It may not work this time: scientists have discovered an evolutionary flaw in humanity that threatens catastrophe
Thanks to our ability to evolve, humanity has been able to cope with any global crises that have come our way throughout the existence of our species. But there is a flaw that may prevent us from coping with one of the greatest challenges in history.
This is according to a study by scientists who have been studying human evolution. They sought to understand whether humanity can meet the challenge posed by the growing climate crisis.
Dr. Tim Waring, an assistant professor at the University of Maine in the United States, and his colleagues Eors Satmari and Zach Wood published their findings in the scientific journal Philosophical Transaction, warning that there are both encouraging and depressing results.
"I want to add hope for humanity, but the point of this paper is not to be artificially positive, but to accurately describe the challenge we face," Waring told Euronews.
During their research, the scientists analyzed the resources that people used, the impact they had on the environment, and the development of cultural characteristics over the past 100,000 years.
They found that humanity has successfully found solutions to the problems it has faced time and time again, so it is not surprising that people have the impression that the climate change crisis will not be a problem either. But this is probably where the public is wrong.
The authors of the study found that traditionally, our response to crises has been to use resources more intensively and on a larger scale when we needed them. But in the case of the climate crisis, our main task is to reduce the consumption of resources that lead to the greenhouse effect, which can turn the Earth into a hellish world.
Another flaw of humanity is that our species usually finds the right solution only when problems are already out of control. In the context of climate change, this may not work, as we have only one planet to live on.
Waring noted that international efforts to counter global warming, such as the Montreal Protocol to protect the ozone layer, are important, as are efforts that have been made to benefit local, sub-global groups such as countries and companies.
But, according to the scientist, we have demonstrated the ability to solve problems between groups in the past, but now we are facing a crisis of such scale and complexity as never before. Therefore, solutions must be truly global, "even if it is against the interests of existing groups."
At the same time, the authors of the study do not consider climate change to be a problem that humanity will be unable to solve. For example, things would be much worse if we had to deal with the destruction of ecosystems that could occur if the climate crisis is not overcome.
"We've been destroying species, poisoning and altering the environment around the world for a long time, and we don't know how this might affect the stability of the ecological system," Waring explained.
But even solving the climate crisis will not create a completely safe space for humanity, as we will need to keep an eye on our evolutionary characteristics and prevent competition for resources, as the planet is no longer as healthy as it used to be.
Researchers are concerned that there is no way around this destructive behavior that once made us one of the most advanced species on the planet.
"There is no long-term solution for human evolution on the planet that doesn't involve unpleasant conflict, and we have to try to solve this problem," Waring emphasized.
He noted that the model of cooperation and coordination that humanity has used over the past millennia has proven to be unsustainable. Therefore, if humanity wants to survive as a species, it must change the way it develops.
To do this, scientists write, systems of self-restraint and market regulation must appear to "bind human groups around the planet even more closely into a functional unit."