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View Diary: New study forecasts mass extinction in 100 years due to Climate Change (226 comments)

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  •  How sad and tragic. Thanks for letting us (50+ / 0-)

    know this bad news beach babe.

    How discouraging that not only to we have to overcome the usual obstacles to rallying collective action to problems where the consequences are delayed in time, but to have the additional obstacles of having to fight against GOP obstructionists who oppose a carbon tax and other proposed solutions as a matter of ideology.

    The means is the ends in the process of becoming. - Mahatma Gandhi

    by HoundDog on Tue Jan 08, 2013 at 01:57:26 PM PST

    •  Actually, many Dems also oppose a carbon tax, as.. (11+ / 0-)

      ...a working class family spends far more on energy than do the Larry Ellison's of the US.

      And you'd be surprised at how many GOPers support the carbon tax, such as Romney's chief economic adviser..

      http://blogs.wsj.com/...

      At yesterday’s Deals & Deal Makers Conference in New York, Glenn Hubbard, the Columbia Business School Dean and former Bush administration economic adviser, argued in favor of a carbon tax. “I believe that technology is the vital solution to fixing the problems of climtae change,” he told the Journal’s David Wessel in the video embedded at left.

      The GOPers that do support the tax do so b/c they realize that the government needs more money, but they don't want the really wealthy to pay their fair share.  

      So they see the carbon tax as a way for the working poor and middle-class to pay more.

      Learn about Centrist Economics, learn about Robert Rubin's Hamilton Project. www.hamiltonproject.org

      by PatriciaVa on Tue Jan 08, 2013 at 02:24:02 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  The government will need another broad tax (11+ / 0-)

        And, given the choice between payroll, VAT and carbon tax, I'll take a carbon tax any day of the week.

        It doesn't necessarily mean the working poor spending more either, so long as a large share of the proceeds go into supporting energy-efficient solutions.  You know, like grants to put triple-pane windows in your house, or better mass transit, or all manner of creative things like (brainstorming here . . ) EV pickup truck-sharing in rural areas where people actually need an F-150-size vehicle for runs to the lumber yard where there's no delivery service.

        You see, a carbon tax, properly deployed, would prevent the working poor of, say, southern Appalachia, from having to run a fuel-oil-eating 40-year-old furnace in a house with leaky single-pane windows and no attic insulation.  Their 50 cents a gallon extra for gas would cover a complete makeover of that house that would cut their utility bills by thousands a year.

        •  Why not a graduated tax on Wealth? (4+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          flitedocnm, lurkyloo, Lujane, phonegery

          Starting at 1% for households with net worth of 50M, to 8% annually for the likes of Warren Buffet and Larry Ellison.

          Given that wealth and income inequality is as bad as it's been since 1929, I can't understand how any Kossack can support a tax (whether Cap and Trade, Carbon Tax or VAT) that will further exacerbate that inequality.

          Decisivemoment, your argument regarding the working poor is the same argument that the Mexican oligarchy makes regarding consumption taxes in that country.  They concede that raising the 16% national sales tax will hit the poorest the most, but argue that the increased spending will benefit them the most.  It was false when they first said so in 1970, and it's false today, with inequality far worse than that year.

          And neither do I believe that you can craft a carbon tax in the US that will result in the working poor and middle-class being better off.

          Again, if we want more revenue, let's spearhead an effort to tax wealth.

          The same way brave Dem pols did so decades ago, in a successful effort to tax income.

          Learn about Centrist Economics, learn about Robert Rubin's Hamilton Project. www.hamiltonproject.org

          by PatriciaVa on Tue Jan 08, 2013 at 03:41:50 PM PST

          [ Parent ]

          •  What's your solution for carbon emissions then? (2+ / 0-)

            Would you support carbon rationing?  I agree that we should tax the wealthy, but that doesn't help with carbon at all.

            The revolution will not be televised. But it will be blogged, a lot. Probably more so than is necessary.

            by AoT on Tue Jan 08, 2013 at 03:44:00 PM PST

            [ Parent ]

            •  I like James Hansen carbon tax solution.... (5+ / 0-)

              http://www.carbontax.org/...

              The money collected via this fee would be distributed to the public as a monthly “dividend” or “green check.”  Distributing all of the revenue equitably to households will ensure that families can afford the energy they need during the transition to a clean energy future, and it should help win public support for a rising carbon fee.

