I’ve long said that climate change is important but that we’ve got even bigger problems, what researchers are now calling ‘biological annihilation’, a term from a recent study that reveals that we have lost billions of populations of animals in recent decades. It all boils down to human overconsumption.
Wildlife is dying out due to habitat destruction, overhunting, toxic pollution, invasion by alien species and climate change. But the ultimate cause of all of these factors is “human overpopulation and continued population growth, and overconsumption, especially by the rich.”
To adequately address the issue will require the human species to do two things that we’ve never been able to successfully pull off:
1) cooperate together as a human family, a species now spanning over 7 billion and
2) give up on our craving to consume more than we need
But these are both spiritual issues (I would argue) that require a seismic shift in both our perception and in the way in which we relate to our inner desires and cravings. Environmental activists who care deeply about the non-human world tend to be fairly apocalyptic. The term “game over” pretty much sums it up for them, and as a former (and still part time) Bible junkie it’s hard for me not to see the parallels with the Old Testament prophets, only this time the entire planet hangs in the balance.
It isn’t hard to see why the biblical prophets more or less went crazy, feeling the weight of the world, knowing that they were more or less helpless in the face of the looming destruction. They raged, they wept, they pleaded, and they lived and prophesied on the margins.
Also see this concise op-ed by Paul Ehrlich (one of the scientists who brought over-consumption and over-population into the public light back some fifty years ago): You don’t need a scientist to know what’s causing the sixth mass extinction