From time immemorial to the present-day, there has been such a huge passage of time and no one really knows exactly how old the earth is hence people can only speculate.
COLUMN BY PETER MAKWANYA
How old the earth is may not be the bone of contention right now. What is critical is that, while the earth has managed to withstand the test of time, history and space, through its tenacity and resilience, this time its holding capacity appears threatened than ever before.
Thousands of years have gone by, despite shocks, tremors and irregular movements, the earth still looks like what it was before, just one earth, abundantly productive and habitable.
Topical these days is how the world is succumbing to the changing climate and it has become a cause for concern worldwide. Climate scientists and experts always attribute these worrying scenarios and changes to human activities, driven by socio-economic factors, developmental, expansion and human interests.
These include the desire to change and conquer the world, exporting one’s ideologies, dominance, standpoints and hegemony around the world.
As many scientists, researchers, experts and the layperson communities, seem to be worried about the accelerating change in the atmosphere, its warming potential and impacts on the global environment, the majority of stakeholders appear to be forgetful of the amount of weight being exerted on the earth’s surface by population density, materials, equipment, crops, plants, bushes, forests, livestock and wild animals.
The earth carries the baggage and burden of an assortment of buildings which include multi-storey houses, multi-purpose buildings, factories and industries, including millions of houses, schools, clinics, hospitals, churches, shops and supermarkets dotted around the planet.
Nothing much has been attributed to road and rail transport, carrying goods and passengers as it cruises making the earth tremble and vibrate from its enormous weight, every minute.
Because of these unfolding scenarios, the earth seems to be showing signs of succumbing hence its climate might also be changing underground.
Telling signs may include earthquakes, tremors, emerging of hot gases or ash, among others.
Exarcebated by the emission cycles and atmospheric pressure against the background of enormous weight on its surface exerted by constructions these may be making the earth undergo painful experiences.
Many physical features — boulders, rocks, hills, mountains and forests, including bushes and grasslands — are natural wonders which clothe the earth and give it a magnificent outlook, serenity and natural design.
The human mind also designed all sorts of technologies, enterprising and harmful at the same time, to make life on earth fast and easier to manage, at the same time spewing harmful e-waste and radioactive gases, which accelerate global warming.
Minerals were discovered, mined and continue to be mined using sustainable and unsustainable ways.
The minerals include iron-ore for iron and steel, light and heavy products, used for heavy and laborious works and for drilling deeper into the earth.
Other building materials such as cement, concrete, quarry and gravel continue to be explored and used in brick making.
Some mines are hundreds of metres deep and hundreds of kilometres wide underneath the ground, establishing underground communities.
Some mountains were destroyed to make way for dams and lakes, while in other countries they have constructed underground dams, leaving the earth a bit fragile and less resilient.
The world’s population has more than trebled, making competitions for resources and commodities, especially land for building and agricultural purposes, stiffer.
By so doing, pressure on the earth’s surface is being increased.
While the actual weight on the earth’s surface due to massive infrastructure can be left to the relevant experts to do the calculations for actual densities, the current situation may not be good.
Through the mining of fossil fuels, agricultural and industrial processes, even the air human beings and animals breathe out, including decomposing matter, the composition of the atmosphere has been drastically altered.
Rocks underneath the earth’s surface may be cracking and cut during various fracking processes, when mining gas and oil in water.
During the massive fossil fuel explorations, humanity do not seem to care much about the state of the earth, which does not expand, while everything on it continue to pile-up.
The relationship between humans and the earth’s biological diversity is one-sided without reciprocation.
Therefore, these result in swathes of forests destroyed by individual and commercial logging more than ever before.
Minimal efforts are being made to replace the decimated forest cover through reforestation but not enough to cover the lost ground.
All the buildings, houses and factories are not just empty shells, they are stocked and furnished with goods of different weight. Of course, there is no other planet habitable besides the one and only earth.
Maybe, there is need to take time to imagine what the planet is going through, without questioning God’s wisdom in the whole process.
Very soon humanity shall begin to bear the cost of the weight of density on the planet, including the cost of being reckless and careless with nature.
Finally, by importing used vehicles from developed countries, including bales of second-hand clothes, Africa is indeed increasing the weight on its continent.
Importing heavy military hardware, no longer in use in developed countries, including heavy and obsolete hardware for mining, agriculture and road-construction, Africa is straining its holding capacity.
In this regard, sustainability is important in securing our abused planet.