              Macca's Meatless Monday

              by VL Baker on Tue Jan 08, 2013 at 03:51:17 PM PST

              [ Parent ]

            •  Former EPA director said..... (2+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:
              Lujane, grahamcstrouse
              Jackson Confirms EPA Chart Showing No Effect on Climate Without China, India

              July 7, 2009

              Contact: Matt Dempsey matt_dempsey@epw.senate.gov  (202)224-9797

              Jackson Confirms EPA Chart Showing No Effect on Climate Without China, India

              http://epw.senate.gov/...

              "I believe the central parts of the [EPA] chart are that U.S. action alone will not impact world CO2 levels," Administrator Jackson said.  

              Furthermore, I wish more Kossacks would credit Dem policies for reducing the per/capita CO2 emissions in the US by 5% since 1990.  During that same time frame, countries in Asia have increased per/capita emissions by as much as 300%.

              The US is not the problem with respect to climate change.

              Learn about Centrist Economics, learn about Robert Rubin's Hamilton Project. www.hamiltonproject.org

              by PatriciaVa on Tue Jan 08, 2013 at 03:53:37 PM PST

              [ Parent ]

              •  Yes, it is a problem and people like you (6+ / 0-)

                are part of the problem.  I'll make sure and point out in every one of these diaries that you have no solution.

                Hide your head in the sand and blame others if you want to, the rest of us are trying to fix the problem.

                The revolution will not be televised. But it will be blogged, a lot. Probably more so than is necessary.

                by AoT on Tue Jan 08, 2013 at 03:57:04 PM PST

                [ Parent ]

                •  I don't think you are . . . (9+ / 0-)

                  Nor are we humans, in any category or political party or nationality you put us. I've read dozens of diaries like this one. They each get more dire, more factual, more certain in the desperate and deadly end of this climbing carbon saturation of our air and oceans.

                  And all I hear people arguing about is minimalist things like carbon taxes and whom will pay how much, cap and trade, rationing, electric cars, walkable cities, roof gardens, eating locally, going carbon-neutral -- ENOUGH!

                  not even all of that, taken to the limit, will be enough.

                  We need a paradigm shift. We need to look at ourselves.

                  The obscenity of our species is that our technology far outpaces our ethics. We simply claim the right to take whole ecosystems away from their natural owners for our comfort and to pad our bottom lines. We destroy the very lungs of our planet in order to make a few of us multi-multi-billionaires. We assault the only living environment we share  in every way we can think to do just to funnel the profits up to a very, very few, who are allowed the privilege of owning more money, personally, than a million humans could reasonably need in their entire lifetimes.

                  On the day that the first Trillionaire is announced in Forbes or the WSJ, that day will write the epitaph of our species. Or our tombstone will simply say, "They didn't realize that you can't eat money."

                  There is currently an estimated $21 to $30 Trillion of private wealth squirreled away around the world, doing nothing but generating more of itself through speculation, doing nothing but incest while the world burns.

                  The solution to our coming century or two of disasters beyond comprehension is to reclaim this private money already filched from the masses, and divide it into two piles.

                  One pile goes to all of the above conservation and stop-spewing-CO2 solutions. Anything that genuinely helps the spewing is okay. Including not permitting any human to become, personally, more than a millionaire. Personal wealth beyond that level is meaningless to a human, but deadly to humanity. So 90% tax rates will become normal.

                  The other pile is to build either geothermal or thorium-salt energy plants all over the planet whose sole purpose is to suck existing CO2 out of the atmosphere, and out of the oceans, and fuse it into carbon blocks that can either be sunk in the ocean or used to build permanent cities for people.

                  Why wait around hundreds of years for the effects of the CO2 already shat into our atmosphere to wear away? If we, as a species, don't catch on that we can and must go back and clean up the mess we've made, we don't deserve to be called intelligent.

                  •  I agree but it is never going to happen. I used (1+ / 0-)
                    Recommended by:
                    Becky Badger

                    to believe that the more humans learned about climate change, we would be able to do something. But it is like Jared Diamond says in his book Collapse when analyzing the destruction that led to the end of humans on Easter Island.  Her says something like you have to wonder what the person who cut down the last tree was thinking.

