Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell leaves his office, on his way to a vote on the Senate floor on Capitol Hill in Washington, May 4, 2015. Top Republican lawmakers are mounting an avowed campaign — including outreach to foreign officials by McConnell’s office — to actively sabotage the Paris climate negotiations. (Photo: Zach Gibson / The New York Times)
Brian Moench | Truthout | November 20, 2015
The cover of a recent issue of Scientific American reads, “How We Conquered the Planet, Our Species Wielded the Ultimate Weapon: Cooperation.” When I read that, I nearly choked on my kale smoothie. Humans once cooperated?
The article explained that 70,000 years ago many different human species inhabited the earth, but after that Homo sapiens eventually drove other archaic human species, like Neanderthals, into extinction, ultimately colonizing the entire planet. Homo sapiens flourished over other human species because of our unique grasp of scientific cause and effect, and a likely unique genetic propensity for “cooperation with unrelated individuals,” i.e. people outside our family or sphere.
As the site of the latest terrorist tragedy, Paris is now struggling to prepare for the 2015 UN Climate Change Conference. Serious cooperation among the members of our species seems almost unfathomably out of reach, especially on the climate crisis.