If there is any scientific group where one can still find a skeptical position on climate change and its consequences, it is undoubtedly among geologists. Please don’t get me wrong, we are not denying the existence of recent and rapid global warming. The data is undeniable. Since the beginning of the industrial revolution until today, the average temperature of the planet has increased by 2ºC to 14ºC, while the concentration of greenhouse gases in the atmosphere has increased by 150%. The effects generated by these events include the generation of changes in marine dynamics, the impact on the ecosystem and the increase in extreme meteorological phenomena such as floods or droughts, and other more or less catastrophic ones. scenario. Current scientific discourse points to a direct relationship between the burning of fossil fuels and global warming, pointing to human behavior as the primary cause of climate change. So where is the difference? Well, it is in the prevailing discourse that the planet itself and the life it supports are in grave danger because of these events. Although a certain level of threat cannot be denied, it must be qualified because of the knowledge that Geology gives us. Earth’s average temperature and atmospheric CO2 concentration have been higher than today for most of the past 600 million years. However, life on the planet evolved from the simplest organisms to the most complex. The cold seasons are absolutely amazing. Geological history tells us that the average temperature can rise slightly without life as a whole being threatened, which does not mean that many species can become extinct because of this fact.
The Earth has experienced at least five major extinctions in which life is in great danger. The most famous, but not the most destructive, was the one that affected the dinosaurs 65 million years ago. Today it is believed that the sixth great extinction will happen, because of us, in which climate change is one of the main causes but not the only one. Humans have been responsible for the destruction of habitats, indiscriminate hunting, industrial pollution affecting water and land, armed conflicts, as well as the extreme exploitation of resources of all kinds: minerals, forest, water, etc. In fact our behavior as a species has been and is very similar to a terrible plague. We humans have only been on the planet for about 0.25 million years and we have changed it so much that scientists have proposed to define a new geological era that represents it, the Anthropocene.
Once here, what to do? Fight climate change? To save the planet? Of course yes!, despite the fact that this discourse has childish and utopian aspects. To face the climate emergency, a completely unique paradigm shift of titanic scope is required at all levels: energy, political, economic, social, but above all ethical. For example; We need to replace our fossil energy sources with renewable ones, we are already doing it, but let’s remember that renewable is the flow of energy, not the materials we use to exploit it. The rarest materials are still obtained in a way that is not very sustainable and often dubious ethical, as in the case of rare earths and lithium.
We must fight against planned depletion, the waste of resources, the use of polluting materials, and deforestation. Betting on energy efficiency, savings, local products, recycling, quality public transport, the circular economy. Saying it is easy, doing it not so much. We must do this in a complex world, with a growing population, suffering from the effects of global warming, with limited resources and in a political environment that shows extreme impotence. to change.
We pride ourselves on being a conscious, evolved species. We define ourselves as rational, unique beings. We consider ourselves to be at the top of the evolutionary pyramid because we are able to create sophisticated tools with which we can survive in any environment, even beyond our planet. We are also sensitive beings, capable of being moved by a work of art, a beautiful landscape, reading a book or listening to music. Surely for this reason, many of us have realized that the problem is not climate change, but us. Let’s do it accordingly.