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Re: End of the world....

Posted: Tue Jul 05, 2011 2:37 pm
by Rozax
Sokka: I'm too young to die!
Fisherman: I'm not, but I still don't wanna!

Avatar - The Last Airbender
Episode Title: The Storm
Original Airdate: 03 June 2005

Re: End of the world....

Posted: Fri Oct 21, 2011 7:49 am
by Taoist
Once again, the world lives on with nothing of consequence to report.

Doomsday forecast fizzles out... again


Posted: Sat Oct 22, 2011 12:45 pm
by holley
We have sunrise, sunset and everything in between.
Today, as every day, is a day to rejoice in....
considering that, according to some, the world will end in 2012.

Re: End of the world....

Posted: Tue Dec 06, 2011 11:50 am
by Taoist
You know, I've been coming across several accounts that December 2012 is actually when humankind will enter a new state of consciousness (aka Age of Aquarius). I also just read that October 2011 was when the shift began and I guess next Dec. is when it's going to be complete or something? Not sure, I'm thinking about buying the books that I saw them on though.

I can stomach that much better than any supposed apocolyptic event..

When shift hits the fan

Posted: Sat Dec 10, 2011 11:56 pm
by holley
End time beliefs reveal shadows as pronounced as last night's lunar eclipse. Dissatisfaction with things as they are, feeling powerless to influence one's destiny are two I can see. What are others?

Re: End of the world....

Posted: Mon Jan 02, 2012 9:10 pm
by Rozax
Alt text: "To compensate for this, I plan to spend 2013 doing nothing but talking about Mayans. My relationships with my friends and family may not fare well."

Re: End of the world....

Posted: Tue Jan 03, 2012 4:08 pm
by Rozax
In case we survive 2012, here's a list of other dates that predict our doom. :grin:

Rise & Shine

Posted: Tue Feb 28, 2012 7:51 am
by holley
A cultural web cradles us from birth
in strands of Maya so beguiling
that it is easy to snooze ones life away,
awakening only at dawn,
when death taps us on the shoulder
to say "rise and shine".


Posted: Thu Jun 07, 2012 11:27 am
by holley
Manifesto: The Mad Farmer Liberation Front
By Wendell Berry
(1934 - )

Love the quick profit, the annual raise,
vacation with pay. Want more
of everything ready-made. Be afraid
to know your neighbors and to die.
And you will have a window in your head.
Not even your future will be a mystery
any more. Your mind will be punched in a card
and shut away in a little drawer.
When they want you to buy something
they will call you. When they want you
to die for profit they will let you know.

So, friends, every day do something
that won't compute. Love the Lord.
Love the world. Work for nothing.
Take all that you have and be poor.
Love someone who does not deserve it.
Denounce the government and embrace
the flag. Hope to live in that free
republic for which it stands.
Give your approval to all you cannot
understand. Praise ignorance, for what man
has not encountered he has not destroyed.

Ask the questions that have no answers.
Invest in the millennium. Plant sequoias.
Say that your main crop is the forest
that you did not plant,
that you will not live to harvest.
Say that the leaves are harvested
when they have rotted into the mold.
Call that profit. Prophesy such returns.

Put your faith in the two inches of humus
that will build under the trees
every thousand years.
Listen to carrion - put your ear
close, and hear the faint chattering
of the songs that are to come.
Expect the end of the world. Laugh.
Laughter is immeasurable. Be joyful
though you have considered all the facts.
So long as women do not go cheap
for power, please women more than men.
Ask yourself: Will this satisfy
a woman satisfied to bear a child?
Will this disturb the sleep
of a woman near to giving birth?

Go with your love to the fields.
Lie down in the shade. Rest your head
in her lap. Swear allegiance
to what is nighest your thoughts.
As soon as the generals and the politicos
can predict the motions of your mind,
lose it. Leave it as a sign
to mark the false trail, the way
you didn't go. Be like the fox
who makes more tracks than necessary,
some in the wrong direction.
Practice resurrection.

Re: End of the world....

Posted: Tue Jun 12, 2012 11:34 pm
by EgoMagickian
Mmmm love Wendell Barry :-) He's so on point.

Re: End of the world....

