Will Earth Survive? One Humble Opinion

by updated 2013/03/23

A small image of the earth taken from space.This post was originally published a while ago but has recently been the target of an increased volume of visits.  It was prompted, in part, by a question on a now defunct site asking: “Tell us your feelings about earth, as it hurtles through space and time….. Is it in imminent danger right now? If yes, are we too late to save it? Is all the concern only unjustified paranoia?”

As readers of this site will know, I am certainly a fan of treating Mother Earth with all the respect we can. My reasons for this are a bit different than you might think. I optimistically have absolutely no fear that Homo sapiens, now the dominant species on the planet, will do any serious, long term harm to the Earth itself. The only reason many people think we as a species may permanently damage our planet is because of our biological tendency to see ourselves as the center of everything. The truth is we are too insignificant to the universe and even to the earth to be more than the proverbial fly on the camel’s back, always in danger of being swished off by the coarse tail of Mother Nature.

The reason I have been a supporter my whole life of the philosophy now trumpeted as “being green” has nothing to do with the ultimate preservation of the planet and everything to do with our responsibility to the other inhabitants of earth, human and otherwise, now and in the future. This responsibility means that we should not be contributing any more than is necessary for our survival to changes that affect the community of inhabitants of the earth. It is this community we have the awesome power to disrupt, not the planet itself.

Earth has undergone many cataclysmic changes in the past and will survive many more in the future. At some point in the future one of the changes will eliminate humans from the earth’s community. It is likely that before our final day, the species will face challenges of survival unthinkable to most people alive today. Whenever the ultimate end of the planet occurs, we humans will be insignificant contributors.

Fortunately, the human instincts of optimism and survival are not perceived on the incredibly huge scope of time involved with earth changes, but on the scale of the present and the coming few hundred years. Because of this, I believe we, as a species, will ultimately survive anything we can do to harm ourselves. (There is my optimism.) And, we will survive as a species because even if something happens that crushes the human population, any survivors will make the best of what is left in order to go on.

In our ultimate end, we will disappear because of some change well beyond our control. Current global warming trends are concerning and we need to address them so that we delay effects as long as possible. This will give us time and technology to help cope with the climate changes that will eventually come, human contributions or not. Eventually most of the current coastal cities of the world will be under water. At another point in the future, many of these same flooded areas will be under a mile thick sheet of ice. These futures seem long on the scale of human time, but they are short and repetitive on the scale of earthly time. Most sobering is that these things will eventually happen regardless of anything we humans do.

We are temporary occupants of earth. Our significance, and our responsibility, is to our fellow humans, both present and to come, and to all other species currently sharing the planet with us. The earth will survive into the unfathomable depths of time without us. However, by political, environmental, and religious responsibility, we can positively shape our part of the coming trip.

Will Sig
1 Bob

Hi Will, I agree we as humans will survive or make the best of a bad situation because the survival mode will cut in and we will do what we have to do, the key is to do what we have to do as early as possible to keep the damage as low as possible, other then that the Earth will be for another 4.5 billion years at which time the Sun will expand and envelope us and bye bye Earth.

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2 Jeques

Will,

Powerful compelling write. I am with you in your cause hand in hand supporting your conviction. I hope many more will join hands taking care the earth and preserving our future and the next generation. We maybe insignificant but we have in our little power to make the difference.

I wish you well.

~ Jeques

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3 Rob Kistner

Excellent, well-conceived, and thought provoking post Will. I agree with you on this matter. The earth, as a planet, seems quite resilient. However, I believe we humans will eventually be done in by our arrogance. When, I’m not certain — but I believe we are accelerating to our extinction at an unfortunate pace.

I found my way here to your blog via the link you posted on Writers Island. Your site is most informative… good stuff! I hope you are able to contribute to the island again in the future.

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4 Will

Thanks Jeques! I did put the link at the end of my comment at Writer’s Island. Did it not work when you tried to use it? Or was I supposed to put it somewhere else, also? I just found Writer’s Island yesterday and want to be sure I am doing it correctly.

I made a couple of comments on your site, but to anyone else reading this, check out Jeque’s unique writing style!

Also, someone told me that my digg and stumble buttons on this post did not work for them. I did just change the code a bit yesterday, but it looks OK to me. Has anyone else tried to use them and not been successful? Thanks.

-Will

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5 Will

Hi Jen! Glad to see you here! What did you figure out? Was it the Digg and Stumble buttons? If there is something about commenting or those two buttons that is causing some to “stumble”, (ok – bad pun!), I would like to know so I can fix it. I don’t want anyone to have to figure out anything. It should work as seamlessly as possible.

Thanks!

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6 Will

Hi Rob – Welcome! Your post in response to this weeks prompt is great. As I commented on your site, it is very interesting to see all the different styles of writing applied to the same prompt.

-Will

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7 Will

Hi Juliet – and welcome to you too! Your site is great. Nice job on those gloves in your latest post, although they are not exactly my party style! LOL!

