"We're all going to die: we've taken too long to come up with the answer, and like the dinosaurs, we will all die."
Those are the words I uttered to my littlest sister Bella*, as we sat in the library, writing in our respective notebooks.
"What? When?!" Was her response.
"I don't know, but soon. There's no way a species that's made such a mess of things will survive," I responded.
"How do you know?" She challenged.
"We can't breath our air, we're fighting wars over the most basic human necessity; water. We're cutting down trees like there's no tomorrow, and every single species on earth is in decline. I'd give us to about year 3000." I said, choosing the year partially to insult the Jonas Brother's song I'd had to endure for the past 2 years, and partially because I honestly believed it would all be over by then.
"Well, I'll be dead by then," She responded, face full of smug satisfaction at having retorted to her big sisters 'the end is nigh' proclamations.
"Yeah, and so will everyone else." I growled, my volume earing glares from the nearest librarians.
Bella rolled her eyes and returned to her diary.
That was the end of the discussion.
But not the end of the reality.
Will we die? Maybe, maybe not.
Perhaps we'll survive, but what is survival? Take away our clothing, our homes, our inventions-modern necessities-and what do you have left? Without the things that we have created, what are we but animals, not as powerful as we had once assumed, naked in the big world. Could we ever start from scratch, with so few resources left to exploit?
Perhaps we will all die. Scientists constantly talk about the tipping point, giving us long term solutions. But maybe we've already reached that point. We plan to cut our carbon emissions by half by 2050? We're burning fossil fuels so fast, we won't have anything left to use half of in 41 years! Everything's a mess, and we're not stepping up to prevent it.
Everything's a mess; but just because we don't think we can survive, doesn't mean we can't try to.
This isn't an excuse to say "It's hopeless anyway. Why does it matter whether I drive across the road to get gum from the convenience store?" This is a chance to fight.
It's too late to screw in your energy saving lightbulbs and shower heads. It's too late for you to feel warm and fuzzy just because you went to church for an environmental workshop. Stop driving, turn of your air conditioner, and stand up on your own two feet. This is our last chance: don't waste it.
(As usual, names are not used. Perhaps my post sounds outrageous? It's not.
My family hasn't had a car since I was 2. We use ceiling fans, instead of central airconditioning, and we walk, bike, canoe or bus nearly everywhere. Maybe where you live, this isn't an option, but at the very least, you can carpool. Please, just try: we really are on our last chance.)