It’s easy to forget how completely our view and understanding of the world is based on things that are in actuality always changing — and in the case of climate, changing rather rapidly.
This new interactive map from National Geographic really drives that point home — with only slightly elevated sea levels (or diminished, such as during the last ice age) the whole of the world appears to change. Every coastline, every river, every “mountain” — the context of everything changes, and you appear to be somewhere quite different from where you were before.
Bringing to mind the fact that much of the lands where humans lived during the last ice age (the coasts, caves, and river systems of the time) is now deep underwater is a good way to understand the point being made. The world that awaits those that are still living even only 500 years from now will no doubt be a very different one from the one we live in now.
As an example, some of the most biologically productive land of the last 50,000 years — an area with extensive signs of human habitation — Doggerland (the area between the UK and mainland Europe that is now a sea), was until only 6000 years ago heavily populated by humans (and unicorns). But if one were to look at the region now, all that they would see is an open sea, no signs of the lives of the people that lived there at all.
That sort of awareness is the kind that should be brought to mind when contemplating one’s participation in the modern industrial system, and in the causation of anthropogenic climate change and environmental degradation — something that everyone that participates in modern culture is complicit in.
That isn’t to say that there isn’t anything that one can do to limit ones impact though, there is actually quite a lot — anything from growing some of one’s own food, walking or bicycling rather than driving a car, limiting air travel, buying local, or even going off the grid and learning to limit ones electricity consumption. Or even just choosing to live a relatively simple life. 🙂
Just something to keep in mind as you drive your car to work, shop at the grocery store, or turn on your coal or gas powered electric heater.
Things are always changing, an awareness of that and the associated changes in behavior that can accompany that can go a long way. Even if only on a personal or family level. 🙂
Image Credits: Screen Capture