-Will

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8 Crafty Green Poet

Its what we’re doing to species such as polar bears and tigers that really worries me, that we can have that amount of disregard

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9 Hil

Yes so true. I think the earth has the capability to take care of itself in a way and I think humans do eventually come to their senses. But yes what is more alarming is when there is total disregard certain species. Everything is interconected

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10 Just Jen

Great post, good entry for the island!

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11 offendedblogger

Will,

What a nice post! Somehow you make me feel safer living at the base of Yellowstone.

In the scheme of things, it’s really just a little speck of a volcano…right?? ;)

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12 Will

LOL Chelle! Yes, I agree, it seems just a little speck to me also. But…. then again, I live in Oregon and the jet stream goes west to east!

-Will

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13 JD Thomas

Well said Will.

The whole national discussion on the environment, in the US anyway, is in complete chaos. We have people believing that scientists are debating climate change when in reality they are just debating the CAUSE of the change that is occurring.

By looking at the big picture, and focusing on making sure that humans don’t destroy our own habitat, is more important than assigning blame or worrying about the Earth itself.

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14 benhurjun

Well said Will! Homo sapiens have this illusion of grandeur, of too much self importance, of owning the earth and claiming the universe! You are right. We are insignificant, inconsequential compared to the overwhelming power and might of the elements, and the natural forces that created us, the earth and the limitless universe.

Too serious talk? Ok let’s take deep breaths and relax. Cheers to the future!

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15 Patricia

Good post, Will. I really like your take on this controversial subject.

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16 Will

Welcome Ben! Thanks for the comment. Cheers to you also!

Thank you Patricia!

-Will

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17 Anna

Hi Will, I think the earth will survive. However, I have to tell you that I will be off blogging probably during few days, so I will come back to read all in detail especially knowing that I love commenting to all your stuff – still have the vision of the lips, lol.

Well kidding aside, thank you for your kind wishes on my blog. I think your posts are reminders sometimes we all need, and also to be aware of. And I would like to take this moment, to thank you for all your valuable comments on my blog, and visits and constructive criticism that only makes me better. All that is appreciated. Thank you so much, and all the best, Anna :)

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18 Alan

Thanks for a much broader perspective than one generally sees.

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19 Will

Thanks Anna, and the same to you. Your comments here are very appreciated and valuable. And congratulations for keeping your #1 spot on the “Top Commentators” list.

Alan – Your Welcome!

-Will

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20 pelf

This is very well written, Will. As I read the entire article, I couldn’t help but kept imagining how our own populations will decline (and eventually become extinct), like the fate that befalls the turtles today.

Thanks for inspiring the imagination :D

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21 Paisley

BRAVO!!!!!!!! i was so afraid this topic would be nothing but people crying out for us to save the planet.. go green.. do anything to distract me from looking at myself and my real place in this continuum we call life.. you made my day!

Eloquently stated!

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22 Robin

This was a very thought-provoking and nicely done post. I’m not sure I agree with your premise that human beings have no impact (perhaps not on its core, but certainly on its outer shell), but I certainly agree that we need to be doing much more to safeguard this precious inheritance we call the earth.

I look forward to reading more of your work.

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23 JD Thomas

Robin, your comment prompted me to reread Will’s post. I don’t think he is saying – in any way – that we have no impact. In fact, he is stressing the fact that our impact is greater than ourselves and ends up affecting the rest of the human population. We will drive ourselves out of our own human habitations long before we do any permanent damage to the earth itself.

Evolutionary adaptation, by its very nature, indicates that the outer shell of the planet will continue to support life no matter what we do,. It just may not be human life. Some shrimp have evolve to live in the high temperature, toxic environments surrounding deep sea volcanic vents. I don’t think there will be any problem for SOME life form to make its home in whatever we leave behind.

See: Volcano Shrimp

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24 Will

Welcome to you Robin! Great to have you here and commenting. JD, (techfun) says it well. I really do believe humans have an impact and as you said in your comment, “perhaps not on its core, but certainly on its outer shell”. It is this outer shell that we share with all other living species. The earth at its physical core and at the core of it’s life supporting system will go on long after we disappear. It is our journey to our ultimate end that we need to focus on making a more responsible one.

-Will

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25 Will

Thanks, Pelf!

Welcome Paisley! Great to have you here and I am very glad I made your day! I hope someone else can do it today. Wouldn’t it be nice to go through a week with a different person making your day, every day! I love your poetry. Your images are very unusual, also. Are any of them your original artwork?

-Will

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26 Mary T.

Yours is indeed an optimistic comment and I for one was glad to read it.

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27 Redness

We sure can Will, now if the rest of the world reads your post we might get some decisive, positive action! Have a Fantastic year ;~)

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28 keith hillman

If more of the worlds people thought in the way you do, there would be no need for a debate such as this. Too many folk subscribe to a ‘live for today’ attitude, and at times I have to admit to brushing environmental matters under the carpet myself.

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29 Will

Welcome Redness – Glad you are “Over It”. As your blog shows, that is indeed a good attitude to cultivate. Is that your 92 year old Dad? Congrats to him. Was he a fast walker? LOL!

Thanks for your comment. Wow! If “the rest of the world” is really going to read this post, we better get it even more Diggs and Stumbles!

