by Joel Marks
I live in perpetual sadness, anxiety and frustration in the face of death. No, not my death… nor of a loved one… nor of the 7 billion currently living human beings who will, under normal circumstances, be laid to rest in a century or so inside this charnal house we call Earth… nor of the scores of billions of nonhuman animals we human beings slaughter needlessly every year, nor the scores more who succumb to loss of habitat from encroaching humanity or to predators and other natural agents of fatality. All of those things certainly have their place in my thoughts and concerns, some to an overwhelming measure. But the most immediate, the most devastating, the most far-reaching, and, ironically, the most preventable source of death for us all is our planet’s collision with a 10-kilometer rock.
Jonathan Schell famously coined the concept of a ‘second death’ in his 1982 book The Fate of the Earth regarding the prospect of human extinction by nuclear war.