According to Fermi’s Paradox the apparent absence to date of observable extra-terrestrial intelligent life suggests the lifetime of technological civilizations may not be long, consistent with Carl Sagan’s estimate of relatively short life span of intelligent species which discover the means of self-annihilation. As the nuclear arms race began to escalate again in the late 1970s, Sagan became increasingly concerned about the life expectancy of our own civilization. The proliferation of nuclear, chemical and biological weapons and of wars around the world in the 20-21st centuries, as well as currently, testifying to the relevance of Fermi’s paradox for the likelihood of a near-term omnicide of our war-like civilization.

Nuclear Test

Figure 1. The French “Licome” thermos-nuclear test at Mururoa Atoll on 3 July 1970

That humans are capable of committing the most horrendous crimes toward each other, other species and nature, including mass exterminations, is demonstrated during the last century by the Nazi concentration camps and genocidal conflicts such as in Viet Nam, Cambodia, Rwanda, Yemen, the list goes on …

Following Hiroshima and Nagasaki the rising prospects of a nuclear war, with consequent firestorms, radiation from fallout, a nuclear winter, and electromagnetic pulses are looming ever greater. According to Robock and Toon (2012) paper “Self-assured destruction: The climate impacts of nuclear war“, a thermonuclear war could result in the end of modern civilization, in part due to a long-lasting nuclear winter and the destruction of crops. In one model the average temperature of Earth during a nuclear winter, where black smoke from cities and industries rise into the upper stratosphere, lowers global temperatures by 7 – 8° Celsius for several years.

Yuri Khariton

Figure 2. Yuri Khariton, the Russian nuclear physicist, next to “Tsar Bomba”, a 58 megaton hydrogen bomb, exploded at Novaya Zemlya.

The effects of global heating are as severe as well as longer term. As stated by Hansen et al. (2012)Burning all fossil fuels would create a different planet than the one that humanity knows. The palaeoclimate record and ongoing climate change make it clear that the climate system would be pushed beyond tipping points, setting in motion irreversible changes, including ice sheet disintegration with a continually adjusting shoreline, extermination of a substantial fraction of species on the planet, and increasingly devastating regional climate extremes

A global nuclear war, with consequent radioactive environment in the background of an accelerating carbon saturation of the atmosphere and global heating, can only lead to the demise of the biosphere. The propensity of “sapiens” for genocide and ecocide, culminating in the Nazi gas chambers, the nuclear arms race , the destruction of the atmosphere, the mass extinction of species and the basic life support systems of the planet, are hardly  masked by the spate of hollow words and Orwellian untruths by politicians and the bulk of the media, divorced from morality and any action to avert the demise of life on Earth as we know it.

Whereas the ultimate consequences of global heating could occur within a century, including temperature polarities such as heat waves and cooling of large ocean regions by ice melt flow from Antarctica and Greenland ice sheets (Gikson 2019), a nuclear war on the scale of the MAD (Mutual Assured Destruction) can erupt on a time scale of minutes …

On July 16, 1945, witnessing the atomic test at the Trinity site, New Mexico, Robert Oppenheimer, the chief nuclear scientist, cited the Hindu scripture of Shiva from the Bhagavad Gita: “Now I am become Death, the destroyer of worlds”.

Sadly the behaviour of “Sapiens” is providing evidence for Fermi’s paradox in terms of species’ self-destruction, unless humans can wake up in time???


Figure 3. Robert Oppenheimer and Albert Einstein in 1947.

As stated by Albert Einstein “The splitting of the atom has changed everything, except for man’s way of thinking, and thus we drift into unparalleled catastrophes.”

A/Professor Andrew Glikson, Earth and climate scientist

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