-Will

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30 Will

Hi Keith! I liked your post. Daffodils in December is really strange to us. Here in Oregon, we never see them bloom before March or April.

-Will

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31 Anna

Hi Will, I think we are intelligent enough to recognize the dangers, and I think we will survive including the earth. However, the other day when we were walking around subdivising (the 3k walk), I asked, what would happened if the gravity suddenly died, we would just fall off the Earth into space. I live everyday and follow the healthy style, however, if something would happen to the Earth unexpected we have no control – lets say sun dissapears, moon is moving away, meteor hits etc. Then we may not survive. But then never know what can be next. I think you can tell I been hanging out around Bob too much, lol. Will I think that it is our responsibility to care for the earth, but I also believe that things can happen that are beyond our control. This does not sound too optimistic, but that is why I try to live good life day by day. Excellent post Will, really enjoyed reading. Looks like you got great response on this one. Anna :)

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32 Will

You are right, Anna. There are dangers out there in space that might indeed end the existence of earth. Humans can not do anything to the planet on that scale. If and when it does happen, I wonder if it would be best to have some warning, or to go all at once, in an instant, with no warning?

Oh my, maybe we are spending too much time around Bob’s “Astrostuff”. LOL! Although, in fairness to him, Bob really does focus on the positive aspects of what is out there…. except maybe in the 3rd paragraph of this post he did! Although, that is for Mars and not Earth, thank goodness!

-Will

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33 UL

Wow, this was a very interesting and thought provoking post. I am glad I didnt miss it. Esp. .liked the last paragraph where you summarize it all …oh yeah…we are temporary visitors on this earth, so why dont we act like a proper visitor? Beats me!

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34 Will

Hi Ul! I like that…. proper visitors. I see from your site that you write poetry. Interesting as I have had several people with poetry sites post here. Nice to have another good one to visit.

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35 Jason

It will be around for a long time… but due to all of the pollution and greenhouse gasses, eventually it’s going to take its toll and we will be gonzo.

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36 addmoretree

hai will,

thanks for info. I think its time for us to make action for better earth. Maybe you can help our project to make earth for better life place.
Please visit me, thanks

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37 Will

Thanks for the comment! I looked at your site. Good cause! I would edit the title and posts to say “add more trees” instead of the singular “Tree”. I realize English is not the first language, but still…. Good Luck! Indonesia is one of the places on earth that has been the most decimated by forest loss.

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38 Mike Touch

Wow! An extremely thought provoking post.
Fingers crossed that we will begin to treat the planet we live on with a little more respect.

As our knowledge of the universe improves we should be able to overcome any problem thrown at us. The Earth is the human’s first home and not it’s last.

To the stars and beyond…

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39 Anonymous

I’m sure the land we raped will grow back in a millenia or so :)

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40 kpss kitaplari

Thanks for your the post, Will. I really like your take on this controversial subject.

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41 Data Entry Lady

The reason I know it will survive is because the Bible says “the earth remains forever.”

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42 David

I like your style of writing, Will, but I fear it may be far too optimistic. Of course people would rather feel that things will just keep going as they “always” have. However, after reading a number of scientific books (though popular, such as “Collapse”) and speaking with scientists and policy makers, there is a good deal of danger to survival of humanity. If you are willing to see us die back to, say, 500 million, in a catastrophic way, and not be concerned, then you may be correct, there is nothing to fear.

We do need to strengthen our spiritual side. However, the image of billions of people starving on a planet that is 19 F hotter than today is not one that I find easily acceptable. I am not sure how much in-depth study this audience has, but to shorten it, the Permian Extinction was brought on by release of frozen methane compounds under the ocean. That is one of the great fears: we may well be on the way to causing that to occur again.

It is good to have an optimistic attitude in life, and I do, but I also feel that I am guided by reality, and that if urgent actions are not taken worldwide, and if we wait until the danger is very obvious to all, it could be too late.

Davids last blog post..Arctic Sea Ice Melting

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43 auntiegrav

Pretty good, but….it isn’t arrogance that says we can destroy the earth and every living thing on it, but plain science. The term ‘tipping point’ doesn’t mean we tip over. It means we set in motion things that cannot be stopped. WE as one species aren’t the action that is going to kill every living thing on the planet. The reactions which we set in motion are. Your post is naive and pandering to the ‘cooler heads’ crowd who think that as long as we don’t rock too many boats, the tidal wave won’t kill us. We already see the signs of what we have done. The CO2 levels are beyond the tipping point, methane is being released that was stored under pressure and frozen in the oceans and in frozen beds beneath Siberia. Once those let go, all bets are off. The climate change isn’t just a couple of degrees to worry about anymore. Everything they said about rates of change has been shown to be extremely underestimated and conservative. Just like the ‘housing bubble’, which was going to be ‘temporary’ is now a full blown Depression-style disaster. We are being lied to in order to keep us consuming right to the very end because everything that we have been doing has been at the behest of the few rich families that control the industrialized world.
What is the purpose of Life? If you truly dig and discern the answer, you will find that it is to create future usefulness. Species are moderated through various means of predation, disease, etc. Humans have compromised all of the systems which should have kept us in check, and the result is that we are now eating the future and releasing the past. There is something like 3 billion years of stored carbon and methane (ancient sunlight), and we have released a good percentage of that stored energy in a matter of 100 years AND WE ARE ACCELERATING THE RATE. Do the frackin’ math on that and see how much impact we have. It may be arrogance, but that doesn’t change the data. I’ll take my version of arrogance over your naivete on this subject.

