Anne Klaeysen - Humanity: From Origins to Extinction - 2/3/19

Sunday February 03, 2019
Anne Klaeysen

Ours is but one species on this planet we call Earth. Ours is also the last remaining humanoid species, among over a dozen others, Homo Sapiens having successfully outlived (and no doubt contributed to the demise of) Neanderthals, with whom we at one time co-existed. A timeline comparing these species illustrates what a short time we have been at home on this planet, and yet we have had an impact on it far beyond all other species combined. We are facing the reality of our having despoiled our home, perhaps beyond all hope of repair.

In 2007, author Alan Weisman wrote “The World Without Us,” a book that environmentalist Bill McKibben called “one of the grandest thought experiments of our time,” and philosopher Todd May recently wrote an essay for The NY Times asking “Would Human Extinction Be a Tragedy?” We live in a world where some people not only deny the impact that humans have had on our environment; some also deny the humanity of other people. Perhaps in those very denials we humans demonstrate our uniqueness from other species. It is not to be envied. Indeed it is something we must overcome if we are to survive.