The present risks to life on earth

Apr 21, 2023
Australia from space at night with city lights of Sydney, Melbourne and Brisbane, view of Oceania, Australian desert, communication technology, 3d render of planet Earth, elements from NASA

“The splitting of the atom has changed everything, bar man’s way of thinking, and thus we drift toward unparalleled catastrophes” – Albert Einstein

Of all the explored solar system bodies, Earth is the only one known to harbour life, where evolution from unicellular organisms to intelligent arthropods, birds, mammals, and humans has taken place. Circling a yellow star for four and a half billion years, Earth, a living planet, spirals imperceptibly away from its mother sun, its colours alternating from ocean-blue and green to brown lands, where life, an enigmatic force, emerged in aqueous and terrestrial domains.

Life on Earth is allowed thanks to its shielding from fatal cosmic radiation by the atmosphere and its protection by the magnetic field. The anthropogenic exposure of Earth to nuclear radiation due to leaks from and explosion of nuclear devices is threatening all forms of life, as conveyed by Albert Einstein: “The splitting of the atom has changed everything, bar man’s way of thinking, and thus we drift toward unparalleled catastrophes”.

Taking no heed of this warning, the species Homo “sapiens” has perfected a virtual doomsday machine under which it is still living, on borrowed time. Believing it is the “chosen species” sapiens has rarely asked itself what has it been chosen for?

Since along with the forces which allow the emergence of life are the agents of death and destruction, including asteroid impacts, volcanic eruptions, glaciers, lethal gases, an anoxic atmosphere, ultraviolet radiation, ozone anomalies and killer species.

Deadly wars among the animals are common, for example among between arthropods, corals polyps, anemones, among chimpanzees and gorillas, tigers, hippos, lions, crocodiles, lizards, kangaroos, and other life forms over resources and reproductive rights, but murderous wars have reached their zenith among a species of ingenious biped mammals which mastered the means of extinguishing large parts of the biosphere within a few centuries.

At stake are the lives of billions of life forms, the potential victims of extermination by fatal global heating and radioactive detonations perpetrated by up to 12,500 warheads (early-2023) built by monstrous military-industrial machines and their subservient governments.

Yet on the surface life goes ahead as normal.

Under the guise of “democracy” people are never asked whether they are in favour of a climate and nuclear holocaust?

Memories are short. Within a single generation humanity is repeating its fatal errors and its crimes where tribes paint themselves in white and their enemies in black, even at the price of destroying the life support systems of the Earth. This time around there are no peace conferences, while hired media mouthpieces are fanning the flames of fear, hate and looming wars.

As global temperatures keep rising toward uninhabitable levels and a nuclear doomsday machine is threatening life on Earth, is it too early, or is it already too late, to hold advance Nuremberg trials for those who keep poisoning the planetary atmosphere and promote nuclear war?

As expressed by Carl Sagan (1980): “For we are the local embodiment of a cosmos grown to self-awareness; We have begun to contemplate our origins: star stuff pondering the stars: organised assemblages of ten billion-billion-billion atoms considering the evolution of atoms; tracing the long journey by which, here at least, consciousness arose. Our loyalties are to the species and the planet. We speak for the Earth. Our obligation to survive is owed not just to ourselves but also to that Cosmos, ancient and vast, from which we spring”.

This is a précis of a new book: “The Trials of Gaia” in honour of James Lovelock by Andrew Glikson. Readers can order a copy of the book here: booktopia

For more on this topic, P&I recommends:

Insanity: governments betray what climate science demands

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