Seriously, is this the end of the world?

Nothing is conclusive, of course, and efforts are ongoing to get to the bottom of it all — as Ross, the paleontologist, was trying to for all 10 seasons of Friends.

A couple of weeks ago, I watched Jurassic World. I’m not a big fan of dinosaurs — unlike many of my friends (on Facebook), who were calling the cinematic representations ‘beasties’ (like a derivative of ‘besties’) and professing undying love for ‘those magnificent creatures’ — so I found it slightly difficult to be on the edge of my seat.

But that’s not the point.

Jurassic World packed me off on a thinking trail. Until some time back, there was, reportedly, an understanding that dinos and homo sapiens never co-existed; and that dinos (who roamed Planet Earth 65 million years ago, and then plunged into extinction) predated the human species.

Recent research, however, claims that man and this ‘beastie’ may have been trampling around the globe together. Nothing is conclusive, of course, and efforts are ongoing to get to the bottom of it all — as Ross, the paleontologist, was trying to for all 10 seasons of Friends.

I would classify myself as a fairly non-science person (and, I’m not really much into the ‘evolution’ of life on this planet), but what fascinates me about dinos is the extinction story. An entire species that went pfft. Just goes to show how ephemeral life is; here today, gone tomorrow. These thoughts are particularly in my mind because, of late, I’ve been hearing stories about the imminent ‘extinction’ mankind — we, the people — is facing.

The first was the (conspiracy?) theory being trotted out that the end is nigh (as early as September this year) because an asteroid is hurtling towards Earth with a view to a kill. The crescendo reached such a shrill pitch that even NASA was forced to come out with a statement negating the possibility (but a lot of folks out there are still not convinced and are plodding on and on about The End).

Next, I read a recent report on the website news.com.au that claimed “scientists predict a global catastrophe in the next 30 years if we don’t change our ways now” (are we going to “change our ways”?

I doubt it very much). “With the world’s population set to hit nine billion by 2050, demands on the Earth to meet food and water supplies could be stretched so tightly humankind will implode on itself,” the report fleshed out sadistically. The “cataclysmic series of events” will be “triggered by a combination of climate change, food and water shortages, energy loss and political instability”.

And finally, a friend forwarded the link to an article quoting scientist Professor Frank Fenner, recipient of the Albert Einstein World Award of Science in 2000; this appeared a few years ago but, coupled with the currency of the goings-on, it seemed to acquire a different gravitas altogether.

Here, Professor Fenner (who passed away months after this revelation, at the ripe old age of 95) “predicted” humans “will probably be extinct within 100 years, because of overpopulation, environmental destruction and climate change”; he was also quoted as saying that homo sapiens “will not be able to survive the population explosion and unbridled consumption, and will become extinct, perhaps within a century, along with many other species”.

When I was discussing this with a friend, she asked (very seriously), “Why are you getting your hopes up? Nothing’s going to happen.”

“Is this what you think of me?” I shouted, “That I want the world to end? That’s not me, I don’t want to give up!”

Almost on cue, I remembered Joey telling Ross: “You can’t just give up! Is that what a dinosaur would do?”

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