Posted: Sat Aug 04, 2012 1:23 am
by holley
Will the US Really Experience a Violent Upheaval in 2020?
By Natalie Wolchover | – 16 hrs ago

Circa 1870, the North fought the South in the Civil War. Half a century later, around 1920, worker unrest, racial tensions and anti-Communist sentiment caused another nationwide upsurge of violence. Then, 50 years later, the Vietnam War and Civil Rights Movement triggered a third peak in violent political, social and racial conflict. Fifty years after that will be 2020. If history continues to repeat itself, we can expect a violent upheaval in the United States in a few years.
It sounds like pseudoscience, but it's a published theory. "My model suggests that the next [peak in violence] will be worse than the one in 1970 because demographic variables such as wages, standards of living and a number of measures of intra-elite confrontation are all much worse this time," said Peter Turchin, an ecologist, evolutionary biologist and mathematician at the University of Connecticut.
Turchin has led the development of a field of study called "cliodynamics," in which scientists attempt to find meaningful patterns in history. The endeavor flies in the face of the traditional study of history, which assumes the countless variables interacting within a society lead to chaotic fluctuations in outcomes like violence and social unrest. Massimo Pigliucci, a philosopher of science at CUNY-Lehman College, said most historians believe that "the factors at play are so many and so variable that there is little reason to expect quasi-regular cycles, or a unified theory to explain them."
But Turchin argues there is order in the chaos after all. [Infographic: Cycles Violence in the U.S.]
In the new study, Turchin, who reported his results in the July issue of the Journal of Peace Research, compiled historical data about violent incidents in U.S. history between 1780 and 2010, including riots, terrorism, assassinations and rampages. The data indicates that a cycle of violence repeats itself every 50 years in America, like a wave that peaks in every other generation. This short-term cycle is superimposed over another, longer-term oscillation that repeats every 200 to 300 years. The slower waves in violence can either augment or suppress the 50-year peaks, depending on how the two cycles overlap.
The longer cycle is "the one which we understand much better, and it is a universal feature of all complex societies," Turchin told Life's Little Mysteries. From the Roman Empire to medieval France to ancient China, scholars have noted that societies swing between 100-150 years of relative peace and 100-150 years of conflict, and then back again. Only some societies exhibit the shorter-term, and less subtle, 50-year-long cycles of violence along the way — the Roman Empire, for one, and if Turchin's theory is correct, the United States as well.
Why 50-year cycles? Turchin explained that a surge of violence begins in the same way as a forest fire: explosively. After a period of escalation followed by sustained violence, citizens begin to "yearn for the return of stability and an end to fighting," he wrote in his paper. The prevailing social mood swings toward stifling the violence at all costs, and those who directly experienced the civil violence maintain the peace for about a human generation — 20 or 30 years. But the stability doesn't last.
Eventually, "the conflict-scarred generation dies off or retires, and a new cohort arises, people who did not experience the horrors of civil war and are not immunized against it. If the long-term social forces that brought about the first outbreak of internal hostilities are still operating, then the society will slide into the second civil war," he wrote. "As a result, periods of intense conflict tend to recur with a period of roughly two generations (40–60 years)."
Peaks occurred around 1870, 1920 and 1970. Confounding this pattern, there was no peak of U.S. violence in the 1820s. In fact, historians call it the "era of good feelings." Turchin explained that social variables such as wages and employment were "really excellent at that time, so there was no reason for any violence to get going." The cycle was skipped. [Do Recessions Increase Violent Crimes?]
But we might not be so lucky this time around. If Turchin's model is right, then the current polarization and inequality in American society will come to a head in 2020. "After the last eight years or so, notice how the discourse in our political class has become fragmented. It's really unprecedented for the last 100 years. So basically by all measures, there are social pressures for instability that are much worse than 50 years ago."
Pigliucci, who writes a well-known blog on pseudoscience and skeptical thinking, says that although he believes Turchin is "moving in the right direction" by applying mathematical models to history, in this case he might be seeing patterns in random data. Violence and other forms of social unrest undoubtedly vary over time within any give society, Pigliucci said, but most historians would say these fluctuations are random.
Pigliucci isn't convinced that the 50-year cycle of violence Turchin has identified in U.S. history reflects more than just a random fluctuation. "The database is too short: the entire study covers the period 1780-2010, a mere 230 years," Pigliucci wrote in an email. "You can fit at most four 50-year peaks and two secular ones. I just don't see how one could reasonably exclude that the observed pattern is random. But of course we would have to wait a lot longer to collect new data and find out."
Only time will tell if the cycle of U.S. violence holds true, and another telltale peak — or lack thereof — is only a few years away.

Surfing the Apocalypse

Posted: Tue Oct 16, 2012 10:55 pm
by holley

Almost happened to us before......

