Wednesday, September 02, 2015

if intelligent, high-prestige humans are utterly clueless, where does that leave folks who see what's really going on?

declineoftheempire |  In particular, when we talk about the long-term future of humans the discussion tends to branch into two directions (neither of which are necessarily actually separate).

One is the 'stewardship' route. Here the emphasis is on how we should learn to become good stewards of the planet, not just for our own survival, but also for a rather nebulous greater cause; not upsetting the natural cart, allowing the Earth to maintain a more stable balance in terms of climate and biodiversity. A balance perhaps more representative of the long-term state of the environment without a short-term perturbation like ourselves.

The second route doesn't necessarily obviate the need for home stewardship, but it looks beyond the Earth.

One of our biggest talents, and one of our biggest problems as a species, is that we thrive on expansion. We're resource and space hungry. But instead of trying to curtail ourselves, we have the option of spreading beyond, to the vast and untapped wealth of the solar system. Call it the ultimate manifest destiny if you will, except that it also offers the possibility of preserving our homeworld by altering the fundamental equation of our existence, by outsourcing many of our material needs.

Those are the options, Caleb? Good stewardship or leaving the Earth?

What about Door #3? What about the unfortunately fact that Homo sapiens is hell-bent on destroying the biosphere, and in so doing, taking themselves down in the process?
Caleb does say something about this possibility ... sort of.
Of course, this cosmic pathway could go wrong. We could start altering the environmental state of Mars and mess that up. Or, without care, we could risk destabilizing our global economy and balance of power. After all, we seem to be barely capable of managing 196 recognized countries, adding more offworld states is unlikely to help.
But on a grand scale, for the ultimate preservation of the species, the solar system may be our savior. There's only one surefire way to avoid extinction by asteroid impacts or supervolcanoes, or sheer overcrowding. Put some of us somewhere else.
We might carelessly "risk" destabilizing the global economy and the balance of power. And that's it?
Caleb, you started off with the Holocene (Sixth) Extinction. How did you get from a human-caused mass extinction to "destabilizing the global economy" in only five paragraphs?