Tag Archives: Road trip

Saving ourselves

I thought the photograph with last week’s blog [see ‘Happy New Year‘ on December 29th, 2021] might cause some comments.  It was taken during a road trip in the USA as we were heading west on the Interstate 90, just west of Murdo in South Dakota, on our way to Yellowstone National Park from Michigan where we lived for nearly a decade.  It shows a skeleton dinosaur being led on a leash by a skeleton human.  As a genus, non-avian dinosaurs existed for about 150 million years and the last one died about 66 million years ago. Our genus, Homo, has only been around for about 2.5 million years so there was never an overlap with dinosaurs. Our species, Homo Sapiens have only been around for about the last 200,000 years. These time-spans are not long relative to the age of the oldest rocks on the planet, which have been estimated to be 4.6 billion years old, and implies that the Earth survived perfectly well without dinosaurs and humans for billions years.  We have thrived during an epoch, the Holocene, during which the climate has been relatively stable compared to the previous epoch, the Pleistocene. However, if we cannot resolve the existential threats facing our species then it is likely that, like non-avian dinosaurs, we will only exist as skeletons in the future and the planet will adapt to existence without us.  Perhaps the emphasis of many campaigns associated with climate change should shift from saving the planet to saving ourselves – we might be more focussed on coming together to address the selfish challenge.

Reference:

Helen Gordon, Notes from Deep Time, London: Profile Books, 2021.