Last week in his Earthweek column, syndicated writer Steve Newman quoted "two of the world's most respected scientists" saying that human civilization has only a 50 percent chance of surviving until 2100 without being done in by a nuclear threat, climate change, overpopulation -- or perhaps an asteroid or electromagnetic solar storms that fry our electronics.
Neither Newman, nor the scientists, are chicken-little types. Then this week we had the story about the melting of Arctic ice which means that sea levels could rise as much as 5 feet this century.
In the sci-fi movie A. I. Artificial Intelligence, the sea levels have risen dramatically. Helicopters fly to offices in the top floors of Manhattan skyscrapers, for instance, because those are the only floors left not underwater.
Thinking about the world dramatically changed within 90 years is a good conversation starter. In our water aerobics class, one guy joked: "It makes you rethink buying something you hope will become a valuable antique to pass onto your children."
When you read reports about the world changing so dramatically, do you feel relief, panic or nothing much at all?
(AP photo from the movie A.I. Artificial Intelligence)