Posted: Fri Oct 26, 2012 3:14 pm
by holley
How Human Beings Almost Vanished From Earth In 70,000 B.C.
October 22, 201212:33 PM

Robert Krulwich/NPR
Add all of us up, all 7 billion human beings on earth, and clumped together we weigh roughly 750 billion pounds. That, says Harvard biologist E.O. Wilson, is more than 100 times the biomass of any large animal that's ever walked the Earth. And we're still multiplying. Most demographers say we will hit 9 billion before we peak, and what happens then?

Well, we've waxed. So we can wane. Let's just hope we wane gently. Because once in our history, the world-wide population of human beings skidded so sharply we were down to roughly a thousand reproductive adults. One study says we hit as low as 40.

Forty? Come on, that can't be right. Well, the technical term is 40 "breeding pairs" (children not included). More likely there was a drastic dip and then 5,000 to 10,000 bedraggled Homo sapiens struggled together in pitiful little clumps hunting and gathering for thousands of years until, in the late Stone Age, we humans began to recover. But for a time there, says science writer Sam Kean, "We damn near went extinct."

I'd never heard of this almost-blinking-out. That's because I'd never heard of Toba, the "supervolcano." It's not a myth. While details may vary, Toba happened.

Toba, The Supervolcano

Once upon a time, says Sam, around 70,000 B.C., a volcano called Toba, on Sumatra, in Indonesia went off, blowing roughly 650 miles of vaporized rock into the air. It is the largest volcanic eruption we know of, dwarfing everything else...

Robert Krulwich/NPR
That eruption dropped roughly six centimeters of ash — the layer can still be seen on land — over all of South Asia, the Indian Ocean, the Arabian and South China Sea. According to the Volcanic Explosivity Index, the Toba eruption scored an "8", which translates to "mega-colossal" — that's two orders of magnitude greater than the largest volcanic eruption in historic times at Mount Tambora in Indonesia, which caused the 1816 "Year Without a Summer" in the northern hemisphere.

With so much ash, dust and vapor in the air, Sam Kean says it's a safe guess that Toba "dimmed the sun for six years, disrupted seasonal rains, choked off streams and scattered whole cubic miles of hot ash (imagine wading through a giant ashtray) across acres and acres of plants." Berries, fruits, trees, African game became scarce; early humans, living in East Africa just across the Indian Ocean from Mount Toba, probably starved, or at least, he says, "It's not hard to imagine the population plummeting."

Then — and this is more a conjectural, based on arguable evidence — an already cool Earth got colder. The world was having an ice age 70,000 years ago, and all that dust hanging in the atmosphere may have bounced warming sunshine back into space. Sam Kean writes "There's in fact evidence that the average temperature dropped 20-plus degrees in some spots," after which the great grassy plains of Africa may have shrunk way back, keeping the small bands of humans small and hungry for hundreds, if not thousands of more years.

So we almost vanished.

But now we're back.

It didn't happen right away. It took almost 200,000 years to reach our first billion (that was in 1804), but now we're on a fantastic growth spurt, to 3 billion by 1960, another billion almost every 13 years since then, till by October, 2011, we zipped past the 7 billion marker, says writer David Quammen, "like it was a "Welcome to Kansas" sign on the highway."

In his new book Spillover, Quamman writes:

We're unique in the history of mammals. We're unique in this history of vertebrates. The fossil record shows that no other species of large-bodied beast — above the size of an ant, say or an Antarctic krill — has ever achieved anything like such abundance as the abundance of humans on Earth right now.

But our looming weight makes us vulnerable, vulnerable to viruses that were once isolated deep in forests and mountains, but are now bumping into humans, vulnerable to climate change, vulnerable to armies fighting over scarce resources. The lesson of Toba the Supervolcano is that there is nothing inevitable about our domination of the world. With a little bad luck, we can go too.

We once almost did.

Radiolab regular Sam Kean's new book on genetics, The Violinist's Thumb, tells the story of Toba, the supervolcano, to explore how human genes record a "bottleneck" or a drastic narrowing of genetic diversity 70,000 years ago. David Quammen's new book Spillover is about people pushing into forests, swamps and places where viruses have been hiding. Those viruses are now beginning to cross over into horses, pigs, bats, birds and, inevitably, they threaten to "spillover" into us. For a virus, or bacteria, 7 billion potential hosts look like a fantastic opportunity.

Beginning of the end.....

