As human consciousness slowly developed over its evolutionary period, a high level of perception was the result but there remained a deficiency. That level of perception was incomplete. Humans were left unable to comprehend certain realities. One was the importance of their relationship to the biosphere of the planet. Within that biosphere there is a layer that allows all life to exist. Another; it did not provide comprehension of the importance of their relationship to planetary non-life. The Abrahamic religions in their time attempted to address these issues. Care for the earth as a provider, care for each other, and an Apocalypse at the end well served their purpose. We now find that this religious understanding was far too simplistic and that the Abrahamic simplicity is coming back to haunt us. The reality is that we are facing the possibility of a Sixth Extinction. It is a reality of our own doing. Planet Earth is under siege. Judaism, Christianity and Islam urgently need to address this human consciousness deficit issue. The time has come for them come together with an intra religious configuration wherein all life and non-life on Planet Earth is able to find its universal meaning.
The following essay attempts to address this issue.
Biosphere” is being used in this essay to define the relatively thin layer of the planet’s air and water dimension that can support life. It envelops the planet, extending down to the deepest layers of soils and ocean trenches and up to the highest oxygenated level. Metaphorically speaking, if you took a soccer ball and painted it with a thick coat of varnish, the depth of that coat would be in the same proportion to the ball as the biosphere depth is to Planet Earth.
As it is with the varnish on the soccer ball that envelopment is relatively dimensionally thin. Within a fraction of its thinness human life is able to exist. That human habitable fraction begins at sea level and extends upward a few thousand feet above sea level. In it human life biologically began to form about two billion years ago. Humans today are born and live out their lives in this same fraction of the biosphere. Other forms of life also exist in this fraction: squirrels, bears, cockroaches, fish, and the list goes on.
We know that we and they are in a sense at one with each other in our shared common biosphere niche. Also, we know that we and they live in a state of complete biological niche dependency. There is, however, one difference. We possess a level of consciousness they do not have. It is the most noteworthy difference. Otherwise we are much the same; totally the same insofar as our dependency on our common niche. Also we are the same as to our need to adjust as change occurs in our common niche. Evolutionary change in our/their niche and life adjustment to it is a constant. It has allowed us to be what we are today.
Such adjustment generally occurs slowly, by way of adaptation to the surrounding environment. It normally takes place in multiples of many hundreds or thousands or even millions of years. Adjustment can however come quickly. Darwin’s Galapagos bird beaks became stronger relatively quickly as the nut shells became harder. This showed that change can occur relatively quickly. We also know that adaptability is not always possible. Then a species will die out.
We also know the biosphere change can come quickly. The Permian Triassic mass extinction 252 million years ago and the Cretaceous extinction 66 million years ago are two examples of rapid biosphere change without adaptability. The Cretaceous came from a meteorite and resulted in low biosphere temperatures and the Permian Triassic came from high temperatures. Both were accompanied by atmospheric change so sudden and extremes so sudden as to extinguish a very large percentage of planetary life in a relatively short period of time. When such rapid biosphere change does occur, those species that inhabit precisely bounded biological niches are the first to be affected. They die out quickly. Others follow.
This brings us to a question in our Age and the theme of this essay. Are we now facing the possibility of another sudden change? And if we are, why are we not concerned? There is ample evidence at hand that we are about to face a change. For one, there is the die out of all planetary non-human life. That die out is now accelerating on land and in the oceans. As we have expanded in numbers throughout the planet, we have destroyed every other form of life in our path.
Another noticeable indicator that could affect our continued existence is more recent. It is seen in the biosphere change coming from excessive amounts of coal, oil and gas burned since the beginning of the Industrial Revolution. Enormous amounts of CO2 are being added to the earth’s biosphere. At the same time deforestation is limiting the amount of CO2 being absorbed back. Rising global temperatures are the result. And as more CO2 is added, there could be acceleration.
The possibility of acceleration has been well known in the scientific community for some time. Back in 1972, the World Bank warned that resultant high temperatures from CO2 could trigger what is called a Methane Hydrate Feedback Loop in the Arctic area. This is already beginning as Arctic temperatures dramatically rise. (Recent Arctic temperatures have been the highest in recorded history)
So here is the question. Are we about to face a test of our biosphere vulnerability? And if we are, why is there no outcry? This essay attempts to give an answer. The difficulty comes from a deficiency in our human consciousness developed over our evolutionary period, a consciousness providing a high level of perception, but with a major flaw. It is a consciousness unable to comprehend ecological planetary life dependency on the thin niche in the biosphere that has allowed us and other life on Planet Earth to be and have meaning.