In our ongoing quest to save the environment, we recently published a guide that outlined 10 key ways to identify a Climate Denier. On the list was the notion that a person deciding to remain alive is a clear sign that one is denying the facts about the current climate catastrophe, or are, at the very least, ‘all talk’ when it comes to their claims about ‘doing their part to make a difference.’
The New York Times has just published an article backing up this point. In the article ‘Would Human Extinction be a Tragedy?‘ Todd May, a Clemson philosophy professor, makes the case that the entire human species should ‘take the easy way out’ for the betterment of the planet.
So, Would Human Extinction Really Be That Bad?
That all depends…
Needless to say, we’ve come across this tired idea before. It’s a common theme used by environmentalists. This dehumanizing idea underlies most of the green movement: ‘If only there were no people, everything would be fine.’ Following this line of thought has led to push towards veganism, people choosing to wear clothes and sleep in bedsheets of recycled plastic, people choosing not to procreate, communism, and so on.
But the argument isn’t wrong, per se. Probably, the world itself would be better without people, at least in the short term. And people are just a blip in the timeline of the planet. What do they really matter? What do all our daily hopes and dreams, loves and foibles really accomplish, in the grand scheme?
Pretty much nothing. So who cares, right? Don’t have kids. Let the species fizzle out. The animals will thank you.
You Die. Animals Love You. At least for now…
The problem with this argument is that if you look at it even more closely, you have to also ask: ‘Does the planet really matter?’
And the answer is no, of course it doesn’t’ In the scope of an infinite universe, the planet is a meaningless speck. Someday it will be swallowed up by an expanding, dying sun. It will be gone. The sun will go out. Infinite other worlds will be out there, doing their thing, and will not so much as notice. And our galaxy will collapse upon itself, or dissipate, or get sucked into a black hole, and we really have no idea what that will be like.
The Actual Meaning of Life, Revealed!
With this finite timeline in mind, the only thing that matters is leaving the planet. It’s the only way to chase immortality. The only meaning to strive for is expanding our context to other worlds, in other systems. In this scenario, the only thing that matters is human life. None of the other animals are going to get us off this rock. And the lucky ones will get to come with us, preserved beyond Earth’s finite timeline as DNA samples on colonizing seed-ships, chasing infinity on newly found Earths.
Will we screw up those planets too?
Maybe some of them.
But maybe not all. Maybe we learn, get better. And maybe we bring beauty, love, peace, art with us. Because those things have value. And because no one else is going to.
YOU SAY THE DOLPHINS ARE SO SMART? DO YOU REALLY THINK THEY ARE WORKING ON THE PROBLEM OF INTERSTELLAR TRAVEL?
YOU’RE WRONG! THEY’RE JUST HAVING FUN SWIMMING NEXT TO BOATS AND CATCHING FISH! YOU CAN’T COUNT ON THEM TO SAVE YOU! YOU HAVE TO SAVE YOURSELF!