In my last post I briefly wrote about how Hawking said that we as a species only have about 1,000 years left on planet Earth. So, I decided to look up his comments and see if he gave any more insight on why he thought this. After a brief search and reading a few articles I could not really find anything that stated why he thought this, just that those were his feelings about how much time we have left.
1,000 years may seem like a long time but I the grand scheme of things it is the mere blink of an eye. 1,000 years ago mankind was struggling to survive, the bow and arrow were the pinnacle of weapons technology, the earth was the center of the universe and of course it was flat. Fast forward to the year 2014 and the nuclear bomb is the peak of weapons technology, we know the sun is the center of our solar system, and of course that the world is not flat, and the universe is infinite (or so we think.) Not to mention all the other wondrous technology that we take for granted.
To me it is almost unfathomable to think of what the next 1,000 years will hold for mankind. Being optimistic I think we will make it and get to that next level where we can finally branch out into the universe and colonize other planets. Though it is easy to be optimistic, it is way easier to be pessimistic. There is so much more bad news out there than good news. If I really had to bet my bottom dollar on our future I would say that there is almost no way we will make it. Hate to be a downer but I just don’t see it happening.
I think the two biggest threats to mankind are finding sustainable energy and global warming. I know I am beating the dead horse here, as I have written about this a few times in my last few posts. I did read an article the other day about global warming and it stated that if the global temperature rises 2°C we will be in some serious trouble. I also read a while back that if the temperature rises somewhere in the vicinity to 5°C (this is an approximation) that our bodies could not cool itself down and maintain a core temperature. The article stated that even a hurricane force wind could not cool down our bodies, and keep us from overheating. That is a crazy thought! So that is about 5-7 degrees Fahrenheit, which is not a number that is so farfetched that it is not possible. This is a very real threat to our civilization and our species as well as most of the species on the planet.
I work in the energy business so it is interesting to see both sides of this argument. I was on the phone with a client the other day where they were wanting our opinion on whether or not to sign a petition against a green house gas limit in their state. So on the business side of course you want to sign it in an effort to keep energy costs low, but on the environmental side it may not be such a bad thing to have this law in place. But the rise in energy cost will surely be passed on to the consumer which is ultimately you and I.
You can see how both these problems are interconnected and how these laws will have a major impact on the economy. I don’t want to get political but I think that the next 15 -20 year could very well define whether our civilization will make it or not. We could be doing irreprehensible damage to the Earth that no matter what future generations do they cannot reverse what we did.
Who knows what the next 1,000 years will hold for humanity, or if we will even get that long. I guess my point that I am trying to make is that if we are going to make it, and by make it I mean get to that next level, possibly make it on the Kardeshev Scale, that we will have to drastically alter our way of life, otherwise I doubt we have anywhere close to 1,000 years left. I am not saying this as an environmentalism or have any political agenda or anything like that, I am simply saying this as a human who would like to see the species make it, for all we know we may be one of the very few out there. There could be more riding on this than we know about…