Posted: Sat Dec 08, 2012 8:34 am
by holley
SAN FRANCISCO — Humans drive trillions of miles in cars, clear-cut forests for agriculture and create vast landfills teeming with tin cans, soda bottles and other detritus of industrialization. There's no doubt that humans have radically reshaped the planet, and those changes leave traces in the Earth's geological record.
At the annual meeting of the American Geophysical Union this week, geologists are grappling with how to define the boundaries of that human-centered geologic era, referred to as the Anthropocene. Despite our dramatic impact on the planet, defining our era has proven a difficult task.
"If it's to be a geological period, it has to be visible in the geological record," said Anthony Brown, a researcher at the University of Southampton in the United Kingdom, who is trying to define the boundary.
Because geology looks at the deep past, such questions would normally be examined in 100,000, even 1 million years' time, he said.
"In the absence of time travel, we have to work out whether we really do have enough around to define a new geological period."
Shifting boundary
In one possible way of demarcating the boundary between natural geologic eras and the human-shaped period, scientists would look at how agriculture changes sediments, Brown told LiveScience.
For instance, when farmers clear-cut forests and plant crops, they change how sediments and runoff wash into the local rivers, often creating a thick layer of silty, sandy clay on the flood plain, Brown said. [Top 10 Ways to Destroy Earth]
But using such geologic clues to date the Anthropocene era runs into a problem: agriculture began at different times around the globe. Some areas, such as certain pockets in Africa, may not have had intensive agriculture until recently.
Alternatively chemical deposits could date the boundary between human and natural geologic eras. For instance, widespread use of leaded gasoline and paint has left high levels of lead in soils throughout the world, said Michael Kruge, a researcher at Montclair State University in New Jersey. Polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (PAH) could also serve as markers. These are formed from combustion in natural wildfires, but also come largely from the burning of fossil fuels.
"In the middle of the 20th century, you see a big spike in these compounds in sediment," Kruge said in a press conference.
Using those measures, the Anthropocene era would begin around industrialization, thousands of years after humans began reshaping the planet with agriculture.
Yet another proposal would peg the time of the Anthropocene's birth to the mass movement of soil, or the accumulation of minerals from coal burning, cement production for construction, or the massive use of nitrogen fertilizers. That would date the Anthropocene to the sharp uptick in the production of these chemicals after World War II.
Other scientists hope to date the Anthropocene's onset using modern-day fossils, for instance, layers and layers of plastic soda bottles and tin cans piling up in landfills.
All of these approaches face a challenge, however: combining human-caused changes with natural, global variations that normally demarcate different geologic time periods. For instance, our current geologic time period, the Holocene Epoch, governs our climate and the extent of our glaciers, and is dictated by eccentricities in the Earth's orbit (something humans' haven't yet managed to alter). Since the Earth's orbit isn't going to change any time soon, the Anthropocene would somehow need to overlap with the Holocene.
"Nobody believes that the astronomical cycle, the 100,000-year cycle that we're in, is suddenly coming to an end," Brown said. "We have to combine the anthropogenic with the natural variability in the climate system. It is a question that geologists never had to face before."

Re: End of the world....

Posted: Sun Dec 16, 2012 5:25 pm
by holley
Swirling with lunacy and paranoia, the theories warn of mayhem and cataclysm. They fill books and websites, inspiring hand-wringing among gullible people. The claim: The world is ending on Friday, the final chapter in an ancient Mayan prophecy carved into stone calendars thousands of years ago.
The stories are a jumble, based on everything from New Age mysticism to biblical “end times.” In some accounts, a giant secret planet is about to slam into Earth, or a solar storm will wipe out the human race. None has any basis in fact, scientists say, but a poll this summer found 12 percent of Americans are worried. Some teenagers have even talked of suicide.

As Dec. 21, 2012, draws near, however, the U.S. government has a secret weapon to hold back the tidal wave of misinformation and pseudoscientific quackery: a bespectacled 72-year-old scientist, often clad in a rumpled cardigan, sitting in a two-storey office building off Highway 101 in Mountain View, Calif.

David Morrison is Kryptonite for the world’s conspiracy craziness. A Harvard-trained astrophysicist who studied under Carl Sagan, Morrison is the senior scientist at the Astrobiology Institute at NASA Ames Research Center. He has worked on many of America’s top space missions, from Mariner to Voyager to Galileo, and published more than 155 technical papers and a dozen books on astronomy.

