The Extinction of the Species?

I read recently that Stephen Hawking is going to host a BBC documentary, highlighting why mankind needs to have colonised a new world within the next 100 years – he believes we’ll face certain extinction if we haven’t made it off-planet by then.

While some might see this as a bit over-dramatic, i think he might have a point.

Lets look at just 3 of the reasons this might happen:

Nuclear Fallout – This is an obvious, and ever-growing threat. It’s not just North-Korea that has nukes; the USA, Russia and China are all heavily armed, and relations are decidedly frosty these days. All it takes is one.

Disease – Besides all the other well-documented side-effects of Global Warming, the ability for viruses to thrive outside their previously natural habitats (whether transmitted by humans, or carried by Mosquito’s) is increasing every year. The office I work in has seen more Sick days this previous winter than ever recorded before. The mild weather has provided a wonderful breeding ground for Flu and cold viruses to keep active.

Rising Sea levels – One of the main effects of Global Warming is a predicted 1 – 1.2m sea level rise by the year 2100 (though opinions on this do differ). The question is, what is the real fallout of this going to be? ClimateCentral has a fantastic tool which will show you the effects of sea level rise around the world – I’ve discovered that by 2100, my little house might be beachfront property!

While I doubt many people are going to get caught out by the rising tides, the question remains, where would they move to? And not just them, mind, but all the businesses that employ them would likely have to move as well (especially in the case of cities like London, New York, Miami, Dubai, etc.).

Would they go inland? Possibly, yes. But what’s inland right now? In a lot of places, not a lot it seems. But if we look closer, there isn’t much land that’s not being used for farming, or as Nature conservation zones. Populate that, and suddenly there’s less food being produced, and already endangered animals are pushed even closer to the brink. Seeing as we’re already facing food shortages pretty much world-wide, that just makes an existing problem even worse.

So what about the sea? It’s entirely possible we could build cities underwater, or on water, but where is the action in developing these technologies that would allow us to do this?

That kind of just leaves Space, doesn’t it. Which isn’t exactly the most welcoming environment for our soft, squishy human bodies. So, if we’re all going to be dead in 100 years on Earth, we’d better get cracking at moving on!

I’ve only discussed 3 potential reasons for Mankind’s Extinction – I’m pretty sure there’s many more – Please feel free to add your opinions in the Comments section! I’m also most definitely looking forward to watching Expedition New Earth, hopefully it’ll provide us all with some sort of hope for the future!

Anton Kossmann

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