Actually, argues Anthony Doerr in this article in the Morning News, we are all whale-killers. We have been urged for more than a generation to stop what we're doing and save the Earth. Yet, judging by the current climate and every H.G. Wells-inspired geoengineering project, maybe it's time to stop worrying about the whales and start praying for Homo sapiens' imminent extinction.
Earth is going to be fine. It has seen five mass extinctions before. In the doozy of all of them -- an event geologists call the Permian-Triassic extinction -- as many as 90 percent of all species vanished. Ninety percent! Life on our planet -- even a temporarily scarred, scorched, depleted, desertified, fuming Earth -- will carry on without us. Eventually the ice caps will resolidify; new species will arise, the forests will teem once more.
With every year that passes, Earth becomes a little more like a gorgeous, huge, and mismanaged zoo. It's Homo sapiens we need to worry about. Some geologists have taken to calling the past 8,000 years or so the Anthropocene Period -- a time when we've burned coal, impounded rivers, and reconfigured ecosystems. And now, in our lifetimes, we're learning that perhaps this period is untenable, and like billions of species before us, we are not immune to extinction.
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