The CRISIS of RATE

It is 2019 CE.

c. 4 500 000 000       years after the birth of the earth.

c. 4 000 000 000       years after the first self-replicating molecules appeared.

c. 2 500 000 000       years after the first cells.

c. 500 000 000          years after the first animals.

c. 65 000 000            years after the extinction of the non-avian dinosaurs.

c. 200 000                 years after the emergence of homo sapiens from Africa.

c. 2 500                     years after the reported enlightenment of the historical Buddha.

2 019                         years after the reported coming of the messiah.

1 447                         years after the reported coming of another messiah.

200                            years after the onset of the most rapid biologically induced change the world has ever seen.

The species as a collective still has its head in the sand slowly waking up to the course of change playing out before it.

sand

Here’s an attempt to show what this means (look at extreme right and the timescale):

All_palaeotemps

but there’s a problem..

Global trend charts have timescales that are either:

a) too short to compare the current rate of change with typical overall rates of change.

b) too long to compare the drama of the current change with the typical volatility.

Basically, the resolution is either too small or too large. Attempts to add a log scale as above (time squashes the longer back you go) just hide the true severity of the impending crisis in sustainability: it does exactly what the mind does: skews the importance of short past with long past, massively contracting how long ‘long past’ feels.

The collective global community just does not yet understand the significance of the sheer rate of change of land use, population, emissions, atmospheric CO2, temperature nor many other critical planetary variables.

Proposition:

Provide revelatory access to how severe the global changes of the past 200 years have been… in its most simple form, a chart / animation which ‘scrolls’ left / right, up / down, or is scrollable by the user.

This then needs to be shared and understood by every human on the planet.

The closest I have found to this so far is this great piece by the comic xkcd:

When people say the climate has changed before

We can do better than this..  answers on a postcard