We can take small comfort in one thing. Although right now we don’t worry enough about incoming disaster from Up There, we do worry a lot about home-grown disaster Down Here: nuclear war-fare, biological warfare, global warming, pollution, overpopulation, destruction of habitat, burning of the rainforests, and so on. However, there’s no danger that human actions will wipe out the planet. Compared to what nature has already done, and will do again, our activities barely show up. one large meteorite packs more explosive power than all human wars put together, a hypothetical World War III included. One Ice Age changes the climate more than a civilization’s worth of carbon dioxide from car exhausts. As for something like the Deccan Traps… you wouldn’t want to know how nasty the atmosphere could become.
No, we can’t destroy the Earth. We can destroy ourselves.
No one would care. The cockroaches and the rats will come back, or if the worst comes to the worst the bacteria miles below ground will start to write a new opening chapter in the Book of Life. Someone else will read it.
– on the future |
Terry Pratchett, Ian Stewart, and Jack Cohen, The Science of Discworld