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Olduvai III: Catacylsm
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Alien Planet Earth

Alien Planet Earth

The world of just a few lifetimes ago

Watching the climate change is like waiting for your hair to grow. You know it’s happening, but you can’t really tell from day to day. However, from a greater chronological distance, the damage humanity is inflicting on our planet is clear.

Where I live, bats have disappeared over the past couple decades. I remember watching them swoop at the evening insects, a couple even finding their way into my house. Now I never see them.

Others speak about fireflies that no longer dance at night. Or windshields bare of insect residue.

While insects are still a significant portion of global biomass, we’ve increasingly become a planet of humans, human food and anthropogenic mass.

We’ve terraformed the planet to feed our insatiable needs, at nature’s expense. This myopic stewardship pushes the planet to the edge. Robust systems are diverse and redundant. Ours is monolithic and fragile.

Source: Global human-made mass exceeds all living biomass

Wild animals are vanishing because humans are pushing them out and replacing them with domesticated animals. Today, it’s difficult to imagine what the world looked like hundreds of years ago, before we chopped down the old growth trees and overfished the oceans. Luckily, we have documented evidence from centuries past.

The photo below illustrates the sheer destruction humans can inflict.

“At the close of the 18th century, there were between 30 and 60 million bison on the continent. By the time of this photograph, that population was reduced to only 456 wild bison.” Source: The Conversation

Michigan Carbon Works in Rougeville, Mich., in 1892.

I recently found several accounts from the first Europeans that explored and settled in the Chesapeake bay area. There were more fish to catch than could be preserved.

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Olduvai IV: Courage
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Olduvai II: Exodus
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