February 9, 2020


I am fascinated by water bodies. Like rivers. When I am watching a river, or a canal, flow, I am enthralled by the volume of water crossing me every second. Water that has travelled thousands of kilometres and that continue to travel thousands of kilometres to reach its destination, which is often an ocean.

Oceans are another fascinating thing. So much water just being there, moving with tides and waves. The fluid allowed free movement in all aspects -the physics of all these movements. And just not that. Oceans cover three-quarters of the Earth surface. Well, I say oceans but honestly, there is only one water body there, isn't it? We like to call it seas, gulfs, bays, and oceans for our convenience but honestly, have you seen a boundary? I mean, where does Bay of Bengal ends and Indian ocean begins? It's like differentiating Europe and Asia as two different continents when they are really a part of the same landmass. Guess the Europeans didn't want to be bundle up with the Asians so insisted on creating two continents from one landmass. If they went by their own definition of the continent, they wouldn't have done so. It's not like having one big continent at that point would have affected anything (EU would have been named something else - that's all). But I digress. I was talking about the Ocean. The big water body that encompasses the majority of the Earth.

And it's not just that. It is expanding, the ocean that is. And I am not talking about climate change and associated sea-level rise, which are also happening. But that's a transient event for the 4 billion years old Earth that has seen many such events. I am talking about plate tectonics.

You see, in the plate-tectonics, there are convergent plate boundaries and there are divergent plate boundaries. Convergent plate boundaries are where two plates converge. This results in the destruction of one of the plate. Divergent plate boundaries are where a new plate is formed from the lava in the mantle.

Now a plate can be made of either have a continental crust or an oceanic crust. So there can be three different types of convergent plate boundaries. The convergence of a continental plate and an oceanic plate results in the destruction of the continental plate. The convergence of two continental plates results in the destruction of one continental plate (for example, the Indian plate is submerging under the Eurasian plate). The convergence of two oceanic plates results in the destruction of one of the oceanic plate.

But when it comes to constructing a new plate, divergent boundaries only create the oceanic crust. There is no continental crust being created anywhere.

So basically, the continental crust is getting destroyed inch by inch every year on the Earth but not created. It's like continents are on a self destruct mode at a very very slow pace.

Every time I see or read a sci-fi about Earth's final end, in the back of my mind I always have this picture where the planet has turned all blue with no brown and green of continents left. Would evolution make life crawl back to the ocean? Or, would life simply evolve in the ocean while life on continents gets destroyed? Which species will survive, which will die out? Or would the life itself die out? Who knows?

We are still trying to figure out the transient climate change crisis.

PS: Okay, I will bite. Climate Change. So the argument has been made (yes, I am intentionally using passive voice) that to "stop" the current climate change crisis, we should stop almost all Economic growth. Let's play this out. We stop industrial activities, which by the way should include Electric vehicles, computers, telecommunications but guess they will call me extremist for such view so let's be moderate. Let's stop Economic growth which may trigger a recession.  As the economy slows and goes into recession, unemployment will increase. The lower and middle class will be affected badly. We won't be able to create new jobs. However, as the population continues to grow, we have more people joining the workforce. This will increase unemployment further.

Guess all of them will get unemployment benefit which countries will no longer be able to afford due to recession. Guess we can always mint more money. This will increase inflation. As the price for necessities like food, housing increase and still no jobs, this may, and it's just me thinking aloud, instigate riots. But again I am being negative. Say this doesn't happen. But countries don't have resource, money, equipment, industry. The sea level is still rising because you know what, stopping Economic growth and reducing our carbon footprint to zero is not going to stop climate change. So as the sea level rise we don't have money, resource, equipment to ensure we can safeguard our coastal population. The unpredictable climate will impact agriculture so food prices will rise even further. At some point or the other, riots will break out. Everywhere. I hope you can live with the loss of those human lives across the globe. I hope you can imagine the helplessness of those people. Because you are making this choice. For those who say that Economic growth is not necessary, my friend, you need to stop population growth before stopping Economic growth.

It's like we are nailing our feet to the ground, throwing away our weapons, and cutting off our hands when a predator is approaching us so that we can't run or defend ourselves when we are finally attacked. I know a predator is a bad metaphor here but that's how this situation feels like. If anything, we need a strong Economic growth all around the globe and divert the focus of the growth and benefits toward being prepared for the upcoming crisis. That's the only way out. It's going to be a hell of a ride. It doesn't matter how the crisis got started, it only matters that it's coming.

But you know what, it doesn't matter. When I encounter the end of the Earth scenarios and imagine a blue Earth and wonder about what life would be at that point, I always come back to reality with the thought that I will be long gone by then. This is the same situation. I will be long gone by the time all this happens. So please carry on. Don't mind me.