A while back I had a question pop into my head and I had to do something with this question. I was thinking about how so many people are talking about how we are killing the planet. But…. how can we kill a planet? It’s a piece of rock, right? So I posted this question in the –Climate change and environmental issues-facebook group.
Hi, I’m curious to hear what you think will happen if we do nothing. I have my opinion, I’m curious what others think.
I was overwhelmed with how many responses I received to this one single question. A total of 105 responses, of which a few were by me. I was expecting answers like the title of this post. But that wasn’t the case, only a few posts were like that (of which one I turned into the title).
Most of the answers were either; most humans will die and a few survive to start life on earth in a new way or all humanity will disappear. Some people had detailed answers that (seem) based on research and facts. Others went off topic pretty fast, ranting about sea and CO2 levels. One person had a very strong (deniers) idea; we are in an ice age and hotter weather is better.
Since all replies are 14 pages long, I won’t bore you with everything that was written. What I will do is end this post with a series of screenshots of everything that was written. There is one comment and one thread that I’d like to show you here. I enjoyed the details and got me thinking.
If you want a more realistic assessment instead of a simple “all life will cease to exist” nothing is static and the march of technology will still happen. I’m going to guess at the year 2120, most people will live underground (its already a thing in parts of the Australian outback) or perhaps we will have something similar to the siesta in Spain where people don’t work during the hottest period of the day. Food will most likely either be highly engineered to survive the chaotic weather and short growing season or be grown in enclosed spaces (think giant climate controlled greenhouses) we might be putting farms in the ocean depending on how bad they get 3D farming is a thing now for some people.
I believe war will be more common, think of the world before the Bretton Woods agreement aka pre ww2 back when nations had to secure their own trade routes through force of arms. Some nations like China would be hard pressed to stay unified without a US guarantee of open trade of the oceans. Perhaps there will be a nation capable of replacing the US in this regard. Geopolitics will be brutal by today’s standards (we live in the most peaceful period in human history) I would be more worried about a nuclear exchange between India and Pakistan or Israel and Iran.. which could drop the temp for a decade or more but it could also devastate the planet.. we really don’t know.
I think the average person in the US will still be fairly content but I think there will be major refugee crises throughout the next century which will cause social unrest in most western nations, Europe will be dealing with African and Middle Eastern peoples, Australia/Japan will be dealing with Southeast Asia and perhaps a major Chinese exodus. America will be dealing with central and south America depending on how the Argentinean and maybe even Chilean people pick their politics. Brazil is.. well let’s say its unpredictable.
I honestly believe that by 2021 were going to be hit with a major recession and a lack of investment because baby boomers will be retiring and that will put a strain on everyone (credit is cheap atm) the demographic trends show less people who are capable of paying taxes and thus supporting the retirees. Were going to see way to many things happening to make real predictions outside of its going to be tough.
We might be in the best part of human history now, this might be the last generation that can look forward to a better future or at least one that doesn’t resemble the worst parts of history. But hey it’s just an educated guess.
Anonymous: The planet will fix itself…. that doesn’t mean humans will survive
Joseph Ayers: the hard data says otherwise.
Anonymous: what are you talking about the opposite of what we are doing to the planet green blue algae did millions of years ago…. the fact of the matter is we are the green blue algae now. We are dumping CO2 in the air like it did with oxygen…. so maybe millions of years from now the intelligent races that will inhabit earth will breath CO2 or methane. The point is humans won’t survive but this planet will still “people” like it always has
Joseph Ayers: You really need to read the science behind it. The Earth has a finite limit of CO2 it can hold. During the worst time of heat. When it was its hottest, the Artic was tropical. Plants love CO2 and heat. As long as they have water. Humans will survive. In smaller numbers but we will. Our DNA contains ever adaption of all of our evolutionary ancestors. We still have people today born with non functional gills, tails and so on. We have gens that allow us to survive in high altitudes with very thin oxygen. It’s currently found active in people who live in the high mountains. And it’s been observed that children born in the area only need a few months before that gene turns on. Humans don’t just have the biggest brain we are the only species on Earth that can change an adaptation after we are born. We literally adapt to our environments faster then the earth can get hotter. Humans will survive. It’s in the science of how the Earth will react. How the plants will react. And how humans adapt. Its just not going to be any of “us”.
I’ll finish with my personal opinion, now shaped by the responses I received. If we do nothing and don’t change any of our behaviours, the future of planet earth might look something like this.
With too much CO2 and other greenhouse gasses in our atmosphere, a general warming of the earth will be inevitable. Thawing the permafrost where more greenhouse gasses will escape from. Sea water will warm up and together with the trash that ended up in the ocean will result into a big die off of all marine life. Affecting in the end our most precious sea creatures, plankton.
Warmer water and warmer weather causes more extreme weather events and will grow to such proportions that there will be a high chance that every person will go through an event at some point in their lives. Some areas will change in such a way that they will become uninhabitable. Resulting in more and more migration, including all the issues that come with that. Many will be manipulated by people with money and power and the force of social media. Resulting in bigger gaps between people, which then can be used to start actual wars. At some point growing so big we will call it WW III.
At the same time technology will progress to make life livable for the few who have enough money. Resulting in even bigger differences between the poor and the rich.
In the end the amount of creatures including humans have decreased by huge numbers. Earth looks nothing like it does now. The humans still alive will start over, either in a medieval form or a very futuristic style. Let’s just hope that in the end they learned a thing or two and do it better than we are doing it now.