The Most Dangerous Game?
Are humans the worst creatures ever to walk the earth?
The global climate has been changing quite a bit lately, and it's widely believed that human activity is mostly to blame. But some people actually go so far as to say humans are "destroying" the natural world. In a small sense, sure, but the world isn't being destroyed.
Have you ever read anything on the history of the earth? Trust me, it's survived far worse than humanity. Ice ages, volcanic activity, meteor impacts; much of this happened long before humans existed. Mother Earth is a tough old bird.
So, what impact is humanity having on the planet? It's true that we're changing the world, but we're not making it uninhabitable or anything. All that's happening now is that earth is becoming less of a nice place for us to live. CO2 levels are rising in the atmosphere and the temperature is rising with it. That's not bad for the planet, it's just bad for us. Plenty of creatures can live in hotter temperatures. Sure, polar bears and the like are going extinct, but should we really be shedding tears over it? This is how natural selection works. Species that are ill-fitted for the environment die out. The same thing has been happening for millions of years. Countless species have died out long before we came along. Just because we're the ones causing change, somehow that means we have to feel bad about it?
The CO2 isn't a serious problem, either. Sure, it sucks for us, but it's not like it's polluting the world. In fact, one could argue that our planet was already polluted with another more dangerous gas: oxygen. Yeah, oxygen. Many people don't know this, but way back in the day, the majority of life forms on earth used CO2 for respiration like plants do. In fact, oxygen was actually poisonous to these life forms. When plants and phototrophic protists became more and more prevalent, they sucked up the CO2 in the atmosphere and started pumping out oxygen. All that oxygen killed the CO2-dependent life forms, leaving only a select few oxygen-tolerant creatures to survive and reproduce. Several generations down the road, mutations gave rise to creatures that actually used oxygen to carry out cellular respiration. These oxygen-breathers continued to survive and reproduce, in turn giving rise to the distant ancestors of the species that are alive today.
Not all of those CO2-liking creatures are gone, either. There are worm-like creatures living on the sea floor, far from any sources of sunlight or atmospheric oxygen. They live off of the heat from underwater vents. These creatures are considered extremophiles, or creatures adapted to live in extreme conditions, but if the CO2 levels in the atmosphere keep rising, the world at large could become a much friendlier place for such creatures to live.
So, are humans the worst? It doesn't seem like it. We show greater capacity for compassion than just about any other species. We have some seemingly negative effects on our environment, but doesn't the mere fact that we recognize this and try to take action to correct it show we're not all bad? And besides, even if the actions of man somehow did result in an end to life as we know it, it won't spell an end to all life. One way or another, our fair earth will carry on with or without us.
Learn more about extremophiles:
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