Human Extinction

Mayank Gupta

The hurdles in the survival of humankind and how we can get past them.

The world’s moving fast. Efforts are being made to settle on and eventually terraform Mars. The climate is worsening. The population is escalating. And food shortages and health problems have shot up. The year 2020 has been worse off than any other year in history (well at least in terms of the threat to human existence). Demand for essential and non-perishable food items have skyrocketed putting pressure on the food industry. Agricultural practices have also been tremendously impacted.

Elon Musk, NASA, the Canadian and European Space Agencies, and almost any other space organization understands that Earth is in a bad state and has the potential to end humanity once and for all. It’s one of the reasons why space exploration to Mars is so hyped up. Elon Musk, in an interview, said, 

“It’s important to get a self-sustaining base on Mars because it’s far enough from Earth that it’s more likely to survive than a Moon base. If there’s a third world war we want to make sure there’s enough seed of human civilization somewhere else to bring it back and shorten the length of the dark ages.”

To be honest, it’s a fair deal – we want to preserve the human race. The threat is due to more than just the possibility of a third world war; it’s due to the rapidly changing climatic conditions on Earth and the scarcity of resources, especially food and land (a potential reason for a third world war). Good news is that the human mind is fearful but also has a tremendous potential. Both these factors are directly related to today’s youth because it’s the only way we’ll be able to continue living amidst this beautiful landscape that we call home. Today’s youth has the power to change the course of humanity entirely and so it’s critical that we are made aware of what’s being done to preserve this piece of rock floating aimlessly in the fabric of space-time. 

The fear factor has arisen a spark to preserve the environment by adopting sustainable practices and keeping tabs on critical aspects like carbon emissions. On the other hand, the innovative nature and unending curiosity has birthed technologies like Hydroponics, a type of horticulture and a subset of hydroculture, which is a method of growing plants, usually crops, without soil, by using mineral nutrient solutions in an aqueous solvent. Growing plants and crops without a grain of soil has been a dream of many and now we’re finally realizing it. Hydroponics has given us the ammunition required to dive deep into space and find a suitable home not just to ensure the continuity of this civilization but also to make it a multi-planetary species. This is the single most important tool that will empower us to grow into a Type II (or a stellar) civilization in the Kardashev Scale. Being a Type II civilizations means a lot for humans mainly because of the technological advancement that we will enable us to use and control energy at the scale of the solar system. (If any of you have seen The Expanse, that is a type of civilization between Type I and II. If you haven’t, I highly recommend you to watch it to fully understand our capabilities as a species.)

But calling ourselves a Type II is still a long time from now so in the meantime, we must strategize - teach the youth to make decisions. In the words of Richard Branson, the founder of the Virgin Group, 

 

“...many young people have in them an entrepreneurial spirit and they display exceptional drive. But each of them will need support on their journey.”

What’s essential here is that people are realizing that future success lies in the hands of the youth and plans must be in place to create an atmosphere where teenagers can thrive, explore and learn. Going back to the Hydroponics example, it’s quintessential for every teenager to comprehend the power such a technology brings with itself and the consequences it can lead to. Such a technology permits the conversion of agricultural lands into residential, corporate and/or industry areas so it must be good, isn’t it? The answer is no! Even though we would be competent enough to feed everyone without actually growing crops on soil, deforestation would lead to natural disasters at the minimum.

 

Opportunities offered to the youth today are in varied forms and far more substantial than before. However, the importance they carry has changed only little over time. Although we’ve been granted more freedom when it comes to technology and its application, it’s still mostly theoretical than hands-on. The fundamental issue is in the prevailing mindset that prevents teenagers to take challenges and see failure. Coming out of this seems unfathomable to many but growing out of it by creating opportunities is what is required to foster the entrepreneurial spirit and innovative mindset that will help change the world for the better and possibly one day let us see ourselves transform into a stellar species.

Designed by Mahir Bhagtani