Humanity stands on the precipice of an extinction avalanche. It is not total omnicide, the annihilation of all life, because as powerful as we are, we will not be able to kill all life on Earth. As we cause climate calescence (heating) some creatures will be advantaged by our actions. For example, there are ‘thermophile’ (heat loving) bacteria that live in the undersea vents of volcanoes. They like it hot, and there are hyperthermophiles who like it even hotter than thermophiles (right up to 110c). To think we can kill everything, is a form of arrogance about our human powers in relation to the power of life.
However, humans are now the most powerful agents ‘forcing’ change on the planet. As a consequence, we need to be more precise about the type of killing (cide) that humans are enacting on ourselves and the rest of life. Ecocide is the killing of whole ecosystems and tierracide is the attempted murder of the whole Earth. Both runaway climate chaos and thermo-nuclear war could be considered forms of tierracide. These ‘cides’ need to be identified alongside known agents of human murderous intent such as biocides, herbicides (Agent Orange), insecticides and fungicides.
To move away from the ‘cides’, we must embrace the Symbiocene.
Image from: https://girlmeetsbiochemistry.wordpress.com/2013/04/14/thermophiles-thermophiles-organisms/ (with thanks)