion died in a transfusion or when radiation killed the one who found it . Living in this world of unknown, we cannot fight the desire to explore, to be smarter and find more comfort. It is often our bid to do better that backfires and keeps us constantly bandaging the wounds. With our persistent efforts and a megalomaniac vision, we sure will take our breed to grave one day.