And a climate of change
Some people argue that global warming is a myth while others live in a reality that global warming helps to explain. In many countries the lakes and rivers that people enjoyed 50 years ago have dried up or become too polluted to enjoy. We know that the atmosphere is slowly warming up compared to what it was 200 years ago and we can see the effects of that in the increasing volatility of our weather.
Rather than seek to defend the argument for or against, it may be more useful to look at the changes in the environment and life on earth.
If we step back into history, some 30,000 years ago we began the transition from small tribal groups who survived by hunting and gathering to established settlements and agriculture. From about 20,000 years ago the world's population again to rapidly increase thanks in part to agriculture and an improved standard of living.
Between then and now, many civilisations rose and fell due to a combination of conflicts between people, natural disasters and climate change. If we take the region of the Oxus river that flows from the western Himalayas toward the Caspian Sea as an example, this area has changed from being able to support a very large population to a very small one.
At the time of the man referred to as Alexander the great and such thugs should never be called great, a great waterway connected the Caspian Sea to the Mediterranean. Therefore it's likely that Alexander shipped home the spoils of war via this waterway.
It is thought that this region was slightly arid 2000 years ago and as the principal building material was brick, to make bricks that have lasted into the present day they had to be fired. This meant cutting down the remaining forests in order to fire the bricks which no doubt contributed to the desertification of the region. After Alexander, several new Greek cities were constructed, but within a 1000 years the desertification increased and the land could no longer support such a large population.
In today's world, the forests are being cleared for a variety of reasons and yet people don't seem to realise that each tree contains a unique ecosystem.
Another thing that people have forgotten is the symbiotic relationship between trees and us. We breathe in the air, extract the oxygen and breathe out the waste which is mostly carbon dioxide. The trees and other plants breathe in the carbon dioxide and breathe out oxygen, so we complement each other to create a whole.
There was a time when the atmospheric oxygen was more than 30%, but today it is less than 20%, yet we keep on cutting down trees and deluding the land as if there were no tomorrow as if we have no need of oxygen and the unique ecosystems that trees create.
When we combine the clear-felling of forests, the number of species that have become extinct due to our activities and the pollutants that we are adding to the land, water and atmosphere, there must come a time when life on earth will be impossible.
Unfortunately this only part of a greater problem and that problem is humankind.
5000 years ago people didn't have the same knowledge that we have today. They did not realise that cutting down the forests would cause the destruction of their civilisation, but we do know this today.
But compounding the environmental disaster that is unfolding around us is the fact that we cannot get along with each other. Since the announcement of the war on terror a few years ago by the Bush administration in the USA, acts of terror have continued to increase.
The condition of humanity is that we are embroiled in a cycle of violence that is beyond any control because it is fuelled by unregulated market forces. The system of capitalism that rules the world has become so huge that no single government can affect it and because of this, no government can do anything to slow global warming or address human problems.
In the current climate, we can expect to see a continued worsening of our weather and volatility of our planet which may include more earthquakes, volcanic eruptions and tsunamis. These have always wrecked havoc on civilisations, but as our civilisation is sinking deeper into a global war of terror, everyone will become a target of someone.
Remember the only possibility of heaven is 'heaven on earth', but humanity is turning it into a hell that none may survive. Fortunately planet Earth will continue and as with other mass extinctions, new life will emerge but the most precious gift of all, human life may never return.
Can you do anything?
You can, but you must understand that there is no outer peace unless there is inner peace. That means instead of looking up to some imaginary God or looking out and trying to make other people obey your will, you need to stop, turn and look inside through the process of meditation and create peacefulness in your own heart and mind.
As you make your inward journey, you can be proactive externally by supporting political organisations who's policies lean towards sustainability for people and the environment. You can plant trees and help to green your own neighbourhood which will help to offset deforestation taking place elsewhere.