Paper, Journal, and Review | The Future Of Man Is Up In The Air

Module 9 | Prompt

  1. What will life be like if climate change occurs as projected?
  2. What will be the psychological and physical effects of climate change if we fail to stop it?
  3. Is climate change going to affect you and your children, or is it a problem that will only impact future generations?
  4. Can you wait out the effects of climate change underground?
  5. Why do corporations spend so much money denying climate change?
  6. How do strong environmental protections improve prosperity?



"It’s eight o’clock and ...The weird orange streetlight glow is giving way to the gray mist of the morning. There is a small break in the clouds: not enough to show blue sky, but just enough to turn the sunlight bright silver. Tomorrow, there will be a second more of daylight in the darkness, and then a few more seconds, and then the long days of summer until the world swings back around the sun. It doesn’t stop. It never will" (Marvel, 2018).

"Humans are remarkably ingenious and have adapted to crises throughout their history. Our doom has been repeatedly predicted, only to be averted by innovation. However, the many stories of human ingenuity successfully addressing existential risks such as global famine or extreme air pollution represent environmental challenges that are largely linear, have immediate consequences, and operate without positive feedbacks" (Kareiva & Carranza, 2018).

" the heart of climate-change discourse resides an anxiety about whether we have cared enough, not just about and for each other and the planet but about and for the future. It is, furthermore, children who—not unproblematically—serve as shorthand for the future and therefore as a particularly emotive marker of the problem of climate change...[Reflecting a] collective disquiet— [an]... increasingly apparent sense of failure of stewardship for the planet and its species (including, paradoxically, for humanity), and a growing shame at having so completely reneged on obligations not just to the current inhabitants of the biosphere but also to future" (Johns-Putra, 2016).

"...the fossil-fueled party of our capitalist global civilisation is in the midst of a financial and ecological borrowing frenzy from the future. And not only are the spoils of our mastery over nature enjoyed by only a minority of the planet but in geological terms, they are being consumed within an extremely short time-span.

Moreover, "...the political and economic institutions of our civilisation [sic] are fixated on enjoying the present and unable to account for the consequences of our actions on tomorrow. This may be all too easily observed in our financial behaviour [sic], where individuals, corporations and governments are forever borrowing from the future in order to improve the present" (Trencher, 2016).

"The effects of rising temperature include soil degradation, loss of productivity of agricultural land and desertification, loss of biodiversity, degradation of ecosystems, reduced fresh-water resources, acidification of oceans, and the disruption and depletion of stratospheric ozone.

And the potential health impacts of extreme weather events include both direct effects, such as traumatic deaths, and indirect effects, such as illnesses associated with ecologic or social disruption; ...[including] an increased burden of psychological diseases and injuries related to natural disasters potentially wide but under-examined, underestimated and not adequately monitored. [...] Mental health...may be directly connected to the event, as in post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) or become chronic"... And "PTSD does not only affect victims of disasters but also has a prevalence of 10%–20% among rescue workers" (Rossati, 2017).

Speculatively, "...across much of the United States, a far weedier world overall, and a heyday for parasites and pathogens, which could mean an influx of tropical diseases into the temperate zone...extrapolated from [the] data...[of] fossil record, theoretical models, physiologic data on temperature stress, and the like. [...] Atmospheric carbon dioxide levels will climb to a level where they have not been in at least 1 million years. '...moving from a carbon-starved to a carbon fertilized world...We don't know what the effect will be on the carbon balance between the biosphere and the atmosphere. True the world has seen high carbon dioxide levels before, but that ended 1 million years ago. All Pleistocene evolution occurred in a carbon-limited world" (Roberts, 1988).

Evidence shows that "humanity’s impact on the planet has become so profound that our presence will be discernible as a separate stratigraphic layer, therefore we are-for now still unofficially-living in a new geological epoch, the Anthropocene. Despite the growing scientific knowledge about the anthropogenic causes and the consequences of climate change-the most salient manifestation of the Anthropocene-little effective action is taken, either by governments or individuals.

The strange thing about the Anthropocene is that it is a kind of “prospective archaeology”: it will only be detectable as a geological stratum after humans have ceased to exist (or, at least, after the modern, industrial way of living has ended). To think about such a possibility...we need to imagine a future in which our future has already become the past; “we need the future perfect tense." There will be no archaeologists or geologists with instruments to excavate our artifacts or to investigate the stratigraphic signals we will have left because it will be after the total destruction of the archive" (Mertens & Craps, 2018).

Interdisciplinary Resources


  1. Johns-Putra, A. (2016). “My Job Is to Take Care of You’’’: Climate Change, Humanity , and Cormac Mccarthy’s the Road.” Modern Fiction Studies, 62(3), 519. Keywords: Humanity, Climatic Change
  2. Kareiva, P., & Carranza, V. (2018). Existential risk due to ecosystem collapse: Nature strikes back. Futures, 102, 39. Keywords: existential risk, ecosystem collapse, planetary boundaries, positive feedbacks, multiplicative stresses
  3. Mertens, M., & Craps, S. (2018). Contemporary Fiction Vs. The Challenge of Imagining the Timescale of Climate Change. Studies in the Novel, (1), 134. Keywords: climatic change
  4. Roberts, L. (1988). Is There Life after Climate Change? Science, 242(4881), 1010. Keywords: climate models, animals, plants, carbon compounds, species, global warming, biodiversity conservation, plant ecology, climate change, climatology, zoology, botany, chemical compounds, species extinction, biological taxonomies, chemistry, ecology
  5. Rossati, A. (2017). Global Warming and Its Health Impact. The International Journal Of Occupational And Environmental Medicine, 8(1), 7–20. Keywords: climate change, communicable diseases, emerging, global warming, infectious disease medicine, temperature, tick-borne diseases, weather
  6. Simon J. James. (2012). Witnessing the End of the World: H.G. Wells’ Educational Apocalypses. Literature and Theology, 26(4), 459. Keywords: eschatology, apocalypse

Next Week's Sneak Peek...

For a continuation of this research and an editorial analysis of climate change, join me next week for an interesting Module 9 at 11:22 podcast.


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