                    Sorry, just listened to an excerpt of that batshit looney Alex Jones ranting about the government not taking his guns and also learned today that there are wingnuts loonies who believe the Newtown shooting was staged by that über master pupeteer Obama.  I mean really who are we kidding that this shit will stop?  It seems to me we are witnessing more and more lunacy these days.

                    Well, I hope to be more optimistic tomorrow morning.

                    Speak softly and carry a big can of tuna.

                    by Cat Whisperer on Tue Jan 08, 2013 at 08:13:34 PM PST

                    [ Parent ]

                  •  To me, the fact that fracking is (3+ / 0-)

                    legal is one of the most depressing signs that there will be no real solutions to the problems we face.  It will be a case of too little, too late.  

                    Time is a long river.

                    by phonegery on Wed Jan 09, 2013 at 03:23:34 AM PST

                    [ Parent ]

                  •  I don't think you're in any position (0+ / 0-)

                    to tell me what I am or am not doing.  Please dial back your assumptions.

                    The revolution will not be televised. But it will be blogged, a lot. Probably more so than is necessary.

                    by AoT on Wed Jan 09, 2013 at 11:16:03 AM PST

                    [ Parent ]

              •  Better gas mileage accounts for most (5+ / 0-)

                of the decrease in emissions in the U.S.  Most of that is because consumers see the economic value of better gas mileage given the high cost of fuel.  

                Of course, with fracking the U.S. is on its way to becoming the new Saudi Arabia, so fuel costs should fall in the coming year.  

                Taxing gasoline at higher rates is probably the best thing we could do to lower emissions here.  It is hard to imagine China and India doing the same, though.

                Switching to solar power and electric vehicles is the best long term hope.

                The sleep of reason brings forth monsters. --Goya

                by MadScientist on Tue Jan 08, 2013 at 04:11:48 PM PST

                [ Parent ]

                •  most of decrease in US actually comes from (3+ / 0-)
                  Recommended by:
                  salamanderempress, Just Bob, Creosote

                  the effects of the recession with reduced output.   And there is some reduction in driving with people using public transport and bikes.   We need to reform industrial agriculture that would help immensely.  

                  Macca's Meatless Monday

                  by VL Baker on Tue Jan 08, 2013 at 06:38:45 PM PST

                  [ Parent ]

                  •  Beach (3+ / 0-)

                    Although it does not impact you primary argument, actually miles driven per person have been decreasing since well before the recession began and has continued at the same rate since it ended.

                    I have written here in Daily Kos and elsewhere about the technological and resulting social changes that are causing that. Although many may consider this a good thing and cannot hurt, it really does not help much in addressing the central concern of your post.

                    Good post.

              •  And you're spreading right wing talking points (6+ / 0-)

                The US can't do it alone, but the world can't do it without us.  You would destroy us.

                The revolution will not be televised. But it will be blogged, a lot. Probably more so than is necessary.

                by AoT on Tue Jan 08, 2013 at 04:19:16 PM PST

                [ Parent ]

              •  The US contribution to the climate problem (5+ / 0-)

                is not just what we use or conserve. It is our per capita production, reflecting our standard of living, that the Asian countries are now starting to equal - as they become more industrialized, use more energy, drive more motorized vehicles more miles.

                Whether they will change course is obviously an issue. How much we change our consumption, and the technology to do so, can influence other nations to adopt better energy policies and regulations.

                "People, even more than things, have to be restored, renewed, revived, reclaimed and redeemed; never throw out anyone. " Audrey Hepburn "A Beautiful Woman"

                by Ginny in CO on Tue Jan 08, 2013 at 06:29:12 PM PST

                [ Parent ]

        •  If we adopted MMT (0+ / 0-)

          We could do away with "needing taxes" to spend money.. since we really don't

          Government creates money via spending and destroys it via taxation

          •  What is MMT? (0+ / 0-)

            And how does taxation destroy money? Given that we run a deficit, every single penny that comes in as taxes immediately goes out in the form of spending. The fact that the government is the one doing the spending doesn't really matter.

            If we had a public surplus and the government was stashing the money in Ft. Knox I could see your point, but as it is I don't see it.