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44 Dianne

Great post and a great read! I don’t know if I agree that humans are THAT insignificant, but it’s a good thing to think about. Makes me think about that show “Life After People” that was on TV.

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45 Will

There is a review here of the Life After People show. It was pretty bad. I can’t believe they made a series out of it.

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46 Brian Gogle

It’s interesting that this post or comments doesn’t discuss the 2012 apocalypse prediction. I think there will be some sort of nuclear calamity around this time. 2012 was predicted by both the Mayan’s and also Nostradamus for the end of the world.

I’m not sure if I actually believe this prediction, however…
I was a boy scout and the motto was “be prepared”. I’m planning to stock a large quantity of food as this may well be in short supply. I’m not a libertarian, however good to be ready.

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47 Will

I am not sure if I believe it either. But I guess we will find out. I remember when that date so far in the future. Now we are staring it right in the face!

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48 David - green thoughts

When people say we are destroying the planet, they do not mean that Earth will disintegrate. Mostly, we mean will the great bulk of the “services” that Earth provides continue to be available and unencumbered by pollution. These services include clean fresh water, farmable land (with topsoil), air with the right amount of oxygen that allows us to breath, temperatures that are livable as opposed to an ice age or a 19F increase (such as in the Permian Age).

We humans are way, way beyond a “fly on the camel’s back”. We are already filling parts of the ocean with plastic giving off toxic chemicals and particles of plastic that are literally choking fish and sea birds, and causing the soil of the planet to be laced with various leachate from the plastics. We are causing the temperature of the planet to far faster and further than it would otherwise.

This post, though well-meaning, does not seem particularly well-informed. Humans have managed to extinguish themselves in a number of past environments, as written about in Jared Diamond’s book “Collapse”. In Greenland and in Easter Island, for a number of generations everything went just fine. Yet within 100 years of being at their respective peaks of civilization, they were 100% gone, due to loss of all food sources.

The post here does touch on the inspiring nature of our bond to each other and to all life on the planet. However, the illusion that we are not important enough to inflict major change and damage on the systems of our planet, and in effect “destroy” life as we know it for many of the larger beings on the planet, is very real and has already started in terms of a sudden up-tick in extinctions that has been unheard of for a very long time.

I hope we will take our responsibility, and power, seriously enough to avoid further damage, and to reach our great potential as human beings on this planet.
.-= David –

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49 Will

Hey David – Thanks for your well thought out comment. I agree with much of what you write. You are correct that I put several ideas into this post and I am glad you picked up on the bond we humans have not only to other humans but to the everything else here too. To sort of simplify, what I meant by insignificant is not in our impact, but in how utterly insignificant our absence on the earth will be to the planet and all other species, (except perhaps our domesticated pets), when that day comes.

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50 David - green thoughts

Thanks for being a good sport, Will. I am mostly trying to convey that seeing only the long-term view of an entire planet will miss the urgent need for us to do things better right now and in the next 100 years, as we have a major impact on the future of our own and most other species, at least in the animal kingdom and to some degree the plant kingdom. The suffering of people and animals that is already underway and that may grow dramatically if clean water and food become less and less available (for a variety of reasons), that suffering should at the least be limited as much as we can. I am certain that you agree.

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51 Mike

If our actions are so insignificant compared to the size of this planet, I take it you are not a believer in global warming then…

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52 Will

Hi Mike – Please re-read the post…. and pay attention this time! ;-)

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53 Leonie

I am so glad I am not the only one who realizes we have pushed Mother Earth to the brink. Mother Earth is a living being and whilst She has done a brilliant job of looking after us, we have treated Her with contempt. I have felt for the last 20 years that we had limited time here. Mother Earth will destroy us (or most of us) before we destroy her. I just hope we don’t take all (or most) of the other species with her.

I have long watch the destruction of Mother Earth by way of mining, land clearing, over population etc. And the destruction continues and will not end until it is too late. Mother Earth will destroy us in order to survive and I just hope we don’t destroy too many more species in the meantime. We are running out of water quicker than most realize and yet here in Australia we continue to use drinking water to flush our toilets. It makes me ashamed.

I am an adopted member of the Walbiri tribe of Central Australia. The fact that the Earth is our Mother is the cornerstone of all our beliefs. The Walbiri still protect and nurture their sacred sites and I am confident that the Earth will survive, but as for us, do we really deserve to be here after what we have done to our Mother? It gives me comfort to see my adopted family protect and pay homage to their sacred sites with ancient ceremonies that continue to this day. Having been to many sacred sites has left me with no doubt that Mother Earth is a living feeling being.

I was glad to find that I am not the only one who thinks as I do. I am not afraid but very sad to know that I will see unprecedented levels of destruction in the years ahead. I would very much like to communicate with anyone who shares my views as I feel like mine is a lone voice.

