Dr. Stephen Hawking suggests we must leave Earth in 100 years.
As so often, I beg to differ (not with Hawking, in general), here is why:
I have noticed that many people ask themselves whether the human species might survive the next hundred Years. Everyone tries to tell us we're screwed.Dr. Stephen Hawking thinks we won't make it, unless we leave the planet in the next 100 years. ( http://www.wired.co.uk/article/stephen-hawking-100-years-on-earth-prediction-starmus-festival ).
Now, while I greatly respect Dr Hawking, I do not share his view this time, and since neither of us can really see into the future, I believe my view has a fair chance that he may be wrong. Please understand, I don't try to compete, that would prove me a moron and you might as well stop reading. Really, you decide for yourself, I believe I can make some valid, good points pro humanity, surviving on Earth, for now.
First, I want to be clear on this, I don't think we should concentrate on things we can't do anything about. Nature will do with us as she pleases, at least for a long time longer. We should concentrate instead, on living well, healthy and sustainably, as long as possible. While doing so, getting along would get us far ahead already. Look around you, the human race evolved on this planet and we became it's master species, the rulers. To expect, that we will find a planet so perfectly suited for human life, with a nature that we perceive as perfectly comfortable and beautiful, mostly, is insane. If we had terraforming equipment ready to transform Mars into a living planet, ready for us, then we should use that technology to clean our own planet's atmosphere first, don't you agree?
In addition, why leave? Because we've got some attitude problems here? seriously? If it's because of climate change, trust me, any planet we can get to in the next century, we'll wish it had an atmosphere as good and stable as the worst we may ever get here.
If it is for the bickering and quarrelling we can't seem to stop, well, that's up to us, all it takes is a global decision to survive as a species. If we can't abolish violence, we won't make it, and the fights will come with us to any new planet we go to.
First we need to evolve into a (mostly) peaceful species, than we may leave with good hope to avoid possibly more terrible calamities.
Hey, we may have a gravity drive in 50 years, who knows? Maybe in 60 years we will have all the technologies we need to move between planets on a whim, and terraforming may become as easy as gardening, for now, it is not.
A bit more on the physics of leaving Earth a bit later.
Obviously, in my 'prediction', I am ruling out total extinction events, where not even microbes survive, like the moon crashing into Earth, a massive solar flare torching us, or Earth spiralling into the sun; if any of those happen, I guess we're doomed, but let's be optimistic, otherwise, what's the point?
What certainly will happen, what is actually happening already, is climate change. No one can really be sure how bad it might get, but it will not all be over in a day, a week, or even a decade. For the worst case scenarios, experts predict several Generations, possibly a century, no one really knows for sure. This means, we have time to do what we do best, adjust, change, evolve, use our brains for the survival of the species, not its demise. Now we need to prove that we are intelligent, just saying it won't suffice any longer.
When it comes to proving that we are an intelligent species, it won't matter what weapons we develop, or what other technologies, not if we can not learn to abolish violence and get along, side by side, race alongside another race.
Whether you are a Norwegian fisherman, an Austrian dairy farmer, a US postman, a German engineer, a Swiss banker, a Chinese rice farmer, a native Australian shaman, or the mother of two children in Cape Town, it matters not. You all essentially want the same. You want to live in peace and you want for your loved ones to prosper and live a life in peace. We all want to live in conditions in which we can thrive and pursue our own idea of happiness.
As long as we have nations, and corporations fighting each other for resources we don't (really) need, (coal, oil, diamonds etc.) and leaders who tell us that we need them, we will have riots, wars, freedom fighters, revolutions and terrorism. The hunger for the finite resources we are trying to satisfy with 'stolen' goods from third world nations, entails a feeding process that necessitates wars being fought over the territories in which we find said goods.
We fight wars for resources, but we don't need oil or coal, we have other, renewable energy sources at our disposal that would be more than sufficient, ready for harvesting, if we could only stop squandering resources and energy in endless arms races and fighting for our leaders differences of opinion that often we don't even share.
It is time we figured out why we can't think of anything better to do than hating and killing each other for no real reason other than the above mentioned?
I am not one for conspiracy theories, but we have been told by parties who gain from global warfare, that the others are evil and want to kill us, meanwhile, the others have been told the same about us. This is called indoctrination.
Those instigators are the real Terrorists.
That sounds bad, but think about it, those so called leaders have no real power, not if we don't listen, not if we change and begin to care. Not if we begin to practise more tolerance, more consideration, more kindness, more interest in each other and more interest in our own lives and welfare, not if we teach our children to use their brains and to form their own opinions on matters that matter. Those children will grow up in a world vastly different from today's, potentially so much better. Even in only 20 years from now, we will have technologies at our disposal that will enable us to clean the atmosphere, the ground beneath our feet and even the oceans of the world. In 40 year we will have nanomachines inside us, cleaning our bodies at all times and keeping them healthy. News of groundbreaking technologies toward those goals already emerge on a weekly basis, they will be real in our lifetime, if we can get along to survive long enough.
Now, going back to Dr. Hawking's suggestion lo leave the Planet, colonise space, I believe that would, at this point, make no sense at all. Even though there is now already, what I call, the 'space industrial complex', whose proclaimed goal it is, to colonise Mars, and then reach further into space.
Those who know me, know that I am an outspoken fan of science fiction and science in general. It used to be a problem when choosing a film to watch on a rainy evening with my ex. The idea of travelling to other worlds and exploring outer space, the chance to encounter (arguably) most likely intelligent, non violent extraterrestrial life forms, fills me with euphoria, hope and a sense of adventure.
That being said, I try to implement rational thinking and logic in all of my every day and long term decision making. So here is how I consider this issue, thinking rationally.
In order for a species to reach a level of technology, necessary for interstellar travel, said species first needs to understand the futility of violence and abolish it altogether, or it will self destruct before reaching said level, due to the misuse of acquired technologies, whose potential powers and social implications we don't yet understand and/or take too lightly.
In addition, Mars, in its present state, is unable to support organic life. Allow me to remind you, that includes human life. We would have to terraform the atmosphere first, which, according to Christopher P. McKay (a planetary scientist at NASA Ames Research Center, studying planetary atmospheres, astrobiology, and terraforming. McKay majored in physics at Florida Atlantic University, where he also studied mechanical engineering, graduating in 1975, and received his PhD in astrogeophysics from the University of Colorado in 1982) could require 100'000 years for the complete process, a few thousand years for simple plant life and first, very low levels of oxygen. Then we would colonise and bring flora and fauna from Earth. After thousands of years and trillions in spending, we may be able to breathe the air on Mars.
Climate Change is exhilarating, Major wars for habitable territories will erupt within 20-30 years, if we don't get along. We won't have time to displace humanity and export our wars and petty differences to territories on other planets.
I believe we should explore space, not yet, but when we are ready as a species, or we will bring all our social problems with us.
Earth is a beautiful place, you don't even know most of it, and you know what? It is perfectly fit to support human life and more. It can easily take 10 billion people if we get along, concentrate on developing civilisation sustaining technologies and manage the place sustainably.
Earth is the most perfect place for human life we may ever find in the Universe. I mean, apart from the damage we have already caused, what would you change?
You know what else? It's right outside your door.
You know this is true.
Earth can be a paradise, with very little effort, (relatively).
All we have to do is
I am sorry for being a bit late with this blog, it took a little longer to do all the research involved, but now, I am quite certain, you can check all the science and facts, they should check out.
My reasoning is another thing.
Worst case scenario, in the context of this article,
We might agree to disagree.
Alexander Somm, 10th Aug - 2017
some of my sources of realistic optimism: