Agent Smith: I’d like to share a revelation during my time here. It came to me when I tried to classify your species. I realized that you’re not actually mammals. Every mammal on this planet instinctively develops a natural equilibrium with the surrounding environment but you humans do not. You move to an area and you multiply and multiply until every natural resource is consumed. The only way you can survive is to spread to another area. There is another organism on this planet that follows the same pattern. Do you know what it is? A virus. Human beings are a disease, a cancer of this planet. You are a plague, and we are the cure.
The above quote is from the famous Wachowskis movie The Matrix (1999). Smith, an “agent” computer program teaches Morpheus, a human who has freed himself from the “Matrix”, a computer simulation of the world as it seems to be in 1999.
A new study published today in The Lancet illustrates how humans destroy the environment and themselves just by pollution. The study speaks of 9 million premature deaths in 2015 due to pollution. Pollution disproportionately kills the poor and vulnerable.
Together with soon uncontrollable climate change looming and a renewed interest in nuclear weapons, the prospect for human survival seems dire. There appears to be no world leaders around who have the intellectual capacities of inspiring people for working against imminent threats for extinction.
In their comments on the above pollution study, editors of The Lancet are quite optimistic, though: “Pollution is a winnable battle.”
This year’s annual UN Environment Assembly will convene in Nairobi, Kenya, on Dec 4–6, 2017. Ministers of Environment from member states, alongside civil society and the private sector, will be in attendance. For the first time, the overarching conference theme is ‘Towards a Pollution-Free Planet’. Recommendations from this Lancet Commission are under consideration, and it is hoped that the outcomes will prioritise pollution from a health perspective.
Humans have identified existential threats for some time. However, only recently the minute hands of the Doomsday Clock had been set at 2 1/2 minutes before midnight.
20 October 2017 @ 5:37 am.
Last modified October 20, 2017.