A stunning 2012 animation has resurfaced following the UN’s sobering report on the climate breakdown. Simply titled Man, it explores humanity’s relationship with the natural world.
That's pretty stunning. https://t.co/vBrpOu8hQB
— Media Lens (@medialens) October 9, 2018
Given the existential challenges raised in the UN report, it’s not surprising the video is currently adding to its 29 million plus views on YouTube. It’s essential watching for anyone wondering what on Earth humankind has done to deserve the catastrophe it now faces.
The UN Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) released its climate report on 8 October. It concluded that global warming must be kept to 1.5°C at the most, half a degree hotter than right now, if we are to limit the most severe effects of climate change. The risk of large-scale food scarcity, poverty, species loss and extreme weather, among other things, becomes more certain at 2°C, the group of UN scientists found. According to the report, we don’t have much time left until we reach the 1.5°C limit. It reads:
If the current warming rate continues, the world would reach human-induced global warming of 1.5°C around 2040.
In short, the IPCC says 0.5°C more warming will bring some pretty dire consequences: rising seas, droughts, further loss of biodiversity and more. But hitting 2°C would be catastrophic, with potentially hundreds of millions more people forced into climate-related poverty and the species we depend on for pollination under threat of severe habitat loss. As the IPCC’s Debra Roberts said of the report:
It’s a line in the sand and what it says to our species is that this is the moment and we must act now…
So, the IPCC looked to the future and found that it’s not bright. At all. Steve Cutts‘s Man, however, primarily looks to the past to see how we got here. The animator’s chronicle of humanity’s interaction with nature for the last “500,000 years” isn’t any brighter. But it does speak volumes about why “this is the moment” we’ve been asking for.
Cutts’s animation begins with a man’s arrival on a beautiful planet Earth. It follows that man’s journey across this new territory and his dealings with the other life in it. Clearly, the man views each new creature in terms of its usefulness to him. So, if he can’t wear it, fry it, mount its head on a wall or use it for entertainment, he kills it. Meanwhile, the Earth itself gets no better treatment than the animals. Everything’s butchered to suit the man’s needs. In the end, he’s sat atop a wasteland. That’s Cutts’s story of our lives.
Cutts’s assessment of humanity’s journey is hard to argue with. Indeed, in 2017 scientists reported that the “biological annihilation” of wildlife over the past few decades has triggered the world’s sixth mass extinction event. They say this extinction event is caused by humans and amounts to the “erosion of biodiversity and of the ecosystem services essential to civilization”. That means our failure to appreciate the living world for anything other than its usefulness to us will eventually be our end. Go humanity.
There is, of course, another way. We can choose to reject that inhumanity is the necessary price of a tasty steak or milk and eggs to accompany our morning coffee. We can turn our back on educators who show no regard for our children’s futures by investing in fossil fuels. We’re able to dump dirty energy companies as well. We can learn through the internet about who is blocking our path to a sustainable world. Most of all, we can cast out political representatives who prioritise their donors, and their own, bottom line over our world. We can also ditch their rotten, corrupt systems too.
We can become a species to be proud of. And we can salvage this beautiful, diverse world. We just have to make the choice, in droves, to do so. As Roberts says “this is the moment”. Let’s seize it.
– Find out more about veganism with PETA.
– Join the renewable energy revolution.
– Take action with Fossil Free UK.
Featured image via BBC Newsnight/YouTube
We need your help to keep speaking the truth
Every story that you have come to us with; each injustice you have asked us to investigate; every campaign we have fought; each of your unheard voices we amplified; we do this for you. We are making a difference on your behalf.
Our fight is your fight. You’ve supported our collective struggle every time you gave us a like; and every time you shared our work across social media. Now we need you to support us with a monthly donation.
We have published nearly 2,000 articles and over 50 films in 2021. And we want to do this and more in 2022 but we don’t have enough money to go on at this pace. So, if you value our work and want us to continue then please join us and be part of The Canary family.
In return, you get:
* Advert free reading experience
* Quarterly group video call with the Editor-in-Chief
* Behind the scenes monthly e-newsletter
* 20% discount in our shop
Almost all of our spending goes to the people who make The Canary’s content. So your contribution directly supports our writers and enables us to continue to do what we do: speaking truth, powered by you. We have weathered many attempts to shut us down and silence our vital opposition to an increasingly fascist government and right-wing mainstream media.
With your help we can continue:
* Holding political and state power to account
* Advocating for the people the system marginalises
* Being a media outlet that upholds the highest standards
* Campaigning on the issues others won’t
* Putting your lives central to everything we do
We are a drop of truth in an ocean of deceit. But we can’t do this without your support. So please, can you help us continue the fight?