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54 MJ

I like the way you think. We are nothing than dust in the wind.

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55 Joseph Condron

I couldn’t agree more. James Lovelock’s Gaia Theory seems to ring true. Good post.
.-= Joseph Condron´s last blog ..Quotes On Challenging Conventions =-.

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56 CoralRX

Well .. one day we will all die.. lol and that fateful day in 2012 is near.. very near.. =P

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57 Walter Smith

Will the Earth Survive?

Our planet Earth will not be destroyed by any cataclysm. Why can we be sure of that? Because God promises that the earth “will not be made to totter to time indefinite, or forever.” (Psalm 104:5) Although “generations come and generations go,” states the Bible, “the earth remains forever.”—Ecclesiastes 1:4, New International Version.

At Psalm 104:5, the permanence of the earth is emphasized by two words used in the original Hebrew of that text—?oh•lam? for “time indefinite” and ?adh for “forever.” ?Oh•lam? may be translated “many years” or “perpetual.” According to Harkavy’s Students’ Hebrew and Chaldee Dictionary, ?adh means “duration, everlastingness, eternity, for ever.” These two Hebrew words show the durability of the earth to be doubly certain. Consider three further Bible-based reasons to believe that the earth will remain forever.

First, God made the earth to be inhabited by humans—to be a lush, global paradise of delight, not a wasteland. Isaiah 45:18 describes Jehovah as “the Creator of the heavens, He the true God, the Former of the earth and the Maker of it, He the One who firmly established it, who did not create it simply for nothing, who formed it even to be inhabited.”

Second, God has long promised that humans who choose to obey him would reside forever on this earth in peace. Micah 4:4 promises: “They will actually sit, each one under his vine and under his fig tree, and there will be no one making them tremble; for the very mouth of Jehovah of armies has spoken it.” Thus, according to God’s purpose, the earth must remain eternally as mankind’s home, or else his promises would be in vain.—Psalm 119:90; Isaiah 55:11; 1 John 2:17.

Third, God has entrusted man with the care of this earth. “As regards the heavens, to Jehovah the heavens belong, but the earth he has given to the sons of men,” says God’s Word. (Psalm 115:16) Can you imagine a loving father giving a beautiful gift to his child and then turning around and destroying it? Of course not! Likewise, neither will Jehovah do any such thing to the earth and its inhabitants, for “God is love.”—1 John 4:8.

Jesus Christ gave this assurance regarding his Father’s sayings: “Your word is truth.” (John 17:17) And God, who cannot lie, promises: “The righteous themselves will possess the earth, and they will reside forever upon it.”—Psalm 37:29; Titus 1:2.

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58 Data Entry Lady

Excellent , well thought out response Walter. I share your faith!

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59 Siberian tiger

Of course it will survive, it survived a lot worse than ours. Earth is not as fragile as we think. Just like any life on it that temper millions of years, survived the asteroid impact, climate change, ice age, only the most adaptable will survive. The real question is whether we will survive?
.-= Siberian tiger´s last blog ..Russia-Iran Re-population project =-.

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60 Earth Activism

thought provoking article Will, thanks for it. I have my own ideas and I agree that manking faces a huge uphill battle for survival from our own ignorance. We are polluting ourselves right out of a sustainable environment and many thousands of species will die off before a new balance is established. Sadly I think that balance will only come after our demise.

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61 Will

It sure is interesting to read the vast spectrum of comments on this post. Even with all the different points of origin and the different paths all you commentators take in writing your well formed comments, everyone seems to agree with my post’s last paragraph. In a way that alone is very comforting. Let’s hope human kind is up to the task.

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62 sakura

Hi, i think yes , at least in sort period of time. today it’s our concern to save our world. world leader already sounding it from the some years back. so i’m sure it will.
sakura recently posted..Diet Golongan DarahMy Profile

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63 Keith

Will,
I agree wholeheartedly with your opinion. Humankind is very resourceful and survivors will endure unless and until some cataclysmic event wipes us all of the face of the planet. Problems demand and usually produce solutions. And the earth will survive it all.

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64 MarthaBee

In my perception human begins are more like a virus to mother earth, our behavior of excessive consumption of the resources, over population and pollution are very similar to what a virus does in the human body. Mother earth will go own with or without us. In the mean while she is always reminding us that she is alive and that we owe her respect, since, we owe our existence to mother earth.

