The sage Aristotle told us that credibility, what he called ethos, consisted of good sense, good will and good character. What he didn’t know is that these three components are essential to the whole eco system and our planet’s survival. Science has informed us that the earth has had more than one devastating massive loss of life. The most recent of these was the death of dinosaurs who roamed this continent and elsewhere for millions of years. It was likely a meteorite that crashed some 65 million years ago and blotted out the skies with its ash that took from food from these animals. The cause of their extinction is not certain, but they died off that is sure. None of us have seen anything but their bones.
The sum of ethos (good sense, goodwill and good character) had nothing to do with their shortened existence, but it will determine the life of this planet during the next few centuries. For the best science tell us that the next massive extinction of life will be due to human rather than meteor. During the millions of years of earth’s existence before humans came into the picture, “one species, on average, went extinct per every 10 million . . . that number has soared to between 100 and 1,000 species. (See “Earth May Be in Early Days of 6th Mass Extinction” by Laura Geggel, Staff Writer for Live Science, July 25, 2014.)
Species dying out upsets the balance of plants and animals. Warming results from massive use of fossil fuels belching into the sky and dries the rich lands, burns the forests, and floods the cities. We humans have not succeeded in cutting back on that exploiting what took millions of years to form. So it is that we mine tar sands, and coal-loaded trains coarse across this land and in such continents as Australia, ground is breaking for even larger mines.
Here is where character matters. Either we of faith and doubt have the collective good sense, good will and good character to think beyond short term of exploding population and exploiting our resources or those born after us will suffer.