These days he has emerged as NASA’s most prominent Debunker of Doomsday, answering questions from people all over the world on his website, giving speeches and talking to the media. While some of his colleagues wonder if he’s wasting his time, Morrison holds out hope that reason and facts can win out, even in an age of Internet hoaxes and hype.

“I got my first doomsday question four years ago and wondered what the heck it was,” he said. “Perhaps I made the mistake of answering them, but since then I’ve gotten a little over 2,000 emails. I got 200 last weekend.”

Five days a week, Morrison calmly and logically explains to the masses through his “Ask an Astrobiologist” website why our days are not numbered.

VIDEO:Ask an Astrobiologist on Vimeo

One of the most common rumours is of a mysterious planet named Nibiru hiding behind the sun, ready to slam into Earth.

“Impossible,” Morrison said. “Earth goes around the sun. We see all sides of the sun. We’d see it.”

And he adds, if a planet were about to hit Earth in a few days, we’d really see it. “It would look like the moon in the sky,” he said. “You’d see it in the daytime. You wouldn’t have to ask the government.”

Kamikaze comets or asteroids? The more than 100,000 professional and amateur astronomers around the world would see those, too, years before they got close to us, he said.

Solar flares? Sure, the sun has pulses and storms, which sometimes can disrupt electronics on Earth.

“That’s one of the few things here that is real,” Morrison said. “We know the sun has an activity cycle every 11 years. The peak is late next spring. There will be flares. But they don’t hurt us. This cycle the flares are weaker than last time.”

In recent months, Morrison has appeared in web videos on NASA’s site, which he says is getting more clicks on doomsday topics than any issue except the Mars rover mission.

Although many claims are spawned by everything from religious zealotry to hucksters selling books, he said, there is a serious side.

“I get questions from people saying, ‘I’m 11 years old, and I can’t sleep, I can’t eat.’ I have had kids saying they are considering suicide, mothers emailing me saying they are considering killing their children before the end of times.”

Andrew Fraknoi, chairman of the astronomy department at Foothill College in Los Altos Hills, Calif., said Morrison’s work is heroic.

“He has taken on a thankless task,” said Fraknoi, who also is speaking out to debunk doomsday fears. “He feels that we as scientists have an obligation to respond, to reassure the public and to give the public the fact-based view of the universe. That is so absent from so many realms of our social discourse today.”

The latest angst, say archaeologists and experts on Mayan culture, is based on a big misunderstanding. The Maya, whose civilization flourished in Mexico and Guatemala from 2000 B.C. to 1000 A.D., built pyramids and observatories. Their calendar was based on 394-year cycles called baktuns. The 13th of those cycles since the date of the Mayan creation story 5,126 years ago ends Friday.

But that doesn’t mean they thought the world was going to end, said Rosemary Joyce, a professor of anthropology at University of California-Berkeley.

“It’s not the end of the calendar,” Joyce said. “It’s the end of a cycle. It rolls over, like an odometer.”

Joyce said the fears began generations ago, when scholars who hadn’t yet learned how to read Mayan hieroglyphics mistakenly concluded that they were describing mystical prophecies. New Age activists embraced the ideas in the 1960s and 1970s, and today the misread history has blended with “end times” fantasies and spread on the Internet. The 2009 disaster movie “2012,” featuring floods, massive earthquakes and other computer-generated mayhem, further put a spotlight on the issue.

Several million people of Maya heritage are still around today. They don’t believe the world is ending, said Alberto Perez, program director at the Maya Association of the San Francisco Bay Area.

“I have the sense that it bothers people in our community that we are perceived in this almost-negative way, like we predicted the end of the world,” he said. “We didn’t. We’re worried about day-to-day things: jobs, education, immigration, health care.”

Many people who know NASA’s Morrison are wondering what he’ll do when we wake up Dec. 22 and Earth is still here. Will he pen a grand “I told you so”?

“No,” he said with a chuckle. “I’m going to stop answering questions about this. I’m worn out.”

San Jose Mercury News

Re: End of the world....

Posted: Wed Dec 19, 2012 7:30 am
by pueppi
Need an interactive Mayan calandar widget? ... 3565.flash --- I bet someone will get a kick out of this.


Believers prepare......

Posted: Thu Dec 20, 2012 6:50 pm
by holley
:smt006 "Hundreds of people across the world have been preparing for what they believe will be the end of the world on 21 December.

The date is the apparent end of the "long count" calendar of the ancient Mayan civilisation.

Believers have gathered in Mexico near Mayan ruins, and in other supposedly spiritual places around the world.