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65 Hillary

I agree whole heartedly with you on this one. The “green” movement is kind of a farse as it is today. It is more about being self-sufficient and use more of the earths energy to leave less of a carbon footprint. The term Green has been over marketed and ill-used.
Hillary recently posted..Rescue 911 – 2nd Pilot-Episode 113 – “Dog Rescue”My Profile

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66 Ron Lentjes

I hope I am in-line with the type of comments. For a while I basically went along with increases in CO2 causes global warming. But after looking at several view points and learning what I could (I am expert in the STOP THE BAN OF INCANDESCENT and LIGHT issues but NOT expert in CLIMATE so (the points I make about climate) are my view points only based on my own reasoning) I am more sided to the ‘the sun is causing most of the global warming affects’. And the warming causes the increases in CO2 as a reaction (including ocean’s play in letting out a bit of it’s giga-tonnes reserve of CO2 in delayed reaction to temperature increases). Anyway none-the-less, I don’t think polluting the earth is a good thing at all. But I don’t think man-made global warming is of any significance. The total giga-tonnes in ocean is beyond our contribution. Even the exchange rates are higher than our contribution. So I think this global-warming scare is unfortunate and has lead to $$GREED$$ where all this $$BILLIONS$$ of vested interests in selling products including the INCANDESCENT BAN. But don’t misunderstand me. Even if global warming were true. My stance that the BAN OF INCANDESCENTS should be STOPPED remains. If you put your STANDARD INCANDESCENT on solar panels or wind power, they emit no mercury, very little UV, no 40, 000 Hz 120V/240VAC EMF radiation (sometimes referred to as dirty power) into the surrounding and into our power lines. INCANDESCENTS run almost silent on pure 60 Hz Ac or even completely silent on DC (eg batteries or solar power). They are simple to make. Simple to break. They DO require a bit more power, but light of heated object produces the highest quality light which is inviting and warm and calm. My point is that if we run scared without truly understanding the real reality of it all, we can do more harm than good (either way). And then politics gets in the way and $$GREEDY$$ $$PROFITS$$ also get in the way. So like some comments above. You could be correct in that it is our arrogance that gets the best of us in the end. Cheers, Ron Lentjes.

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67 Tony McGurk

I think Greed & stupidity are the biggest problems. How often the problems of what we are doing to our environment is highlighted & yet the human population continues doing the very things we acknowledge as harmful. Individuals may make changes but those who seem to make the biggest impact such as big corporate polluters etc just continue on their merry way mostly because to do things differently would cut into their precious profits. Governments may talk of change because it’s popular but to actually DO something to force change would harm their popularity with those who matter to them most i.e. the big corporate companies who grease the palms of our politicians. All in all being too stupid to learn from past mistakes & too stupid to learn from what we can see happening now & change because change is needed not because it’s financially nonviable.

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68 Will

I agree Tony. Your comment about biggest impact users makes me think of water conservation. Some of us do it on an individual basis but still, over 65% of water use in the U.S. and a BIG percentage of that is lost before it is even used.

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69 Tony McGurk

P.S. I’ve gone back to my old free WP.com site. http://tonymcgurk.com Got made redundant from my job about a month ago so decided that paying for web hosting was just another expense I can do without on my now tight budget.
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70 Will

Made redundant? You lost your job, Tony? That is terrible, sorry to hear it. You are probably not at retirement age yet? But probably close enough so that potential employers will take some convincing. I hope your economy there is not like ours with over 8% “official” unemployment and who know how much real unemployment? Here in Oregon many say that if you count officially unemployed and those who are no longer on unemployment and no longer looking for work, (but want a job), the number is more like 15%. Losing a job here if you are 50 or older is almost a terminal condition.

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71 Tony McGurk

Similar here Will with the economic situation which is why I was made redundant due to falling profits & staff cut backs. I’m 52 now so I’m sure they look at you & think you’re past it. I’ve applied for heaps of advertised positions & nothing yet. I went around a lot of motels a few weeks ago with my resume & told them I was willing to scrub bathrooms & toilets for work if that’s what it took to get a job. One of them rang me Friday & I’ve got an interview Monday morning. Cleaning work doesn’t bother me if it helps pay the bills.
Our official government unemployment figures are much lower than actual too. You only have to work a minimum 2 hours casual work a week if your on unemployment allowance & you’re not officially counted as being unemployed. It’s just to make the governments figures look better.
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72 RK Henderson

Hi Will,

I can’t be as optimistic as some about humanity’s chances; history is full of civilisations whose common sense never kicked in, and whose grandiose architecture was swallowed by the jungle. (Or the desert, or…) Those people just reverted to a less-urban existence, for the most part, but our “city in the jungle” today is a globalised, centralised quasi-government. No place left to run.

To me, human survival depends on our ability as a species to overcome primitive religion and strong-man government, and cleave to reason and higher morality. In my lifetime I’ve seen things get decidedly worse in that regard, with no end in sight, but the cycles of history are far greater than one man’s life. Anything can still happen. It’s about being on the right side of history.

Thanks for a thought-provoking post!

Robin
Rusty Ring: Reflections of an Old-Timey Hermit
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73 Will

Good points Robin. Even though there is a bit of optimism running through this post and long comment thread, the main vein running through it all for me is just this: Whenever our inevitable end arrives, and whatever the cause of that end, the earth will survive. We may eventually cause our end, and countless other ends to other species, but the earth will adapt and go on. At least until that age when the sun becomes a red giant and swallows up the whole solar system.

Humans will be long gone by then. The sun will likely be a full blown red giant in about 5 billion years. Humans will be long gone in a few million years at best. All life will probably be gone by 1 billion years from now. Anyone who feels otherwise does not share my science-based view of the past and the future and that is fine. But for those like me, the long term future seems written in stone. It is the short term, the next 100, or even 1,000 years that will most likely determine the fate of our species.

