The art of being a good guest is to know when to leave.
~ Prince Philip.
While some debate whether we are truly in the beginning stages of the next mass extinction, the numbers seem to support the assertion. Species are disappearing fast, and we are accelerating the process.
I love to build things or take something old and decrepit and make it better than before. My house prior to this one qualified as a true 'fixer-upper'. I spent years turning it into something better than what I walked into. A couple of years ago our neighbor from across our street tried to do the same with his place, only to sink in an ever-deepening hole of frustration with each visible problem hiding worse problems underneath. Eventually he gave up and sold it. The new owner did not try to fix the place but rather razed it to its foundation and started fresh. The new house is a far cry from the previous dwelling. Sometimes you can't fix something and need to start fresh.
On a political level, I currently believe that to be true of our government right now. Nothing seems able to penetrate toxic partisanship, not a pandemic, not global warming, nothing. I have spent hours debating possible solutions with politically-savvy friends to no avail. Sadly, I just think we are at the end of our run. But this post is not about politics. It's about extinctions, because politics aside, everything I have seen in the recent decades of my lifetime indicate that as guests on this planet, we have long worn out our welcome.
But before I go about discussing extinction events, let's get a feel for where we all are on the facts. (For the sake of being a true indicator of where people's day-to-day awareness falls, please avoid looking up these topics and just answer from your gut instinct.)
KDP's Extinction Quiz
(sorry, no spanking questions....but really? haven't you answered them all by now, probably more than once?)
1: We all know about the dinosaurs and the meteor impact that likely caused or accelerated their demise, but was that the only time something like this happened? How many times do you think life came close to vanishing here?
2: When you think of an extinction event, what do you think is the percentage of lost species?
3: How did this guy avoid being eaten by a T-Rex?
4: What is your personal opinion on the relative significance of humans existing?
a: Very important and divinely ordained
b: Very important as this planet's highest evolutionary achievement
c: Important only to ourselves
d: A detriment, the most dangerous creature to have ever evolved
e: Neither important nor a detriment, just something that a series of chance events led to