Einstein said that matter or energy cannot be created or destroyed. It can only be changed from one form to another. Earth being a matter in the vast ocean of the universe, must face its end for a new matter to replace it.

Scientists previously believed that the earth had 5 billion years. After which, the sun will lose its energy and swallow most of the solar system. Studies recently found out that the earth’s time is almost towards its end.

Where Art Thou, Oxygen?

The Dunn Road fire in Mount Adrah, Australia, on Jan. 10, 2020
The Dunn Road fire in Mount Adrah, Australia, on Jan. 10, 2020

5 billion years might not be a short period of time. If earth survives for that long, definitely, human beings will go through multiplicity of evolutions. However, scientists now believe that Earth is not going to wait for the sun to scream its final scream before devouring us. The planet has already entered its decaying stages. 

Oxygen depletion has become a major problem for humanity, and it is now but too late to mend the mistakes mankind has been committing for the past millennia. Earth is only a billion years away from totally using up the life-sustaining gas, but that is hardly all.

A report by Mvorg Organization noted that each minute, around 2,00,000 acres of forests are being wiped out, which adds up to 2.47 million hectares of forests per year. In between the years 2015-2020, a new record was made. An estimated amount of 10 million hectares of trees were being cut down every year.

In the last two decades, about a 100 million hectares of forests have been lost. Add three more decades, and that’s the entire Amazon rainforest being cut down.

In the past decades, the number of wildfires have also increased, some of them being the worst in human history, which caused a significant amount of forests to burn down.

Water pollution is another contributor to oxygen depletion in water bodies, which leads to the death of aquatic life. It’s estimated that around 70% of surface water in India is unfit for consumption.

Every day, almost 40 million litres of wastewater enters rivers and other water bodies with only a tiny fraction adequately treated. Scientists believe that it is too late to make amendments now, especially in developing countries, which require industrial and technological developments.

Also Read: Placenta With Plastics: Microplastic Pollution Reaches The Unborn Babies

Water To Ice To Water

Polar bear on melting Arctic Ice
Polar bear on melting Arctic Ice

Arctic ice is melting at an alarming rate, and it takes no rocket science to figure it out. Global warming has caused 13% of polar ice to melt every decade. It won’t sound like too much, but in the past thirty years, the oldest and thickest ice in the Arctic has declined by 95%.

Experts have pointed out that if the carbon emissions are left unchecked, by the year 2040, there will be no ice on the planet. These miles of ice, which are melting, would have unprecedented effects on humanity. It is not merely the fact that sea levels will rise, causing more frequent floods and tsunamis, but also unpredictable weather. 

Summer temperatures are going to rise beyond comprehension, and winters are going to feel like walking naked on the North Pole. Monsoons will go on for months on end, causing severe floods. Southern Australia and the Mediterranean have begun facing prolonged droughts, and wildfires are more extreme.

In India pre-monsoon heat is increasingly unbearable, and cyclonic storms and floods are more frequent. Islands such as Kiribati in the Central Pacific are on the brink of erasing themselves from the maps, due to rising sea levels.

Oceanic ecosystem is changing due to the rising heatwaves, and it is being predicted that by the year 2050, most of the aquatic species will go extinct. Examples of polar vortexes have been seen in the US as temperatures dropped severely, and it is expected that these extreme cold weathers are going to become common in the US. 

Arctic ice and permafrost—ground that is permanently frozen—store large amounts of methane, a greenhouse gas that contributes to climate change. When it thaws, that methane is released, increasing the rate of warming.

This, in turn, causes more ice and permafrost to thaw or melt, releasing more methane, causing more melting. As we lose more ice more quickly and see more rapid permafrost melt, we will start seeing the worst climate change predictions come true.

The UN Deputy High Commissioner for Human Rights Flavia Pansieri noted in 2015, “Human-induced climate change is not only an assault on the ecosystem that we share. It also undercuts the rights to health, to food, to water and sanitation, to adequate housing — and for people on all small island states and coastal communities — even the right to self determination.”

The Doomsday Clock

Side effects of industrialization
Side effects of industrialization

As oxygen is gradually decreasing in the atmosphere, and pollution increasing, as the polar ice is melting, and the globe is growing even warmer, as the weather is becoming more extreme, and human health slowly deteriorating, the Doomsday Clock goes on ticking.

There are plenty of records to prove that we do not have 5 billion years to look forward to. Unluckily, in the next hundred years, we are going to witness some of the most bizarre and severe atmospheric events, which will fast forward the clock by a few more decades. 

It will be difficult to cultivate food, and find clean water by 2040. And even if humanity does survive that, in case the governing bodies do something really smart, the rising temperatures will make it almost impossible to survive.

Let’s say for argument’s sake that technology will find a solution to humanity’s survival in extreme heat or cold, which it may, but we know how industrialization has helped the planet in the long run.

Scientists do not believe that there is very much to be done as the damage which has been made is irreversible, but even in the face of this crisis growing under the skin, some countries see hope.

South Africa has pledged to restore 100 million hectares of forests by 2030. YouTubers and actors, such as MrBeast, and Leonardo DiCaprio have invested a lot towards the betterment of the planet, from planting a million trees, to donating billions to NGOs.

What is yet to come, is yet to come. How will this ticking Doomsday Clock affect us? Can we do something at an individual level to make sure it slows down its ticking?

What if we say no polythene bags? What if instead of throwing away our plastics, we recycle it? Asking leads to more asking, and more asking leads to more discovery. If we are lucky, we might not have to face the problems which we do not realize we are in, yet.

Image Sources: Google Images

Sources: New York Magazine, National Geographic, NASA

Connect with the Blogger: Debanjan Dasgupta

This post is tagged under: global warming, global warming effects, global warming causes, deforestation, deforestation rate, deforestation effect, pollution, plastic pollution, aquatic pollution, greenhouse gas, impact of global warming, weather, extreme weather, natural calamity, extinction, mass extinction, waste, biodegradable waste, plastic waste, polar vortex, wildfire, flood, tsunami, heatwave, oxygen depletion, oxygen reduction, arctic ice, arctic melt, sea level, water pollution, doomsday, doomsday clock, endgame, judgement day, scientists, geophysics, astrophysics, earth, sun, solar system

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