One of the original point of this post is that many people view the survival of the earth and the survival of humans as the same thing. They are not. We as a species are adversely impacting our own survival potential and the survival potential of countless other species. But we are not now having impact, and will never have any impact on the survival of the earth itself. Any species, including ours, that we kill off will be replaced by others. If all humans disappeared tomorrow, no undomesticated life form on the planet would care. Well maybe a few crows, rats, seagulls, etc. that live off of our detritus, but you get the idea.

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74 Ron Lentjes

Hi Guys, One thing I have been researching lately is the “propaganda machine”. So much propaganda these days. I think some people watch to much TV with very little effort of finding things out for themselves. And by default become believers that you must buy products to keep that kitchen squeaky clean (even though those chemicals can choke you to death), buy odor eaters for your feet (even though the warnings on the product and itchy feet), buy roach bombs to clean out your house of pesky bugs (even though this may literally clean out your entire house – ka boom like), buy CFLs to save you energy (even though the light can be disturbing, the mercury bad for environment), go to war to catch the 9-11 criminals (even though as history teaches us – quite likely home town thugs, and so they kill many innocent people), say that global warming is man-made 100% for sure and if you don’t believe you are a denier (even though CO2 is not pollution, but other things are pollution). My point is here that propaganda is a mother of a bastard. It deludes the people of the truth of the matters. Whatever that may be. So well hidden by this propaganda machine. So I urge you to use common sense. And turn off that PROPAGANDA BOX. You may try to reason with SUBLIMINAL SEDUCTION, but you can’t. It’s like having a bad person sitting with you watching TV and telling you and supporting the LIES. It is a bad influence. It think this is a great part of “Will earth survive?”. Unless we learn to identify LIES and stay away from them. And fight for truths, we will always be VICTIMS. Take a stand. I write articles on my free time all the time. I don’t get payed for these. Take care. Cheers, Ron Lentjes.

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75 Ron Lentjes

“We are temporary occupants of earth. Our significance, and our responsibility, is to our fellow humans, both present and to come, and to all other species currently sharing the planet with us. The earth will survive into the unfathomable depths of time without us. However, by political, environmental, and religious responsibility, we can positively shape our part of the coming trip.”

How true.

Seems to be those who collect physical wealth at all cost to this physical realm think it will make them all powerful and mighty.

So what, are they going to be dragging all this material stuff ball-and-chain to their life-after?

Total insanity.

And at all cost to humanity, they seek this false PROFIT.

Let you think about that one…

Cheers,
Ron Lentjes.

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76 Binky

I don’t think humans will threaten the future of planet earth, but I do think we have had and will continue to have a huge influence on the biosphere. We have caused the extinction of so many species that the balance of nature is no longer balanced and has probably been irrevocably altered from it’s normal course. The true consequences will probably not be seen for generations.
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77 Marthine

I’m not sure if Earth will survive in the long run but I hope it will so humanity can still innovate, populate, procreate and share knowledge.

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78 Regina

it’s sad but true that we’re already too late to save our green planet. There are so many reasons for that, but we, humans have done it. We haven’t thought responsible and haven’t thought about sustainability before it was too late…

