When we refer to a natural disaster we think of the destructive force of nature that affects life in a region (or even globally) tremendously. The famous meteorite that struck the Earth some 60 millions years ago somewhere in Mexico was such natural disaster. It caused such impact that all life forms larger than a mouse died as a consequence of the long term darkness, climate change, etc. It was the stroke of death for the dominant species of giant reptiles s.a. the dinosaurs and happened long before humankind appeared to do its thing. A tsunami, an earth quack, a massive storm, floods, a huge fire, a volcano erupting or even a combination of all, they can all be devastating for life and all fall in the category of natural disasters.
Can we call then humankind a natural disaster? In our behavior we destroy the habitat of other species, even cause them to go extinct for our own benefit. We destroy the landscape with roads, houses, cities, fields, etc. We pollute the soil, the air, the sea…. Does that make us a natural disaster? No, strangely it does not. Ants, beavers, cows, rats, whatever other species, also usage the landscape and environment for their benefit and if they have no natural enemies they grow in volume and destructive effects on the habitat of other species. We know by observation and experience that such effects eventually destroy their own long term survival.
Humankind is hence currently a normal natural parasite of the available resources that has out grown its own sustainable proportions in population and greed, reaching a point of becoming auto-destructive. It is as simple as that and can be seen around us all the time. A large tree for instance does not allow enough light to pass through its crown for other plants to grow underneath it. In this way it avoids that these would take resources from the soil that the tree would need. When that big tree get struck by lightning or falls over in a storm the light reaches again the soil and all kinds of species start developing and fighting for that little bit of space again until a certain harmony has been reached again. Even the chaos between the old stability of the old tree and the new stability of growing new fauna is orchestrated in nature to provide sustainable progress through natural dynamics.
Our globe is a natural ecosystem in which humankind is a simple species that makes its own nest so dirty that eventually it cannot survive anymore and disappears. Others take over and may even find evolutionary ways to use all the garbage left behind by humankind. We have seen this occur regionally already over history. The Lycians, Maya’s, Romans, large human cultures in the Amazon, Africa….all had their period of glory and then broke up into chaos to eventually become food for study of archaeologists.
We are part of the wisdom of our environment that adapts itself wisely with every change that occurs. Even humankind building cities is something nature deals with within the laws of nature, not those of the human beings. So why should we worry about our planet Earth, our universe or the other species when all they do is adjust to the circumstances? And if they don’t adapt they perish, like we will disappear if we do not adjust. We should hence really worry about ourselves. For once we can really become selfish as we start thinking of the evolutionary preservation of our species.
If we are so afraid of death that we invented even fake money systems to avoid conflicts and become addicted to material possessions, to compensate for the expectation of death arriving, we should be even more afraid if the species does not even exist anymore for those who believe in re-encarnation. The death of all deaths from any evolutionary perspective is that the line of evolution stops. Humankind will be forgotten the same day the last person collapses to disappear for ever. Is our current greed and desire for control worth all that? Apparently it is. It seems to be part of our nature to let our selfinterest florish whenever it gets a chance even if this means that our species, including our individual self, disappears. What a waste!
What caused so much self-destruction? The biggest problem humankind has developed, maybe as an accident of nature, is our self consciousness. It should be an accident of nature to give us such high level of self awareness because if it were an act of God we would surely be destined to use it differently. Becoming self conscious we were challenged to reflect about life, living and death, coming to an incredible array of beliefs, competitive behaviors and levels of understanding. We were challenged by the nature to self-reflect about everything and we received eternity to learn if we would be capable of putting our learning into practice. But are we?
From a biological point of view we are a parasite that is becoming aware of its existence and condition as a aggressive parasite and not as a super being. We are also becoming aware that we have the potential to become a super being if we let go of being a parasite. The biggest challenge humankind is facing today is to let go of being animal and become special by using awareness and consciousness for our own evolution. By making us consciously dependent again of our surroundings we can learn how to control our own progress. But are we all willing to make such sacrifice, to let our greed be locked up in favor of our evolutionary perspectives? Who seeks wellness in the future if we want it right now? Only today exists and tomorrow never comes.
Clearly, humankind is not a natural disaster. We are only a disaster to ourselves. We distinguish ourselves from the animal world with the doubtful gift of awareness. This is only a gift if it is used to position humankind in such a way that it places itself outside the unexpected effects of natural disasters, including our own self destructive attitude. But if we do that we need to do it all together and not just a handful. That is what I expect to happen in the end. In that case humankind would appear as a true miracle of nature. But for that humankind is not yet worthy of that denomination. For now we are still a risk to everything on earth, including our own selves.