That Was the Earth

That Was the Earth

Rahul Kumar

Rahul's six essential effects are mirth, music, magnanimity, method, madness and minimalism (as the list can't go on!). While also a slave to good satire and slip-away sarcasm, he shouldn't often be taken seriously with his one-liners and off-the-cuff quips.
June 6, 2016

Once upon a time there existed a planet called Earth. It hosted elements like water and air, life forms such as trees, plants, animals, birds and a host of other lovely things that one got only one lifetime to experience and enjoy. There were human beings as well – a life form that called itself the most dangerous animal! Pity they were so true to their word; for they left nothing untouched as they destroyed the great planet of life.

This is how it happened.

The then Universal Board for Climate Change (UBCC)* in its fourth assessment report of 2005 said that Earth would be hotter by 7°C at the end of the century, which could have devastating effects on the ocean temperatures and natural life. By late 22nd century, life on earth had started to dwindle alarmingly. The next hundred years saw temperatures rise by another astounding 11°C and, over the next few centuries, life forms began getting wiped out. By 2600, life on earth was extinct.

There had been many warnings about of the grave consequences of climate change, as well as advisories on what each country, government and society, right down to each household could do to slow down the damage and contain it drastically to a level where the planet could be saved. But that did not happen. Humans were too possessed by industrialization, development and the great urge to get ahead to consider the havoc they wrought on the environment. There was little political will to push a switch to renewable energy resources, reduce dependence on fossil fuels and cut carbon emissions. Excess carbon, created by innumerable human activities, was like the merchant of death that crushed everything in its gigantic talons.

Nor was there any restraint at the individual level. People did not travel less, limit the use of personal transport or generate less waste. They continued to guzzle vastly more energy than the resource systems could generate. Forests disappeared under the onslaught of urban areas; landfills overflowed, there was no way of recycling everything that was wasted and discarded; leaching toxins from rotting landfill waste poisoned both the air as well as the underground aquifers; and freshwater supplies were consumed faster than they could be replenished.

How long could this go on?

The toxicity and excess carbon in the air created a blanket in the atmosphere that stalled the growth of plant life and gradually strangled the supply of oxygen. Melting snows caused the oceans to swell and inundated all land around them. Man had always thought that the end would come when the Sun died out, but it outshone the Earth in its entirety. Life ended first, leaving a planet that now resembles a host of other dead ones.

The humans had been looking outward into space in search of life but failed to care for what lay within. They grew plants in space aboard but ignored the forests dying on Earth. When things got out of control, some bright-minded humans did manage to escape by creating artificial life-supporting conditions on an asteroid. This asteroid, about half the size of Moon, is called Barmletite and is part of a larger belt of asteroids called Bartletitesfite. It is currently tumbling across the cosmic interstellar wildernesses way beyond the Milky Way. But they are not looking backward anymore, only ahead in search of another planet which could hold life. They profoundly don't know that it's infinitely more difficult than finding a needle in a haystack. What happens to them only Space will tell, as Time has ceased to exist in the context of Earth.

Sadly, back in the Milky Way, it looks like there's going to be no sequel to the story of the great planet of life.

*Disclaimer: Before it scares the greens out of the reader, please note that except for the mention of Earth, this account is fictional observation from a vantage point in the space-time continuum, on the effects of climate change, particularly in context of the planet's distant history and future. My apologies if entities like government and planetary bodies etc. bear any resemblance to anything unreal – or real – if reality really exists anymore! Human beings harmed themselves and all other life forms as they destroyed Earth, therefore, no one can take direct or indirect responsibility for that. Well, for that matter, no one exists to even take cognizance.

Hellooooo. Is anyone there?

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