Our planet, which is about four thousand five hundred and forty million years old and is home to biodiversity, including all of humanity, has not always been as we know it today. This Earth of ours, a blue dot in the vastness of cosmic space, is the result of a long and complex evolution, and man is the smallest fruit of that same evolution, in an enormous chain of mutual relationships that combine rocks, soil, and water. Air and living organisms. Therefore, it is in the interest of citizens in general, as conscious beings within nature, to know it better, in order to better evaluate the problems that arise in their relationship with the natural environment.
In the evolution of matter, according to Teilhard de Chardin (1881-1955), the degree of complexity it assumed has increased since the beginning of the time of our universe, that is, in thirteen thousand eight hundred million (13,800,000) years of its existence. From primitive subatomic particles we moved to atoms, and only later, to molecules that became increasingly complex. From here, evolution moved towards the most primitive cells that appeared on Earth more than three thousand eight hundred million years ago (3,800,000,000 years ago), and it is believed that through a non-vital series of stages they gradually became more detailed, where trial, error and error. The success or failure of the solutions found, i.e. the series composite products, was in favor of the magnitude of time, on the order of 75% or more of the age of the universe. From primitive unicellular organisms to the first multicellular organisms, which appeared seven to eight hundred million years ago, only about 20% were consumed in the same time. So, just over 5% remains, so that we can, in a new series of complexity, always increasing and at an increasingly accelerating pace, pass from primitive invertebrates to humans. Since we appeared in nature about 2.3 to 2.5 million years ago, as… Homo habilisAs we represent the latest step on the evolutionary ladder, to this day, it has been a step that does not exceed 0.0001% of the universal time of creation.
Given the eternity that our planet still has to complete, estimated at five to six billion years, human existence in nature is still very short and insignificant on the scale of biological evolution, and therefore error-prone, as it has been. to countless species in the course of this same development.
Man, composed of the same atoms that make up stars, minerals, plants, other animals, and everything else in existence, is a substance that has acquired so much complexity that it has acquired the ability to question itself, to explain itself, and to intervene in its own course. And in the environment in which it was “manufactured”. It is the most advanced state of combining this same substance, capable of doing what we call science, that is, observing, describing, relating, explaining, inducing, and predicting. Man, with his ability to acquire and transmit knowledge, is the most detailed manifestation of the physical reality of the world as we know it, in which the time of the entire universe has been consumed. Thus, science, through man, can also be understood as the limit of self-questioning matter. It can be said that nature “thinks” through the human mind, and for the same reason, it can be accepted that man has given nature a voice. Such abilities put us humans at a great advantage among our peers in the natural world. But do we have the right to manage nature for our benefit only, and to attack it as has been the norm, especially since the Industrial Revolution, which began in the eighteenth century, and grew dramatically in the eras that followed?
The Earth, in the context in which it presents itself to us today, is the result of countless attacks to which it has been subjected throughout its ancient history. However, in keeping with James Lovelock (1919-2022), in his “Gaia” hypothesis, the Earth is a self-regulating body and, as such, has always known how to find a response to all these assaults and will, without a doubt, continue to do so. With that. The harm that we can do to it, by misusing it, is to alter the conditions favorable to us which we know so well, giving rise to other conditions, still unknown, which can be very harmful to us. Thus, by attacking nature, man is certainly also attacking himself, against humanity. Did the natural world cease to exist during major mass extinctions, such as the one that occurred about 65 million years ago that led, among many other biological groups, to the disappearance of non-avian dinosaurs?
With an unbridled desire for profit and pleasure, an uncontrolled industrial civilization could lead to a new mass extinction that would surely fall victim to it. However, the planet – and geologists realize this – will persist, even without human intelligence, and will end up finding new paths, obeying only the laws of physics, including the laws of chance, to be able to recreate another intelligent being. Or even smarter than this modern version of Homo sapiensAnd he is us. To do this you only need time, a lot of time, and you will not lack that, because as we mentioned above, we estimate its existence as a planet for another five to six billion years, until the Sun, in its evolution like the planet Earth. The star, shrouding it in an enormous glow.
To whom should humans be held accountable for the way they decide to interact with nature? It is, without a doubt, to other men, that is, to society, that each one of us must be accountable for the power of decision and freedom of action which our enormous abilities afford us. If man gave nature a voice, society gave him morality and assumed the right to set the rules among his peers in enjoying this broad common sovereignty. It is true that the intervention capacity of each individual, as a conscious element of this same society, is directly proportional to the information and training appropriate to him, so it is important to increase it. Increasing it gives you access to the knowledge that science has always revealed to us.
Gallopim de Carvalho (geologist)
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