The worst extinction event to ever happen was 252 Million years ago: the Permian-Triassic Event, when 90% of all species were wiped out. The estimated loss was so devastating, scientists nicknamed it “The Great Dying." Vertebrates would take 30 Million years to adequately recover--and another 222 million for them to legalize gay marriage, but you know, baby steps.
There have been five major extinction events in the world’s history, and rumor is we’re in the midst of the 6th right now. It already has a name: The Holocene Extinction Event. 72 species have gone extinct since 1800. If that doesn’t sound like a lot, that’s because it is only 0.0008% of the Earth’s estimated 8.7 million species. But guys, that’s like 360,000 species per million years--which is 4% of our species in the first million years of this Event--and extinction events can last as long 20 million years! Losing 4% every million years for 20 million years (assuming a steady rate) is an 80% loss. Only 10% away from The Great Dying, the worst extinction event the Earth has ever experienced.
Luckily, this dude Edward O. Wilson, Harvard Biologist, has an idea. What is unique about the Holocene Event is that most of it is caused directly by us landscaping, shaping and manicuring the planet to fit our needs, rather than let it follow its own natural progression. Wilson wants to clear humans away from half the land surface of the planet in strategic areas, and allow it to “re-wild” itself.
Now that is a gorgeous idea. One half of the planet converted into globally-protected wilderness. Endangered species restoring and thriving, indigenous flora replenishing and blooming, letting Mother Nature grow that bush out. No more obligatory ladyscaping, because hell yes down with the patriarchy, right?
How do we pick who's going to move? Not everyone has to move to someplace new, in his proposal some humans can stay where they are as land custodians and wilderness caretakers; but once the re-wilding areas are chosen most are going to have to kick rocks in order to clear that land, and go live in hyper-concentrated areas.
Wilson hasn’t explicitly provided his whole proposed solution yet, it comes out in book form in 2016. But for our purposes (looking at just North America) assuming we capitalize on the areas most likely to replenish with the most rapidity and yield the best returns:
- The Great Appalachian Valley to the east stretches from Quebec to Alabama for 1,300 miles.
- The Western Wildway creeps down the west coast from Canada through to Mexico and should be 6,000 miles of uninterrupted woods.
- The Boreal Forest (the world’s most vast natural biome) chases across the top of Canada and Alaska, covering over 3 million square kilometers (kilometers because Canada). Covering 60% of Canadian land.
Attention white people: Please form an orderly line.
It is long past time for a comeuppance. We simply don’t deserve to stay. The Earth needs that land. It is her destiny. She might even say it is so obvious a destiny as to be...Manifest?
The “Krispy Kreme Shuffle” is upon us! (Protip, make it sound like a trendy 5k run and fewer of us will resist.)
We must walk away from our homes--we must walk because A) Trail of Tears karma; and B) millions of soccer Moms & Dads across North America freaking out in their unnecessary SUVs, all choking the roads at once would punch a hole in the Ozone layer the size of Donald Trump’s ego-- we must walk with only what we can carry (so we cause as little caucasian damage to our surroundings as possible) to the designated settlements that have been carefully selected for us. Everyone outside that designated area, everyone who gets to keep as they are, is going to be setting up the live streams, getting their fantasy teams rolling and placing their Survivor bets: Caspers vs. Snowflakes, Mormons vs. Hipsters. Because they know--they KNOW--without all our privilege, we’re gonna get cranky. And when White People get cranky we get hella selfish. Put us in there on Sunday, we’ll be cannibalizing each other by Wednesday. There isn’t a food shortage or anything, we’re just that shitty to each other.
Meanwhile, with the most annoying 46.2% of the entire continent's population contained, we are helping the planet slowly take her first deep breaths. Years pass. To the East, the grasses are flourishing, the lakes are clearing. To the West the birds are singing, and the wolves have returned to boost the ecosystem. To the North the forest is compounding its lush life and stretching its sinewy arms, the canopy aglow, leaves twinkling in the afternoon sunlight. The susurration of wind through branches, the natural symphony of the Earth, restoring.
And her caretakers, returning after a long beautiful day among the flora and fauna, kick the dust or the dirt, the ice or the sand from their heels; and they sit down with their families, safe and warm. And they’ll sometimes think back on the Legend of the Great Krispy Kreme Shuffle of 2015; and they’ll reflect on the fact that it was indeed a difficult time for humanity. But then they will rejoice. Because in all those years since, no one will have made another Fantastic Four movie. So all truly will be right with the world.