one step

One Step to Accept our Short Term Extinction

A reaction to Malcolm Light

Humanity is facing the final, western corporate capitalist, fossil fuel initiated, catastrophic Arctic methane hydrate destabilization and Permian style methane blowout – firestorm … – Malcolm Light

(Photo by joel herzog on

This first sentence of Malcolm Light’s article from January 2019 is not less distinct than the heading:
Global Extinction Within 18 – 34 Months

It is not new for me that an increasing Arctic methane release can lead to our extinction faster than expected. But this article has occupied me a lot.

Yes, I have an emotional defense mechanism too. My first reaction has been to look deeper into the rational arguments and look for weak ones. My emotional reaction is very simple: I don‘t like this pessimistic outlook.

Who is Malcolm Light?

Malcolm Light is one of the leading voices on the Arctic News blog. In January 2015 and in October 2016 he has published posters with high information density about the role of Arctic methane in global heating.

Dr. Light‘s parents were both meteorologists. He has a Bachelor of Science (Honors) in geology (and oceanography) from the University of Cape Town and a PhD in geology from the University of London where he began detailed Arctic research at the Centre for Polar Observation and Monitoring (CPOM) in 2002. – Interview with Malcolm Light by Dorsi Diaz, September 10, 2014

What are Malcolm’s prognoses?

extinction within 18 - 34 momths
  1. „An Arctic blue oceanic event is possible in 2020…“
  2. This is “the start of the Arctic Permian style methane blowout event”. The atmosphere and oceans will be heated.
  3. 12 months later warm water from tropical ocean currents will reach the Arctic shelf and cause a „release of some 50 Gt of methane“ and „a 10 Degree Centigrade Rise in Mean Global Atmospheric Temperatures“. This is the beginning of an „Catastrophic Permian Style Global Extinction Event in late September 2021″.
  4. Zero Arctic Ice Volume

That are clear and strong words. Unfortunately I am used to hear dire predictions like that. Well, it‘s coming closer, faster than expected.

Defense Mechanisms

My first reaction has been to think about the arguments, a reaction of my rational mind. During the next days I have noticed, that my thoughts went back and forth to this article. I have been worried. I thought that my first reaction has been to deal with uncertainty. This is one of the most difficult mental states to endure. I’ll keep that away from me.

Malcolm‘s predictions may come true with a more or less exact timing. The point is that it is possible that we are facing a catastrophic extinction event in a couple of month. I even think that’s likely. I can’t give any exact probabilities. But it is possible, that everything I love (and I don‘t like) is gone in less than a handful of years. It doesn’t matter whether it happens 12 months sooner or later.

As if

While I have been engaged with this article I have heard an audio book. Alexandra Reinwarth describes in „Life is too short for later“ (only in German available) how she and her circle of friends is confronted with another friend getting a new cancer diagnosis. Everything that is important in life stands in a different light. She decides to make a self-experiment. She gives herself a fictitious time of death in about a year. I have enjoyed to listen to Alexandra‘s experiences during this year. She describes it with a large portion of humor and self-irony.

So now I’ve taken Malcolm’s predictions as if they come true. What is my life like? What is important for me for the next one or two years? At the same time I feel the deep grief about what I am going to lose and I see the great gift life has in store for me.

This simple as if-step allows me to deal less with uncertainty. Try it.

As if does not mean to take it all as true what Malcolm or anybody else is telling you. Use your brain and feel what your heart says. And if this dire situation we are in is true for you too, you are looking for possibilities to deal with it anyway.

If this is all bullshit according to your opinion, this blog article is not for you. Have a nice day, good bye.


Enjoy yourselves and be excellent to each other in these last days and hours on the only remaining habitable planet in this solar system. – Malcolm Light

Thank you Malcolm for that.

And if this prognosis is wrong?

So what?

What is bad about being kind to each other and especially to yourself?

Don‘t forget to try „as if“.

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  1. john

    Malcolm’s progression to extinction is quite logical and sooner or later is certain to happen. Already the 6th mass extinction is destroying our once beautiful biosphere. We all know there are astronomical methane deposits in the far north and their containment is melting away and away.
    Take the ESAS From the Laptev sea in the west to the Bering strait in the east in methane clathrates in a shallow arctic shelf there are 2000 gigatonnes of methane buried maybe in about 100 feet of water covered by under sea permafrost. Once that thaws and its doing that now its curtains for our biosphere and us along with it! And this isn’t counting land based permafrost sinks!!! Which also are thawing rapidly. The vanishing face of Gaia which regulated the living conditions of our Planet for the sake of all life, has been destroyed by an ignorant arrogant fossil fuel digger species. ” The global temperature is rising, the ice caps are melting, and levels of pollution across the world have reached unprecedented heights. According to eminent scientist James Lovelock, in order to survive an assault from her dependents, the Earth is lurching ever closer to a permanent “hot state.” Within this century, we will almost certainly be forced to give up many of the comforts of western living as survival is threatened. Only the fittest—and the smartest—will survive. “

  2. this is the Tibetan Buddhist point of view, that one can die at any moment (or in 1 year)……but add in an immense amount of suffering of others….

  3. rickiding

    Graphic ist wundebar! Humans live to worry and stew. Knowing then the why and when is to ‘right-size ‘ our angst, nicht war? We only have this moment; all else is mind-made. Joy to the world!

  4. name less

    I find it helpful not to think in terms of how long i have left. It’s more fun to celebrate that i didn’t get hit by a bus yesterday. There’s a cartoon (Family Circus, maybe?) which shows, one by one, all the members of a family grumbling as they go off to work, school, etc., about ‘another day of [a given routine]’ – but in the last frame, the toddler sits in her crib, smiling radiantly, and thinks, “Another day!” A good role model.
    That said, it’s infuriating that we humans have taken out so many other species, and will almost certainly take all but radiation-resistant unicellular life forms out when we go. Sometimes i wish humans had gone extinct before i even got here.

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