Is a climate disaster inevitable? Adam Frank/NYTimes

Astrobiologist Adam Frank looks at climate change from a deep time perspective, and speculates that perhaps the reason we're having difficulty with adjusting is that it's a really hard problem that few if any civilizations in the history of time have managed to figure out. 

Frank points out that science now knows that virtually every star we see in the night sky has a system of planets, billions upon billions of which have come into existence. 

So where is everyone? Why do we seem to be so alone?

Hundreds of billions of planets translate into a lot of chances for evolving intelligent, technologically sophisticated species. So why don’t we see evidence for E.T.s everywhere?

The physicist Enrico Fermi first formulated this question, now called theFermi paradox, in 1950. But in the intervening decades, humanity has recognized that our own climb up the ladder of technological sophistication comes with a heavy price. From climate change to resource depletion, our evolution into a globe-spanning industrial culture is forcing us through the narrow bottleneck of a sustainability crisis. In the wake of this realization, new and sobering answers to Fermi’s question now seem possible.

Maybe we’re not the only ones to hit a sustainability bottleneck. Maybe not everyone — maybe no one — makes it to the other side.

It's a great little column: I fervently encourage you to read the whole thing

But on a deeper level, the column has a strangely calming aspect, because it takes away the blaming. We still have a chance of finding our way to safety. The bacteria felled by the Great Oxidation Event on the planet billions of years ago never did 

Here's an image from NASA: their rendition of the idea of astrobiology  apparently. Kewl. 

AstrobiologyNASA

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