Are Human Beings in Danger of Extinction and Will the Earth Survive?

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I love photographing the wonders of the natural world. I’m privileged to see many places of beauty and experience a feeling joy in photographing them. I’m also aware of the dangerous environmental and climate changes that are occurring. A thing I don’t know: Are human beings in danger of extinction and will the natural world survive? This unknowing brings up fear and anxiety.

My perception is that the collective consciousness of our time feel the human race and our natural world is in danger of disappearing. There is scientific as well anecdotal opinions to support this. An article called “Causes of Extinction” from Encyclopedia of Earth has a depressing list of causes http://www.eoearth.org/view/article/150962/. TV shows and movies are full of apocalyptic plots of plagues, and end of days scenarios. Some religious groups believe the end times are coming due to the prophecies of Revelations in the Bible. There are others who live unconsciously or consciously consuming or hoarding the very resources that are threatening our survival and who seem to have no fear or belief in responsibility in this extinction. Many, many people are doing what they can to save our planet, and yet it’s difficult to see the results.

In the Werner Herzog 2007 documentary, “Encounters At The End Of The World”, a team of research scientists travel to Antarctica where they are filmed in research and conversation. Werner Herzog, narrator of the film in one scene states, “many of them express grave doubts about our long range presence on this planet, believing nature will regulate us.” I don’t know.

In his Youtube interview Vietnamese Buddhist meditation master Thich Nhat Hanh says that if you allow despair to take over, you have no strength to do anything at all. He suggests we practice meditation to create peace becoming free of despair and anger, knowing that even if civilization is destroyed, we can then be free to accomplish something. I don’t know.

Is the answer spiritual or material? In prayer and meditation or in action? What will the result be? Where is the grace? Who is in charge? These are the things I don’t know. I want to live and be held in the grace of this unknowning and to choose the right actions as well as live in the faith of the unknown future.

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