In the not-too-distant future, we could be hearing something like this in the news:
The biggest living organism on Earth has passed away. Australia’s Great Barrier Reef lived for more than 25 billion years. At 1,400 miles long, the Great Barrier Reef was the only living organism visible from space. It was home to more biodiversity than all of Europe.
While it’s sad enough to hear that our planet’s biggest organism has died, what’s even more heartbreaking is that we are the ones who killed it. Our dependency on oil and gas has caused global warming which has killed this magnificent organism.
The Great Barrier Reef isn’t the only life that has been lost due to humans and our misuse of the Earth’s resources. In the last 40 years, we have lost more than 50 percent of all this planet’s wildlife. More than 76 percent of freshwater wildlife has disappeared. If things continue this way, it’s predicted that in twenty years we’ll have lost two-thirds of all wildlife on Earth.
We are now seeing species extinction at more than 1,000 to 10,000 times the natural rate. Humans are to blame for this sorry state of affairs.
A popular theory says that people who are dying experience five stages of grief known as DABDA. A person starts off feeling Denial and then moves through feelings of Anger, then Bargaining, then Depression, and finally Acceptance of the fact that death is near.
Some psychologists are now using these five stages of personal grief to describe humanity’s “collective grief” over planetary death and loss.
The first stage is “denial.” Many people are still in denial that climate change is even happening. They turn a blind eye to anything having to do with the problem.
The second stage is “anger.” People at this stage have moved past denial. They are now angry about the state of our Earth and the loss of species.
The third stage of grief is “bargaining.” In this stage, a person is willing to make a trade to regain what they have lost. At this stage, people who are grieving stop playing the blame game. Instead, they focus on making swift changes to save the planet.
The fourth stage is “depression.” In this stage, people begin to accept the reality of the loss. They feel profound sadness or even numbness.
And finally, in the fifth stage, people “accept” the situation. Hopefully, humans never have to fully accept the demise of the earth, because that would mean accepting our own demise as well.
What do you think? Can comparing planetary grief with personal grief, help humanity find a way forward? Or is it too late? Will we actually be hearing about the death of the greatest barrier reef on earth in our lifetime?