A professor at Rice University wonders if climate change, more commonly known as global warming among non-Millennials, will eliminate racism across the world. Scott Solomon, who teaches biology at Rice University, penned a column for NBC News that asked if this was possible. The title of his column was, “Climate change could affect human evolution. Here’s how” and the subheading read, “Global warming will likely alter the internal workings of our bodies – and cause a notable shift in our appearance.”
Solomon’s column began with typical climate change alarmism, commonplace in both the media and academia:
“As climate change brings rising temperatures, droughts, shifting patterns of precipitation, and longer growing season, plants and animals are evolving to keep pace.”
This is a commonly-used line among climate change alarmists, and ignores the earth’s climate patterns throughout human history, such as the Ice Age and the 1930’s Dust Bowl. Charles Darwin, the British intellectual who is known famously for the ‘survival of the fittest’ theory that bears his last name, found that animal species adapted over time in the Galapagos Islands off the western coast of South America. In other words, Solomon’s opening paragraph is over-the-top alarmism, because climate patterns have changed throughout human history and most plant and animal species have adapted over centuries. But, this isn’t the more egregious claim from Solomon’s column.
Next, Solomon said we should expect evolutionary changes within the human race, “Climate change will alter the internal workings of our bodies in subtle but significant ways and will likely cause a noticeable shift in our appearance.” Or, in other words, human beings’ skin pigmentation will change because of climate change.
But, before he makes that argument, Solomon describes how climate change will force people to migrate from their homes because it will become too dry to farm or raise crops, or too warm, which will cause diseases like West Nile virus and malaria to spread among a population that is not immune to it. Solomon then warns the reader that in conjunction with the prevalence of disease, humans will alter their digestive systems to cope with the limited availability of food due to climate change.
Next, Solomon reiterated his migration-due-to-climate-change thesis:
“But as polar ice melts and sea levels rise, large numbers of people will be forced to flee the coasts. And as droughts become more common and more severe, people living in more arid areas will have to move to places with more reliable sources of water.”
Solomon cited a report from the World Bank, which predicted 140 million people will migrate by 2050, and migration is already reshaping the world, based on a United Nations report that said the number of people living in a new land has increased 49% since 2000. Ironically, Solomon neglected to credit capitalism and globalization for this free movement and migration of people, which allows people an opportunity to travel from one side of the globe to the other to start a new life.
Then came the crux of his argument: With increased migration from one’s native country to a new one, there will be an inevitable mixing of races, which he calls a gene pool. He said skin color differences were a consequence of natural selection, and dove into details of the differences in skin color due to the pigment eumelanin and how it affects vitamin D production and bone health. He predicted that humans will see “fewer people with dark skin or pale skin and more with a brown or olive complexion” because of sunscreen, vitamin supplements and other advances in health.”
Solomon cited a Pew study on the increase of multiracial births in the U.S., where in 1970, there was only 1% compared to 10% in 2013, with projections that it will jump by 174% in forty years. In short, Solomon predicted that as people intermix more, they choose to have a more uniform skin color. Because of that, he believes “it’s possible racism might slowly fade,” all thanks to climate change and migration.
In short, Solomon’s piece is about how climate change will lead to migration, which will then lead to decisions in diet, family formation, and skin color. Then, in his mind, the end result is the elimination of racism as a whole.
Scott Solomon, who teaches at Rice University as an associate teaching professor, is a biologist, science writer and author. In his biography, he notes his latest book published by the Yale University Press in 2016, entitled, “Future Humans: Inside the Science of Our Continued Evolution.” He is currently researching ants, and as his biography says, his research “examines the interactions between native and non-native ants, the impacts of extreme flooding on ant communities, and the co-evolution between ants and microbes.” Solomon received his Ph.D. from the University of Texas-Austin in Ecology, Evolution, and Behavior.