Our world has lasted for eons. No animal, even the giant dinosaurs, ever threatened the planetary ecology as much as scientists are claiming we humans are. Mighty volcanoes have spewed millions of tons of noxious gases and dust and hot lava and only managed relatively short-term disturbances. Now, National Geographic is adding to the chorus of those asking for immediate life-style changes to prevent major long-term problems for the world. Most of us say, "OK, we'll change when we have to, but not yet. Things are still fine here in developed countries.'
I have been thinking about this and the analogy I come up with is volcanoes. Volcanoes are distributed around the world and sporadic. Not any more. Add up all the gases that come out of the smokestacks and exhaust pipes of our coal, natural gas, and petroleum powered machines and we are putting volcano sized emissions into the atmosphere every day. Mother Nature isn't set up to handle this constant, every increasing flow of CO2 and other gases. It is like another analogy - letting dishes pile up in the sink. We can't stop eating (world society of rising expectations) everyday but we can reduce the rate of growth of dishes in the sink (CO2 accumulation in the atmosphere with attendant temperature rise) so Mother Nature can start to work down the dirty dishes already there. Some diligence by all of us is necessary. Got diligence? That is a very real question.