Humans have been quite inventive in finding ways to destroy the planet. The silliest of all options is of course global nuclear war. It is hard to imagine how much brainpower and money got wasted here and how much the public was willing to follow, considering that most involved countries were democracies.
But there are other – more subtle – ways to destroy the planet. These possibilities are probably more dangerous, since the boiling frog effect applies. By the time we realize it, it might have happened already and it will be very hard to reverse it.
Three dangers that stand out are:
Human made, and rather sudden climate change within the next 50 years.
An ever-increasing divide between rich and poor, educated and not educated.
An earth stripped of its beauty and left impoverished.
Climate change always happened, - but this time it will be different. Different because it will be man made and it will happen much faster than ever before. It is the suddenness that makes it so difficult for a planet with over 7 billion people to adjust to it. Will we be willing to make necessary sacrifices to reduce our excessive energy needs and consume more sustainable goods? Can we accept that profits will not keep growing forever? If you think about it, it is not really so difficult, - imagine you change your hand phone just every few years, rather than every few months. Most important, -are you willing to play your part?
An ever-increasing divide between rich and poor, educated and not educated poses another barrier to necessary changes to protect our planet because other issues will be cloaking any environmental problems.
The main argument among the skeptics is that we will invent our way out of this. They claim that human creativity has excelled and sped up to levels where we will come up with the right inventions and solutions to fix any problems.
To achieve this we must direct our best and brightest to the right tasks, and hope they can really deliver in time as predicted. Currently the brightest are lured to become bankers and lawyers rather than scientists and also funding and investments are directed at profit making ventures. To tap that pool we have to come up with ideas how protecting the environment can produce profits. Alas, protecting the environment and making profits are almost opposites today.
But there is another correction to be made. The claim that human inventiveness is every increasing is simply not reflecting the facts. The physicist and writer Isaac Asimov has researched human inventiveness over long periods of time and found otherwise.
Click on the chart for more...