Nature is the largest investor in all of us, making it one of our key shareholders alongside us and our parents. And nature has equally invested itself in all what it has created, not just us humans. The collective value of what nature has created is immeasurable, and it’s economic value is also immense.
Take for example the Great Barrier Reef, which has an estimated annual contribution of US$ 5.7 billion to the Australian economy supporting 69,000 jobs. Another good example will be the economic value of natural land-based assets in the Americas, which stands at over US$24 trillion per year. In short, the economic activities underpinned by nature is estimated to be over US$ 125 trillion annually.
The way I see it is, by virtue of nature’s investment in us and all of its creation, we have become a shareholder in nature also. So there is a two way relationship. Nature is invested in us and we are invested in nature. But what we continue to conveniently forget is that, we are not the only shareholders in nature, and if we continue to exercise our privileges unanimously over nature by trying to take complete ownership over it as a shareholder then nature will find a way to dilute our shareholding. It has happened before, and most likely it will happen again.
I have curiously studied the rise and fall of ancient human civilisations along with the stories of other species that went extinct. And what I have realised is that nature has this uncanny way of balancing things. For example, dominant species somehow find a way became a victim of their own success. And yes at times their demise is fortified by external events that are beyond anyone’s control.
Take for example the climate change caused by humans, while there is no doubt that scientists rightly attribute the global warming trend observed since the mid-20th century to the human expansion of the “greenhouse effect “ there are also external events that can have a multiplier effect triggering a total collapse.
It is expected that climate change will trigger more volatile weather resulting in frequent flooding etc but so will the natural events, exacerbating the problem. According to a recent study done by NASA, the scientists estimate that by 2030 the intensity of Moon’s wobble will be significant enough to create large scale flooding across the planet creating serious problems for the low-lying cities, and potentially wiping them out.
Based on what we know so far more than 99% of all organisms that have ever lived on planet Earth are now extinct. The natural cycle is such that as new species evolve to fit ever changing ecological niches, the older species fade away. The rate of extinction is never constant. According to the best estimate, in the last 500 million years, close to 90% of all species living on earth have disappeared in what would classify as a geological blink of an eye in catastrophes, otherwise referred to as mass extinction events. Some of us may want to escape that event by leaving the planet, and establishing a new habitat for humans in the outer space. Let us hope they succeed.
But by factoring all of this into my projection, I am starting to wonder if within150-years, through a combination of external factors as well as internal turmoil within the modern human society, we will enter an irreversible trigger event that may lead to the collapse of the modern human civilisation as we have come to know it. I must say there are strong historical evidence to support this line of thinking.
So one could rightly argue that, there is a very real chance that our way of life may eventually collapse. The design of our modern society along with the economy and financial market as well as our governance structure may all collapse simultaneously under continuous pressure . It has happened before bringing down various ancient human civilisation. And then perhaps the next generation of humans will have to restart a new civilisation? I would like to emphasise that, by no means this is a scare mongering or a fictional tale, because there are ample empirical evidence available for anyone to make such assumptions.
I would argue that in some ways, we have become a victim of our own success. But modern humanity society isn’t prepared for a drastic change, and I am of the opinion that an irreversible change is already on the horizon.
As I see it, the covid-19 pandemic was a small preview of what’s coming our way, and we aren’t prepared. We have no faith in our system, we no longer have any trust in our governments, or the media, we continue to struggle to trust each other. And above all the hate is on the rise, and the list goes on.
As a collective we are not ready to face the challenge of climate change, income inequality, disfranchised voters who will feel left out along with an economy that’s leaving most people behind. Also I doubt that a protest by humans can stop the moon’s wobble getting more intense, or the moon will care if people don’t believe the study showing how the wobble is getting more intense.
The sacrifices that our ancestors made as their investment in the future of modern day society did deliver results. And we have all benefitted from it. But those accomplishments are starting to erode because most of us aren’t willing to invest in the future of the society, and consolidate those achievements. Just look at where we are today as a society.
I have no doubt that going forward, we are going to be facing challenges on many different fronts, and some of these challenges will be beyond our control. We won’t be able to protest our way of it, or deny it as some conspiracy theory. My fear is that we will be caught unprepared. And why do I said that? Well! for me the lesson is in the immediate aftermath of the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic. I have realised that, as a society, we aren’t really prepared, both mentally and physically for types of changes coming our way. And that will be our downfall.
Also in my view, we are nearing the design limit of all our ideas, be it the religious franchise that we follow, our cultures, nation states along with the economic infrastructure or the financial markets. The cracks are visible everywhere and it is getting wider.