The Moral Neutrality of Mother Nature

By Jin-yeong Yi

CNN presents some grave news about the Earth’s oceans:

Many marine scientists consider overfishing to be the greatest of these threats. The Census of Marine Life, a decade-long international survey of ocean life completed in 2010, estimated that 90% of the big fish had disappeared from the world’s oceans, victims primarily of overfishing.

Upwards of one million sea turtles were estimated to have been killed as by catch during the period 1990-2008, according to a report published in Conservation Letters in 2010, and many of the species are on the IUCN’s list of threatened species.

The ocean has become 30% more acidic since the start of The Industrial Revolution in the 18th century and is predicted to be 150% more acidic by the end of this century, according to a UNESCO report published last year.

One morning while I was sitting in church, contemplating the dinosaurs, something occurred to me about their fate and the future of humanity: in spite of the fact that they were far better stewards of the Earth than humans will probably ever be, they still became extinct.

It has been noted how the rhetoric of radical environmentalists resembles that of religious apocalypticists, full of threats that the Almighty will sooner or later “judge” and “punish” the human race for its “sins.”

Since dinosaurs didn’t have houses, fences, fast food restaurants, factories, cars, roads, airplanes, nuclear missiles, etc., they were incomparably more environmentally friendly than all radical environmentalists and conservationists combined.

The supreme irony was that, as we all know, they were still mercilessly wiped off the face of the planet. Funny how life works out sometimes, eh? It wasn’t divine judgment, just an unfortunate accident. They didn’t get so much as a “whoops” or a shrug. Their spotless 225 million year environmental record counted for nothing in that they didn’t receive any special reward for it. Their only “reward” was to survive as long as they did.

From PBS:

Hypothesis: Asteroid Impact

Did a collision with a giant asteroid or comet change the shape of life on Earth forever?

It is widely agreed that such an object — 10 kilometers across — struck just off the coast of the Yucatan peninsula 65 million years ago.

According to scientists who maintain that dinosaur extinction came quickly, the impact must have spelled the cataclysmic end.

For months, scientists conclude, dense clouds of dust blocked the sun’s rays, darkening and chilling Earth to deadly levels for most plants and, in turn, many animals. Then, when the dust finally settled, greenhouse gases created by the impact caused temperatures to skyrocket above pre-impact levels.

In just a few years, according to this hypothesis, these frigid and sweltering climatic extremes caused the extinction of not just the dinosaurs, but of up to 70 percent of all plants and animals living at the time.

Nature simply doesn’t give a damn. Never did, never will. And I see little reason to think that it will be any different for Homo sapiens.

Of course, this isn’t an excuse to sit back and continue on in the current direction; it’s merely a reminder that whatever we end up doing, Mother Nature won’t be paying attention; she will be, as always, too busy creating and destroying.


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