      •  You haven't seen Ellison's bill for jet fuel eom (0+ / 0-)

        America—We built that!

        by Mokurai on Tue Jan 08, 2013 at 05:18:15 PM PST

        [ Parent ]

      •  The billionaires must believe that because of..... (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        phonegery

        ......their exalted status they are somehow immune to the effects of mass extinction.  They are in for a f*ck'n big surprise.  No amount of their ill-gotten fortunes will save them from the same fate as the rest of humanity: extinction.

    •  This comes across as misleading and (20+ / 0-)

      scientifically illiterate.

      We are already in a mass extinction--it's called the Holocene extinction.  It is strongly correlated with the anthropogenic loss of wildlife habitat.  In other words, regardless of climate change, a gigantic percentage of the world's species are likely to die off at current rates of land use.

      It is totally true that climate change could make this far worse, but it's not a choice between two extremes before us.  There is a wide spectrum, a range of possibilities, with great uncertainty.

      Invasive species are already causing a great number of extinctions.  The commentator's native Florida has a well-known and surging human minority of willful whackos and druggies who have already destroyed one of the oldest trees in the SE, decimated bird populations in the Everglades thanks to introduced species like exotic snails and the Gian African Snail, (introduced twice) and probably ruined the aquifer affecting untold scores of biota.  That's just a few examples of why Florida has the second highest rate of extinctions in the U.S.

      Climate change is certainly an important issue--it's a fundamental crisis for the civilizations of the planet and for the biodiversity of the biosphere. But that's not the whole story.

      Governments care only as much as their citizens force them to care. Nothing changes unless we change.

      by Nulwee on Tue Jan 08, 2013 at 02:57:19 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  Correction: (5+ / 0-)

        that should read, and additionally, the Giant African Snail (it is not a predator to birds)

        Governments care only as much as their citizens force them to care. Nothing changes unless we change.

        by Nulwee on Tue Jan 08, 2013 at 03:01:55 PM PST

        [ Parent ]

        •  These are important points. (5+ / 0-)

          I agree that mass extinctions can have a number of anthropogenic causes ranging from introducing tree pathogens by importing infected trees to estrogens in waste water, but climate change will be one of the major nails in the coffin.
          The French national history museum in Paris has a huge hall of extinct animals. I am old enough to remember quite a few of them on display in zoos.

          "We are monkeys with money and guns". Tom Waits

          by northsylvania on Tue Jan 08, 2013 at 03:22:18 PM PST

          [ Parent ]

          •  i believe the study i referenced was (10+ / 0-)

            including all life on Earth.   With extinction possible for our species as we know it.  you don't think that's news?

            Macca's Meatless Monday

            by VL Baker on Tue Jan 08, 2013 at 03:27:12 PM PST

            [ Parent ]

            •  Yes I do. (6+ / 0-)

              But I don't think our extinction is that much more important than the extinction of, say, polar bears or frogs. Don't get me wrong, I like humans, but they should be one species among many.

              "We are monkeys with money and guns". Tom Waits

              by northsylvania on Tue Jan 08, 2013 at 03:38:06 PM PST

              [ Parent ]

              •  i agree. that's one of the main reasons i don't (6+ / 0-)

                eat animals.    we are animals too.

                Macca's Meatless Monday

                by VL Baker on Tue Jan 08, 2013 at 03:45:54 PM PST

                [ Parent ]

                •  Well said. (1+ / 0-)
                  Recommended by:
                  BlueDragon

                  "We are monkeys with money and guns". Tom Waits

                  by northsylvania on Tue Jan 08, 2013 at 03:48:12 PM PST

                  [ Parent ]

                •  and eating animals contributes to global warming (4+ / 0-)

                  especially eating cows.

                  •  BINGO!!!! A MAJOR CONTRIBUTOR!!!!! n/t (1+ / 0-)
                    Recommended by:
                    cocinero

                    Macca's Meatless Monday

                    by VL Baker on Tue Jan 08, 2013 at 06:40:25 PM PST

                    [ Parent ]

                  •  Eating cows or animals raised in the industrial (1+ / 0-)
                    Recommended by:
                    grahamcstrouse

                    model surely. Animals raised with holistic land management- shifting paddocks, mob grazing, integrated whole farm design- mimic the impact of undomesticated grazing animals and increases the land's resiliency by utilizing the symbiotic relationship that evolved between grazers and their food.

