Human Growth-Priority of the planet?

How important is growth of human race. Or a more basic question. What is the definition of growth of human race? Exactly to what extent can we destroy this planet for the growth of human race? And are humans the only beings allowed to live comfortably on earth? Does it means that other animals living on the planet have been sent to earth by god for either our recreation or our consumption. Just because our species has a higher IQ, can we harness anything by nature for our benefit?

I will begin from the last question. A few months back I attended a vegan potluck organized by a close friend. A non-vegetarian person was arguing “If we don’t extract milk from cows or kill them for meat and leather, what is the use of cows for us?” Now this is the exact flaw in ambitious race of humans. Most of us do not believe in a symbiotic existence of all species. We have been led to believe in a consumerist existence. And therefore we cut rainforests, convert them to lands for farming and cattle rearing, damage the biodiversity and often produce surplus food. Still many go to bed hungry, and so many who have food, are suffering from obesity.

 Earth is a complex system just like our human body. For instance we have made sweeping advances in medical sciences. Yet you have one specialist dedicating his life studying and treating one system or maybe just one organ in human body, several diseases are yet to find cure, and several designs within human body still a mystery . A funny fact is that we need psychiatrists to help us understand our own head in a better way!! Similarly, Earth is maintained on complex balancing equations. The latest, and now widely accepted, Gaia theory  by James Lovelock states- “ Earth is a self-regulating complex system involving the biosphere, the atmosphere, the hydrospheres and the pedosphere, tightly coupled as an evolving system. The theory sustains that this system as a whole, called Gaia, seeks a physical and chemical environment optimal for contemporary life.” Now this might seem something very obvious in the first read. But if you probe further into the statement you will realize, its not just us who struggle for existence. Earth has also tried for years to allow the life to thrive. But perhaps evolution and growth of human race is not on the top of the list of Earth. It gives importance to all species of animal and plant kingdom alike. Hence as per science, God did not send animals and plants for the consumption of human race. And therefore everything around is not an indefinite bounty merely for our utilization.

So far consumption by the human race has followed the a linear pattern. We extract from the planet, consume it as per our needs, and throw it away. And where do thrown away materials go to? If we draw a rough sketch of the map of consumption, it would show us that we extract from the third world, consume it in the first world and thereafter dump it in the third world again. But unfortunately resources of earth are exhaustible. So the next step by humans would be looking for sustainable models of consumption. And many of this breed would be lauded for their efforts in this field. We sure are a greed-iest of all species. Ambition is the ‘IN’ trait! However before looking into the possibilities of evolving methods of sustainable consumption, we must look around and analyze. Do we still have a chance to stand against our own extinction? Do we still need to think only about the comforts of our race. Sadly we live in times when emotions are valued over the truth. The truth is that we have already consumed more than our fair share, and we are swelling in number. We were around a thousand million of us in 1800s, and current world population has already crossed the 7000 million mark. And we continue to overload the planet with a greed-ier forthcoming generation.

I will begin the story of destruction with the comforts modern life has provided us with. Cars, air-conditioners, refrigerators, electricity. What do they bring with them? Prosperity and Happiness-that is what some commercial featuring any of these products is expected to tell you. What they don’t tell you, and you seemingly avoid knowing it is that they get CFCs and CO2 along with them. We all know global warming, and rise in sea level are co-related. Emission of CO2 and CFCs in the the atmosphere and global warming are directly proportional. A study in 2004 revealed that if the temperature of earth rises more than 2.7 degree centigrade, all glaciers like in Greenland would continue to melt, and disturb the ecological balance of Earth. Also a rise in the temperature of Earth by 4 degree Celsius is enough to destabilize ALL tropical green forests- presumably lungs of the earth, and melt glaciers across the planet. And why would the temperature rise above 2.7  or 4 degree centigrade? The assumed threshold to reach this stage would be presence of 500 ppm of CO2 in air. We already have around 360ppm of CO2 in air.  If we continue to burn fossil fuels with the given accelerated rate, cut the rainforests-, and keep disturbing the delicate balance on this beautiful planet, it is expected that we will reach the mark of 500ppm in coming 50 years. This was an extremely simple explanation of current circumstances to appeal to a non-scientist mind. Fair enough? So we are about to perish very soon. Honestly I cannot answer that. What are best livelihood methods now? Well we have a huge force of humans working on sustainable models, and I am far behind them in any research they have done. I am an ordinary person, and all I have with me is a few set of questions and a set of verified facts.

The idea here is not to threaten you, or to extract some benefit out of your guilt. I am here to question the basic flaw in our thought process. I am here to tell you that a mere aping of first world lifestyle is probably not the best way. I am here to make you think, where did we go wrong. I am here to tell you that we, the so called “third world citizens” are lesser culprits of goddess Earth. But still, to think of it, how many of you have drunk water straight from a running stream, how many of you have relished a fruit plucking it straight from a tree, how many of you have had the beautiful opportunity of getting lost in a forest, how many of you have climbed mountains just for pleasure. There are a plenty of “how many”s’ I have in mind. Its time to sit and think. To think the emphasis we have put on things that we produce, than on bounties that have already been spared for us? To think that  how would we like to go down in the history of Earth? As intelligent species, or  greedy species, or do we really want to go down as a part of some history of this planet?

Anvita Shukla

I write less about MYSELF

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