Homo sapiens: Nearing extinction?

homo sapiens

Carlo Rovelli, a theoretical physicist, writes in his international bestseller, Seven Brief Lessons on Physics,

I believe that our species will not last long. It does not seem to be made of the stuff that has allowed the turtle, for example, to continue to exist more or less unchanged for hundreds of millions of year… We belong to a short-lived species. All of our cousins are already extinct. What’s more we do damage. The brutal climate and environmental changes that we have triggered are unlikely to spare us… especially since public and political opinion prefers to ignore the dangers…I fear that soon we shall also have to become the only species that will knowingly watch the coming of its own collective demise…

And let’s add here that we, Homo sapiens, have also developed numerous types of weapons of mass destruction. We can now readily blow all of our species up, poison all of us or create vast plagues upon ourselves. We seem a species with a consuming death wish. And now we seem to be nearing the fulfillment of that death wish yet this is also time for bright hope for our species.

With the trillions of dollars, which looks like $1,000,000,000,000, are now spent globally by the world’s militaries. We are a rich species, which faces a profound historical choice. We could choose not to use war as a means of conflict resolution. We have effective, fair, non-violent conflict resolution models available. We have a historical choice, an existential choice now. Choosing not to use war is not similar to choosing not to have earthquakes. Choosing not to use war is akin to choosing not to institutionalize slavery, not to allowing dueling with pistols as a means of conflict resolution, not to publicly draw and quarter prisoners, not to crucify prisoners etc. We, Homo sapiens, now face an urgent existential choice regarding the archaic practice of war. 

Just 60,000 years ago evidence suggests there were as many four different hominid species existing. Today, there appears to be just one, us, Homo sapiens. At this time on earth, and in large part do to our activity, we are living in an age of species extinction. And again, the hope is that we can first choose to not collectively kill other groups of Homo sapiens, to choose to follow what science tells us about sustaining life on this planet with the complex eco-systems that make life possible. We are a rich but also dangerously ignorant species. Now is not the time to dream of a fully peaceful planet, of a world without war. That is a distant future. Now is the time to take the first, specific step on what will prove to be a long journey of war abolition. Now is the time for the United Nations to sign a one-year, global, public, formal truce making 2020 a year without war. It is that simple, first public, formal step. While we at 2020 A Year Without War recognize that peace is more than the absence of war, we understand that the absence of war is the first step on the road to peace. Now is the time to JOIN, RECRUIT, DONATE, EDUCATE – 2020 AYWW.

Professor Joseph White,

Executive Director, 2020 A Year Without War