Humans change the world 
By Walter Sorochan

Posted May 15, 2023.

The planet, earth, evolved ecologically as a living system. The ocean currents, upper air currents and land masses are ecosystems that evolved in harmony with each other. Earth evolved opportunistically over millions of years with organisms as part of the food chain. Organisms, big and small, evolved survival instincts. Eventually, humans became the dominant species on earth. But that is not the end of the story.

 Homo sapiens evolved the belief that humans alone possess intrinsic value, and the value of all other organism is based on how well they can serve human’s needs. Actions like deforestation, trawling, mining and harnessing fossil fuel are all examples of how humans exploit the environment, believing that they have dominance over the ecosystem. This is referred to as anthropocentrism. Vitrousek and his researchers summarized this dominance of man in a paper published in Science, 1997:

Abstract: "Human alteration of Earth is substantial and growing. Between one-third and one-half of the land surface has been transformed by human action; the carbon dioxide concentration in the atmosphere has increased by nearly 30 percent since the beginning of the Industrial Revolution; more atmospheric nitrogen is fixed by humanity than by all natural terrestrial sources combined; more than half of all accessible surface fresh water is put to use by humanity; and about one-quarter of the bird species on Earth have been driven to extinction. By these and other standards, it is clear that we live on a human-dominated planet." Vitrousek

Despite humans’ pervasive influence on the planet, our actual control over natural systems remains limited, even in the Anthropocene, the “Age of Humanity.”

Today, we have many examples of how humans attempt to dominate life on earth:

increasing economy, income inequality, capitalism changes, man's dominance/gred for power and money, democracy fading, misinformation, shrinking US dollar purchasing value, inflation, increasing world population, immigration issues, food shortages, weakening health care, disease changes, banking failures, guns killing many people, mental health issues. And in 2021 we have Artificial Intelligence, AI ChatGPT. The world has become very complex and we humans do not have the capacity to understand it, much less perceive into the distant future the impact of climate change or technology.

We behave like young children eating ice cream. It tastes good and we all want for more, not aware that continuously eating sugar and fat for many tears can cause chronic diseases. We drive cars using fossil fuel that pollutes the earth and eventually disrupts the earth's ecosystem, causing hurricanes, severe snow and rain storms, changes in upper atmosphere wind currents, as well as changes in ocean currents and temperature. This silent climate change over many years is a complex one that most humans do not comprehend.

Life looked a lot different 50 years ago. In 1968, everyone had landline telephones, read newspapers, went to local libraries to find information, went to movies and no one had an email address. In 2018, cars can drive themselves, same-sex couples can get married, and single women can get a credit card. A half-century of technological advancements has put a computer in practically every home, and a cell phone in almost everyone's hands. Internet has replaced local libraries and encyclopedias and GPS has replaced paper maps. But most persons do not understand how cell phones, computers and the internet really work. They use these complex tools but cannot explain how complex technology works. Most persons do not understand the complex technology we use every day.



The animation on the right shows the change in global surface temperatures. Dark blue shows areas cooler than average. Dark red shows areas warmer than average. Short-term variations are smoothed out using a 5-year running average to make trends more visible in this map.

Another change has happened in economics:


Technological changes have attracted many humans to seek power over others.

One of the human race’s biggest problems has been that people who occupy positions of power are often incapable of using power in a responsible way. In the past, this was mostly due to hereditary systems which assigned power to kings and lords and others, who often didn’t have the intellectual or moral capacity to use their power properly. But in more recent times, it seems as though power attracts ruthless and narcissistic people with a severe lack of empathy and conscience.

"having power makes people more likely to act like sociopaths. High-power individuals are more likely to interrupt others, to speak out of turn, and to fail to look at others who are speaking. They are also more likely to tease friends and colleagues in hostile, humiliating fashion." Seltzer







"50 Ways Life Has Changed in the Last 50 Years," BestLife.   How life has changed

BBC, 10 Year Challenge: How the world has changed in a decade," January 18, 2019.  BBC: 10 years change 2019

Davos, "Davos 1973 to Davos 2020: How the world economy has changed," World Economic Forum, December 2, 2019.  Davos: world economic changes 2019

Seltzer Leon F., "Evolution of the Self Are Power-Hungry People Inherently Corrupt?" psychology Today, May 1, 2019  Seltzer: Power corrupts 2019

Smithsonian Institute, "Humans change the world," July 7, 2022.  Smithsonian Institute: Humans change the world 2022

Vitousek Peter M., Harold A. Mooney, Jane Lubchenco,and jerry M. Melillo, "Human Domination of Earth's Ecosystems," Science, July 25, 1997, Vol 277, Issue 5325, pp. 494-499.  Vitousek: Human Domination of Earth's Ecosystems 1997