Alliance for Mystical Pragmatics

Alliance for Mystical Pragmatics

Harmonizing Evolutionary Convergence

Glossary Menus

climate change

The purpose of this page is to put the climate changes and extremes we have been experiencing during the past few decades into a much broader time perspective than the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) normally presents the climate changes that are likely to happen during the lifetimes of the younger generations.

In turn, these charts need to be seen in the context of some fourteen billion years of evolution, the four and half billion years of the history of the Earth, set into their geological timeframe, and the three and half billion years of the evolution of the species.

It is also essential to note that in Panosophy, which is an expression of Wholeness, there is a primary-secondary relationship between the vertical and horizontal dimensions of time. For, otherwise, there is a tendency to put the cart before the horse, and we are unable to resolve the existential crisis humankind faces today.

The chart on the left above illustrates the extremes of temperature on Earth during the most recent Phanerozoic Eon, consisting of the Paleozoic, Mesozoic, and Cenozoic Eras. If we map the evolution of self-reproducing forms of life to the days of the year, as David Attenborough did in Life on Earth in 1979, this period approximately corresponds to the last two months of the year. And because evolution is an accumulative process, developing exponentially under constraint, it is during the Phanerozoic Eon that we have seen the steady growth in the complexity of the structure of the species, interspersed with seven mass extinctions.

The next chart, above right, illustrates the way that global temperatures have changed since the extinction of the dinosaurs and the emergence of primates, with more primitive mammals having survived this mass extinction. First the Antarctic became glaciated, with the northern hemisphere following nearly three million years ago, around the beginning of the Quaternary Period, when the Homo genus emerged.

In what is now called the Ice Age, temperatures then plummeted to levels that had not been seen since the second half of the Paleozoic Era, with a number of interglacial peaks, as the chart on the left below illustrates. These peaks seem to have appeared very rapidly, but it typically took around 750 years for temperatures to rise just 1°C. This is much slower than the rate of global warming we have been experiencing since about 1750 and the beginning of the industrial revolution, which has provided many of us with marvellous creature comforts that our earlier forebears could not even imagine.

The Last Glacial Maximum (LGM) occurred about 20,000 years ago, when the global sea level was more than 100 metres lower than it is today, and glaciers covered approximately 8% of Earth’s surface. This is most noticeable in Sweden, where the melting of a kilometre or two of ice has enabled land to rise by two or three hundred metres on both the East and West coasts.

Since the LGM, the average global temperature has risen rapidly, until it reached a peak about nine to twelve thousand years ago, as the above chart on the right indicates. What some call an ‘interglacial period’ has then enabled our forebears to settle in village communities to cultivate the land and domesticate animals. For, during the Holocene Epoch, global temperatures have been remarkably steady, as the major civilizations in the patriarchal epoch emerged.

What is likely to happen during the rest of this century and beyond is very much dependent on who we listen to. For, despite scientists’ claims for objectivity, with a few notable exceptions, there is an unwillingness to present the facts that many do not want to hear, mostly because of our cultural conditioning. Seeking to be as rational as possible, without going into the emotional controversy around this existential crisis, here are two charts showing the areas of sea ice in the Arctic Ocean and the Antarctic as we approached the March equinox of 2023. The Antarctic was at a record low, and the Arctic was also near the record low from 2022.

My best understanding of these charts is that the melting of Antarctic Sea ice is having its more immediate effect on rising sea levels, while the melting of Arctic Sea ice potentially affects rising global temperatures. So, while the former mainly affects low-lying islands in the oceans and coastal regions on the continents, the latter’s effects are likely to affect nearly all living creatures on Earth, as the habitat that we need to survive is destroyed.

Exactly when this is likely to happen is difficult to ascertain, for short-term trends are rather erratic, as this NASA chart indicates. For instance, the minimum area of Arctic Sea ice plummeted by over 40% between 2006 and 2012, with an upwards spike in the middle. However, even though the March 2022 sea-ice area was the lowest ever at the spring equinox, during the following six months, sea-ice levels did not fall quite so precipitously as before.

Nevertheless, the National Academy of Science in the United States of America published a peer-reviewed paper in December 2018, indicating that by 2030, temperatures could have risen to a similar level as in the mid-Pliocene Epoch, about three million years ago, and that by 2200 they could have risen by over ten degrees, similar to temperatures during the Eocene Epoch, around fifty million years ago. Here is a chart from their paper, also reported in Newsweek at the time.

One reason for the rapid rise in global temperatures is that ice sheets in both the Arctic and Antarctic are melting with increasing rapidity from beneath, with ‘heat bombs’, as members of the Scripps Institution of Oceanography reported in April 2021. So, not only is the area of sea ice diminishing, so is the thickness of the ice.

Dozens of self-reinforcing feedback loops, such as the release of methane gas, are also having a major effect, melting sea ice from above, as Guy McPherson has been pointing out for the past ten years, with few willing to listen to what he has been saying. For such positive feedback loops are accumulative, following the same S-shape of the exponential growth curve as evolutionary processes.

Reducing pollution levels in the post-industrial Information and Knowledge Society, which began to emerge around 1980, does not help, for smoke particles in the atmosphere are actually slowing down the rate of global warming because of the aerosol-masking effect, also called global-dimming. We are past the tipping point, as near-term, abrupt global heating is irreversible.

However, what could help us come to terms with our inevitable demise as a species is a much deeper and more extensive understanding of humanity’s place within the overall scheme of things, illustrated in the Grand Design of the Universe. Most especially, it is vitally important not to blame our fellow human beings for what is happening to us all as a species.

For our behaviour patterns are guided by exactly the same creative energies that brought all the stars, atoms, plants, and animals into existence, as this hyperlinked Glossary explains by going to the root meanings of many words.

Most significantly, it is vitally important to note we are living at a time when the exponential rate of evolutionary change on Earth has passed through its Accumulation Point. So, while anthropogenic climate change appears to be human-driven—much faster than past geophysical events—we humans are actually the products of some fourteen billion years of evolution since the most recent big bang.

We need to bear this in mind when reading reports in the spring of 2023 that the impending El Niño-Southern Oscillation (ENSO) is likely to drive the temperatures of the oceans to record levels during the winter of 2023–2024.

The key point to note about all of this is that humankind is not immortal and that the primary way to come to terms with our mortality is to complete the Cosmogonic Cycle in the Eternal Now, as Joseph Campbell brilliantly described in his best-selling book The Hero with a Thousand Faces.

But with the vast majority preoccupied with their families, occupations, and other projects, to what extent communities could come together to support each other and share resources during these end times we live in, focusing attention on the psychospiritual and psychosocial dimensions of our lives, is still the great unknown.


See climate and change.

Common ancestor(s):