                    Eating animals which are raised in factory farms and fed everything from indigestable corn and gummy bears to drug cocktails is an enormous problem.

                    However, this blanket assertion that animals, particularly cows, are always a problem needs to stop because it isn't true.

                    It also reflects an unfamiliarity with agroecological methods which are being recognized across demographics as the key towards resolving a trifecta of interrelated problems- poverty, climate change, and biodiversity loss. Animals, not just domesticated ones, play enormous roles in nutrient cycling, harvesting, pest and disease reduction, as well as the multitude of replenishable products for everything from leather to soaps that we humans have developed over millenia.

                    If we want to influence others to consider alternatives to eating industrially produced meat, perhaps it would be wise to mention the regenerative ways in which we can utilize animals in our landscape management regimes.

                    •  Here is a good link to start with. (1+ / 0-)
                      Recommended by:
                      grahamcstrouse

                      One of many places talking about holistic land management. Link.

                    •  Ruminants contribute to global warming (1+ / 0-)
                      Recommended by:
                      beach babe in fl

                      even if they are grass-fed. The cow is a climate bomb (sheep and goats too).

                      •  Of course they do. Nothing is going (0+ / 0-)

                        to stop a cow from producing methane. I also largely agree with the linked article's statement that meat production will decline. Meat isn't necessary on a daily basis, especially not three or four times a day.

                        That, however, doesn't mean that cows, sheep, and goats do not play an important part in agroecological (and so called wild) systems.

                        Did this study consider the amount of land which can be restored to functional grassland through the management of ruminants. Functional grasslands will have many times more carbon sequestered into the soil than less fertile grasslands and areas under threat of desertification. Functional grasslands protect topsoil and help to restore a working hydrological cycle. Was there any consideration for these benefits? Did you bother to follow my link and see the lands which are being restored (ie, carbon is being banked into the soil) all over the world? These areas are not minuscule. Desertification can be reversed through proper management of land. Part of that includes using animals- including ruminants- to create a more natural trophic hierarchy and nutrient cycle in agroecological systems. If the study did not look at the amount of carbon sequestered by proper management of ruminants and the potential restoration of vast areas of the planet through agroecology (of which organic production of ruminants plays a major role), then it isn't telling the whole story.

                        I also wonder what you would have said before the Great Plains ecosystem was destroyed. There were between 30 and 200 million plains bison before we Americans exterminated them. There are almost 98 million cattle in the States today. As far as other common domesticated ruminants in the US, sheep are estimated at 5.5 million and 3 million goats. I am confident that if we were able to count the total number of ruminants living within our present borders before European settlement and the ecological disaster we created in North America, we would reach the present number of domesticated ruminants and probably surpass it.

                        Total numbers of domesticated ruminants worldwide are estimated at 3.5 billion, about 95% of the world's total. I just have to wonder if this percentage reflects the consequences of habitat destruction, hunting to extinction, and the industrialization of agriculture post WWII. Because if we were to believe the estimated numbers for just a "pristine" environment in the Great Plains, for one species, it becomes readily clear that we have been living with large numbers of ruminants for a very, very long time.

                        Were these large numbers of wild ruminants a problem? If ruminants are climate bombs (or is it just cows?), was it a wise thing for our forebears to exterminate the large herds? But I guess they made the mistake of bringing in cows to replace the native ruminants. What if they hadn't? What if we just wiped out all the ruminants and left the ecosystems alone? Well, if you take a look at what happens when we fence off these areas versus managing them with ruminants, the results are clear.

                        The problem isn't ruminants. Climate change is being driven largely by deforestation and desertification (not just current, but deforestation which has walked hand in hand with human civilization since Sumer) and the burning of fossilized sunlight. The simple "ruminants=bad for climate" argument fails to account for the ecological services these animals provide, the products we derive from them, and their place within holistically managed properties.

                        Is it your opinion that ruminants are always a negative factor in climate change? And if so, how do you see regenerative agriculture advancing without them?

