13.7 billion years to happen, and here you are. The big question, which the clock doesn’t show— and cannot — is how long the era of conscious, self- aware life could last. It could potentially span much of that 500 million years or could blink out in a few hundred years from this moment. Ironically, your species is in a position to affect that, and is now doing so by default . To evolution, profound and rapid environmental changes are hammers which preferentially smash large, complex, slow-reproducing species while sparing tiny slimy ones, and your evolved agenda is causing just such change at the fastest rate in your planet’s histor y. It could be that the story of self-aware life has barely started... or it could be that it has nearly run its course, and the way that rolls out may be up to you humans in the next few decades of the “carbon pulse.” My own species decided to believe tha t existing for a long time is something worth intelligently pursuing. Yours has, so far, said “meh, whatever” to that proposition, while the clock ticks on.
The Bottom Line: There’s a window of time in which plants and animals may, in principle, exist on Earth. It’s about half over.
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