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79 Ron Lentjes

Well, I think the planet will last. We just have to wait for the half life of the Japan radio isotopes too cool off. Let’s see, that’s about 24,100 years for Plutonium 238… so on. I was amazed to hear “… the centers for disease control and prevention and public health experts do not recommend that people in the united states take precautionary measures beyond staying informed (aka LIED TO)…” from Obama. What? You guys should have taken your iodine tablets! And then to hear this on news: “there’s ah.. GROWING BODY (she moves her body to force the DECEIT) of evidence that ah radiation in excess of what the government(s) says(s) is are the minimum amount you should be exposed to were actually GOOD FOR YOU (stress) in reduced cases of(f) cancer…” Holly shit. And she says it in a very crafty way. What you first get from it is that some radiation is good for you but due to the craftiness used, they covered themselves. (You will have to read it over and over to see the many levels of DECEIT and PROPAGANDA used here including here purposeful use of gesters and slurs and all). Let me make a simple statement. Decay of alpha particles hitting DNA is no different than a gun putting bullets into you. It’s like saying a bit of bullets at you is actually good for you! We all know it only takes ONE aimed bullet to kill you. It only takes ONE alpha particle to wreck DNA. Please get this point. There is NO MINIMUM SAFE level of BULLETS to your BRAIN. You are dead on the first ONE! I can’t believe this level of DECEIT in the media these days. This is true for pushing for WAR, CFL, GLOBAL WARMING SALES, JAPAN RADIATION downplay, HAARP downplay (the new very very serious weapon of mass destruction – forget bombs). So on. This is why I STRESS that you learn that TV is a PROPAGANDA machine that is so powerful, you are not likely to be able to get away from it’s affects. The subconscious is like a child. It just sucks it all up and the more it is fed at levels the conscious can’t be aware of to stop it, and the more often it is repeated: No matter how untrue it is, we start to believe it is true. I think now it is too later for the HUGE LEVELS of radiation in the ocean. We have 5 years since Japan’s radiation before the entire ocean around the world is equalized to an even baked level. So don’t eat tuna for 24,100 years x N (or whatever the half-life of whatever combination of isotopes like Cesium are present). And Japan has about 2 to 6 years before cancer sets in. But the news does not warn you does it? Did you know that total melt down had occurred while they were COVERING IT UP on the news? Sorry, let me go back to my edit studio to find the detail… Just a sec… Yes “reactor cores 1, 2, and 3 … all 3 have been melting thru the soil … since Mar 12″ !!! (“dubbed China Syndrome”) But “TEPCO have so far based their responses on cost and shareholder considerations”… So you can see that the real problem (as above replies has indicated) is MAN. The planet is just fine. You see, the planet is BOOTING us off it’s surface, awaiting a new arrival of test SUBJECTS hoping to find a more PEACEFUL, RESPECTFUL CROWD. The planet will survive until… It is hit by a sizable ROCK or the SUN bakes it in it’s last days of hydrogen fission (when it turns to next heavier element to fuse). I think the COCKROACHES are the winners today. So long as they can handle the radiation levels. Don’t forget every time that they BOMB whoever with DEPLETED whatever, that spreads through out the globe and increases our BACKGROUND RADIATION. But don’t worry, every time this happens, they just up the safe radiation limit (They upped the limit for children from 1 mSv to 20 mSv per year (the same as nuclear power plant workers)). So everything is PERFECTLY SAFE, because the TV PROPAGANDA SAYS SO. One last quote (just wait, have to go back to console…) After Chernobyl, “all European fresh produce and milk was banned…”. After Fukushima, “Fukushima (and other place I can’t spell) food and produce has been pushed as ‘safe’ and SENT and SOLD all over the country”. Also Japan’s popular boy band promoted the food by eating it on TV adds. Unfortunately one more elderly TV promoter who ate the food on air was “diagnosed with acute leukemia and hospitalized”. All in all, what can I say. The media is owned by only a few large corps like GE (who made the reactors). Did you know that top engineers resigned from GE due to what they considered were safety issues (never addressed). Oh my. As the world CHURNS. Ron Lentjes.

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80 Dennis the Vizsla

Have you read “The World Without Us”? Very interesting book about what would happen to all the stuff we’ve built if we were to just disappear.
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81 Anita

Interesting and inspirational facts and questions, these kind of articles make me always thinking deeply about philosophical things. Thanks for moving my brain;)

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82 Samuel Williams

What a great article, Will! I salute you for thinking such things. I believe that we have to move forward so that we can still save our Mother Earth. I also respect mother earth a lot that’s why in my little simple ways, I am trying to help her, to avoid the destruction of this planet. You’re right that, we humans are the reasons for these changes that’s happening but it is also we, who can make the difference and who can save our planet. It isn’t too late, we still have a lot of time to fix the mess that we’ve made. We just have to support each other.

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83 Jerry Simpson

I think Earth will survive but whether we will is another question. The sad thing is I think that when humans cease, the earth will rebuild again. Maybe differently though.

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84 Ash

It will survive, long after humans (us!!) have destroyed themselves… The Earth has been around many billions of years since its formation, and humans will have only lived for a ‘blink of an eye’.

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85 Sergio Anacleto

I feel that we humans will destroy ourselves some how, due to politics, greed and hunger for power. Our Earth deserves better then what we provide for it. Its a one way unfortunately….how I see it anyway.

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86 Phil Brammer

Excellent piece. There’s still a lot that individuals can do, or should I say, NOT do. Earlier this month I filmed Jim Carruthers (of Scottish Natural Heritage) giving a talk on “How to not Garden” in order to improve a garden’s biodiversity. It’s hilarious but Jim makes some very serious points. http://youtu.be/kKGeUTCLSWg

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87 Arnold

Really interesting article, and I have also enjoyed it reading the comments, you’ve just started a really constructive discussion and interesting conversation about our planet and world, very remarkable how different ways people can think about our only place to live…

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88 Jon Klokov

While I enjoyed the read, I would maintain that there is some importance and significance to human life. Consciousness and full sentience is something effectively unheard of except in our own species…while we may be a temporary stain on this world, it’s a stain that is nonetheless quite unlike any other we’ve seen thus far!

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89 Stewart

Hi Will. Full markes, I am of the same opinion. The Earth will survive well into the future, with or without us. Sustain life is about living in tune with nature, not against it. I look forward to reading more. take care.

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90 Laurie M

I believe that the Earth will end someday. Because when there is life there is death. The Earth came out of the Big Bang, the Earth will eventually disappear like many Supernova stars happened in the Milk Way. And new planet like the Earth will come.

Like you said in the post, this is on the Earth time. And human life span is only minuscule compare to it. Knowing this fact, the best thing we can do is like you suggested – to preserve the Earth as much as we can. In the mean while, live our life to the fullest. Even if we are worried to death about the Earth coming to an end, it is not very possible that it will happen in our life time. Even if it did, nothing much we could do would now would significantly unwind this path.

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