                •  everyone who advocates for this (3+ / 0-)
                  Recommended by:
                  blueoasis, Ignacio Magaloni, Creosote

                  needs to understand that we have ruined so much of our food chain and so many of us have serious allergies to healthy grains that we cannot give up animal foods.

                  i am allergic to milk and wheat and soy, among a lot of other foods and chemicals.  i don't have a pure vegetarian diet choice although i like it both in terms of taste and in terms of philosophy.

                  asians are growing allergic to rice.

                  we are in huge, huge trouble on every front.

                  i am allergic to soy because it has been used as an additive in so many products.

                  Donate to Occupy Wall Street here: http://nycga.cc/donate/

                  by BlueDragon on Tue Jan 08, 2013 at 06:12:46 PM PST

                  [ Parent ]

      •  Thanks n/t (0+ / 0-)

        Speak softly and carry a big can of tuna.

        by Cat Whisperer on Tue Jan 08, 2013 at 08:14:17 PM PST

        [ Parent ]

    •  Divest, Tax Carbon (7+ / 0-)

      Here is what 350.org is doing.
      1) organize a divestment campaign to make sure people know 80% of the below ground oil and coal reserves are 'worthless', i.e. they can't be used without destroying the biosphere.

      The divestment campaign is the beginning of a division of those who believe this (like anti-apartheid), and those who want to continue profits as usual (like slave owners, white supremacists).

      1.5) End all oil exploration.  No need for more reserves that cannot be tapped.

      2) Once the division has reached critical mass, enforce a broad based carbon tax to make it prohibitively expensive for oil companies to take it out of the ground.  This would also include punitive sanctions against petro states like Saudi Arabia and Venezuela, unless they stopped drilling.

      The carbon tax is the ultimate weapon - because it is how we will finally have a power greater than the oil companies.

      Think of this like the war to end slavery.  We have to be the climate abolitionists - and fight a war against our enemies  - and eventually destroy them because that is the only moral choice before us.

    •  It needs to be considered a hazardous waste (3+ / 0-)

      and companies that produce products which contain it (energy companies, manufacturers of plastics, ... the list would be a long one) need to be treated like companies that produce products containing asbestos.

      Generally I'm an optomist. I tend to be able to find the best in any situation.

      In this situation we don't have time to depend on politicians and legislatures to solve the problem, and we can't solve it on our own unless we somehow achieve a global hive mind consensus that says we are willing to stop burning carbon overnight.

      Its a little like the situation of a person with pancreatic cancer spreading through their body trying to find a way to quickly and effectively communicate with all the different communities of cells that individual thinks of as forming their body so as to effectively convince all the remaining healthy cells in those already afflicted communities to do something about the problem with each cell on its own behalf taking over the function of the pancreas.

      I'm not sure which kills us quicker, co-habitating with carcinogens that cause cancer, or allowing population to increase to where our collective use of carbon in ways that add it to the atmosphere such as burning things, raises the ppm from the under 400 we have lived with since before Prometheus first brought us fire to the over 2500 projected for this century.

      Everything is pretty fragile right now. As species go extinct food chains break down. As temperatures increase some species like the bacteria producing the oxygen we breath die off and we suddenly realize their survival was linked to ours.

      As sea levels rise and our cities along the Atlantic coast one by one sink beneath the sandy waves overnight it suddenly occurs to us how really hard it will be to move the 90% of our urban infrastructure which happens to be located close to river mouths back to the Appalachians before its too late.

      Is it too late already for the hundred some odd men women and children who died because of Hurricane Sandy? Will it be too late when we lose the last of our fossil water and communities of people who eat crops that require irrigation coming from snow melt and glaciers begin to starve?

      Triggering tipping points such as Methane Hydrate releases increase the warming exponentially cutting the  time it takes to reap catastrophe from the end of the century to 2050 (and then maybe 2030 or 2020... sea ice will be gone in 2016)

      In this situation the good news is global warming that lasts for ten millenia and kills off 99 and 44/100ths of all the species that walk or crawl, fly or swim won't kill the planet.

      In the Gaean hypothesis Terra, (our earth) will bounce back and start making the fossil fuels we have used up all over again for some other species to kill itself off with.

      Live Free or Die --- Investigate, Incarcerate

      by rktect on Wed Jan 09, 2013 at 04:06:24 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  And in the meantime (0+ / 0-)

        there's what Eastern religions call "the empty aeon."

        Perhaps something like the 4+ billion years it took for life as we see it now - or at least fifty years ago - to begin to establish its sinplest forms.

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