Are You a Dinosaur? | Find Out Here

Cast your mind back sixty-five million years.

Most of the dinosaurs were going about their daily lives – hanging out at the beach, shopping on their dPads, meeting friends for drinks and a barbecue. A group of stegosauri played tennis all that summer; T. Rex performed to packed houses twice nightly; there was a general mood of optimism among the brontosauri (they were tall and thought they could see further than anyone else). For some, material prosperity had never been greater: luxury pads; fast cars; trophy spouses. For others, working in the sweatshops and living in the slums fenced off from Jurassic Playland, life was nasty, brutish and short.

Dinosaurs

Did you see that?

The dinosaurs had no natural enemies (except, of course, each other). They had conquered the world millions of years before and remained its undisputed rulers. There was nothing to make anyone believe this would ever change. Some intellectual types bemoaned the hedonism and frivolity of dinosaur society – ‘Live now, pay later, Diners Club …’ – but ignorance is bliss, and all most reptiles wanted was to enjoy themselves.

Then a strange, bright object appeared in the sky. Few of the dinosaurs looked up and wondered what it was. Yet soon after it hit the Gulf of Mexico, there were no more dinosaurs left alive. A whole civilization was wiped out, including fast food restaurants. The mammals who witnessed this phenomenon called it the Fifth Great Extinction.

We human beings, of course, are entirely dissimilar to dinosaurs. We have greater reasoning powers. We can think of the future, foresee problems and take avoiding action. When trouble looms, we do something about it. Don’t we?

Here’s what we know:

  • The previous four Great Extinctions were caused by climate change, ice ages, volcanoes – a familiar roll call.
  • Currently, the Earth’s species extinction rate is anywhere from one hundred to one thousand times higher than normal – and that’s only the animals we know about.
  • Three quarters of animal species could be extinct within several human lifetimes.
  • We only have ourselves to blame: monocultural agriculture, habitat destruction, pollution – the great human technosphere.

Nobody knows whether or not humanity can survive this rate of loss. And that’s not taking into account all the other consequences of climate change. Some of these consequences tip over pretty fast once they get going. And they have got going.

Scientists are already beginning to talk about the Sixth Great Extinction. Some believe it to be well underway. For many human beings, normal life is pretty ugly. The coming years will see that ugliness spread like a dark stain across our bright glittering world.

It is highly possible that it is too late to do anything about all this. But if we are finally to rouse ourselves, hadn’t we better hurry just like anything?

Does humanity deserve to survive? Are you a dinosaur or a human being?

Tyrannousaurus

Going out like a dinosaur.

 

 

 

 

6 Comments

  1. I read Elizabeth Kolbert’s book The Sixth Extinction: An Unnatural History and have her Field Notes from a Catastrophe in my stack of books to read this year, along with This Changes Everything by Naomi Klein. I worry that so many of us are dinosaurs that we may not be able to make the collective changes required to save life as we know it on this beautiful planet of ours, but each of us must do what we can. Thanks for making this a topic on your blog. We can’t talk about it enough!

    • Thank you, Robert and Ginger. I am extremely pessimistic about all this. So much of the extraordinary rate of extinction is linked not only to what we do to our planet, but also to what we do to each other. In other words, climate, environment, global injustice and blinkered economic and political ideologies all combine to produce this race to catastrophe. We must all do our best, but the odds are not in our favour and are worsening all the time.

  2. If Darwin’s theory is correct we are currently operating on instincts that are no longer an advantage to our survival – and the dinosaur, at least as far as we know, did not have the advantage of an evolved cerebral cortex capable of the kind of insight that allows humans to reason out a sense of morality designed to cope with the disadvantage of instinctive behavior. A cerebral cortex would not have been an advantage unless the dinosaurs had an advanced technology capable of predicting the arrival of the asteroid and destroying it before it entered Earth’s atmosphere.

    Nope.

    Humans knew this was coming and we know that we are destroying our planet and the majority of us prefer to rally around lies. Not only is that stupid; it’s willfully stupid. It is a refusal to use the only tool we have for coping with the part of us that remains an egocentric beast that sees the world and the people around it only in terms what it can take.

    The dinosaurs were undone by an unhappy event over which they had no control. Everything that is going on with our climate today was predicted over fifty years ago. The fact that we are still behaving as if man-made climate change is open to debate means that
    the ruling elite is too stupid to lead and the people they lead are too stupid to depose their leaders. Therefore we are killing ourselves.

    We’re not dinosaurs. We are intelligent hominids. But we’re not intelligent enough …

  3. Yes, humankind needs to get its head out of the sand of political power struggles, and self-destruction by weapons and luxury seeking, take a deep breath, look around, slow down, and learn to live gently.

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