Environmentalists have long flagged anthropocentrism as a major problem in our treatment of the planet. So it caught me off guard when I found a sentiment of unrestrained anthropocentrism in my 2014 World Wildlife Fund “Living Calendar”. Yes, I am low tech when it comes to my day planner. I eschew use of a smart phone, opting instead to keep my scheduling in a paper calendar that WWF sends me every year (a very modest fringe benefit for being a regular donor).
Today I turned to July to check my schedule when I saw a quote printed from Chrissie Hynde (the environmentalist lead singer of “The Pretenders”). It read:
“One person can make all the difference in the world. For the first time in recorded human history, we have the fate of the whole planet in our hands.”
This is nothing more than unchecked hubris. Human beings don’t hold “the fate of the whole planet in our hands”. Sure, we can have (and are having) a huge impact on the planet. But earth isn’t going anywhere. Even if we make the world uninhabitable for human beings, earth will still be here, and life will still persist. Think, for example, of the lowly tardigrade (aka “waterbear”) a tiny eight-legged creature which can survive being frozen, boiled, and even live in outer space for more than a week.