If are a regular reader of our Climate Mama Blog, you know that the premise behind our blog and website is to look at how and why humans are causing our climate to change. And ultimately, what we can do to correct some of the mistakes we have been making. The earth has merrily evolved over the last, approximately 4.5 billion years, in large part without any help from us, as we humans have taken up residence in the last “blink of an eye.” The scary part is the real changes we have been able to wrought on our planet in this short time frame. This post is about how “time flies” for our planet, and how we, as a human species, could come and go, and our planet could continue along on its journey, recovering from the “blip” that was the human species, with us being the only collateral damage.
As we age, we all marvel at how time seems to “fly by.” As we watch our children recount time, they can remember every moment that happened in the last years of their lives, with clarity and vividness. Ask me what happened yesterday, I might be challenged, ask about last year, forget about it. All I know is that as birthdays come and go, I continue to wonder where all the years have gone.
Our planet is “roughly” 4.5 billion years old, it has been aging, evolving and changing, over its long history. But if you, like I, have difficulty wondering where the last day, week or year went, it may be hard to conceive of what 4.5 billion years would be like, let alone how all the major geological events fit in to this long time continuum. In a book by Murray Coppold and Wayne Powell, called “A Geoscience Guide to The Burgess Shale”, they offer a “Compression of Time” which I think clearly helps put into place, our real importance on our planet earth. Lets take one calendar year and put the history of the earth into that period.
January 1 – the Earth is formed
March 20 – Simple cellular life appears
July 22 – Atmospheric oxygen becomes abundant
November 17- the oldest known plant fossil remains turn up
November 28 – First land plants appear
December 21-27 Dinosaurs are present and then gone
December 31, 9:07pm – Ancestral Man makes an appearance
December 31, 11:45pm – Homo sapiens, we arrive!
Welcome to New Years Eve and 15 minutes ‘till the “ball drops.” The upside for all of us concerned about the future of the earth and how we as human beings are helping to destroy it is, don’t worry, time flies! The Earth will survive, the larger question is will the human race, and ultimately will the earth care one way or another if we do or we don’t?