Chinese police have arrested hundreds of members of a Christian group who apparently believe the prophecy.

Last year, experts said a new reading of the calendar revealed that it did not in fact predict the apocalypse.

Many believe the date in fact marks the start of a new era in the calendar.

However, among some the date is still being taken as heralding the end of the world.

Magical sites
Hundreds of spiritualists gathered in the city of Merida in Mexico, about an hour and a half from the Mayan ruins of Chichen Itza.

One spot thought by some to destined to escape the end of the world is the mountain of Bugarach in southern France.

However, those preparing for the end of the world were reported to be far outnumbered by journalists.

The Turkish town of Sirince, another site reputed to be safe from the end of the world, saw similar scenes on Thursday.

Hundreds of reporters were wandering aimlessly around the beautiful town of 570 inhabitants, the AFP news agency reported.

However, hotels around the Rtanj mountain in Serbia, a site rumoured to have magical powers, were booked out for the big date.

"I do not really believe that the end of the world is coming, but it is nice to be here in case something unusual happens," Darko, a 28-year-old designer visiting from Belgrade, told AFP.

'Evil cult'
In China, police have arrested almost 1,000 members of a Christian group which has predicted that Friday will usher in three days of darkness.

The group, called Almighty God, apparently urged its members to overthrow communism.

State media terms Almighty God an "evil cult", the same description it applies to the banned Falun Gong group.

The belief has gained considerable popularity in China, where the film 2012 was a box office hit.

A farmer in Hebei province, Liu Qiyuan - not a follower of Almighty God - has built seven survival pods which can contain 14 people each.

The pods, made of fibreglass, float on water and can survive storms.

Mr Liu told the AFP news agency: "If there really is some kind of apocalypse then you could say I've made a contribution to the survival of humanity."

To calm anxieties, police in Beijing have posted an online notice telling people that "the so-called end of the world is a rumour".

BBC News

Re: End of the world....

Posted: Fri Dec 21, 2012 5:13 am
by pueppi
I'm still here (!) ... *waves* :smt006

Love this *funny* from a weather channel:


What a nightmare!

Posted: Sat Mar 23, 2013 5:08 pm
by holley

Human Extinction Warning From Oxford

Posted: Wed Apr 24, 2013 7:22 pm
by holley

Humanity getting verrry close to extinction

Posted: Fri Oct 04, 2013 7:17 pm
by holley

Re: Humanity getting verrry close to extinction

Posted: Sat Oct 05, 2013 10:53 am
by pueppi
"Humanity Is Getting Verrrrrrry Close to Extinction" - I'm not sure that is a bad thing.

Re: End of the world....

Posted: Sun Oct 06, 2013 10:11 am
by holley
People make up "end of the world" stories like there's no tomorrow.....

Re: End of the world....

Posted: Sun Oct 06, 2013 4:34 pm
by pueppi
holley wrote:People make up "end of the world" stories like there's no tomorrow.....

OK. That's just funny!

I read it, didn't quite get it, signed out. <insert a period of time here> .......... GOT IT........... Had to sign back in to say so. Thanks for the laugh. :lol:

Extinct in 100 yrs.

Posted: Tue Nov 12, 2013 7:01 pm
by holley
- Eminent Australian scientist Professor Frank Fenner, who helped to wipe out smallpox, predicts humans will probably be extinct within 100 years, because of overpopulation, environmental destruction and climate change.
Fenner said that climate change is only at its beginning, but is likely to be the cause of our extinction. “We’ll undergo the same fate as the people on Easter Island,” he said. More people means fewer resources, and Fenner predicts “there will be a lot more wars over food.”
Easter Island is famous for its massive stone statues. Polynesian people settled there, in what was then a pristine tropical island, around the middle of the first millennium AD. The population grew slowly at first and then exploded. As the population grew the forests were wiped out and all the tree animals became extinct, both with devastating consequences. After about 1600 the civilization began to collapse, and had virtually disappeared by the mid-19th century. Evolutionary biologist Jared Diamond said the parallels between what happened on Easter Island and what is occurring today on the planet as a whole are “chillingly obvious.”
While many scientists are also pessimistic, others are more optimistic. Among the latter is a colleague of Professor Fenner, retired professor Stephen Boyden, who said he still hopes awareness of the problems will rise and the required revolutionary changes will be made to achieve ecological sustainability. “While there's a glimmer of hope, it's worth working to solve the problem. We have the scientific knowledge to do it but we don't have the political will,” Boyden said.

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