Our fertilizers create dead zones in the oceans.
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Our fishing wipes out whole living communities. Our agriculture creates deserts where none were before. Eventually it will go off. If the climate changes drastically, our technology could collapse. Small bands of disconnected humans become vulnerable. Extinction via this route is probably slow, but is still inevitable. This could be slow, like number one, or much faster.
The slow events would be, for instance, the return of the ice. There will be another ice age. When it comes it will disrupt our world. Instead, asteroid impacts, a nearby supernova or gamma ray burst, or some disruption in the power of the Sun are both quick and right now impossible to stop.
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Other big dangers include super volcanoes, or a gigantic release of methane or other poisonous gas. If we are to survive as a species, we need to protect ourselves from these dangers. We will one day run out of oil. If the economy falls apart, then our civilization falls with it. Though the least sexy, this third option seems like the most likely. Economic collapse could lead to war, nuclear or otherwise, that could both help bring on number 1 or dig us even deeper into number 3.
No economy, no civilization.
No civilization, no chance of saving our species. Eventually our waste will come back on us. The economic collapse would be horrible, too, and would lead to the same eventual extinction. So what do we do? First is education. Maybe one of the biggest extinction dangers is our own denial. Religions might preach denial God will provide. Environmental movements might preach it, too the Earth will provide. Even non-skeptical scientific movements might preach it technology will provide.
The Earth will kill us if we let it. Technology cannot save us unless we use it to save us. Second is birth control, freely available to everyone at all times. So many of our problems are those of too many people. Parenthood should be a priviledge, not a right. Particularly in fields like energy production, we need to get away from profits and move toward sustainability. We need to invest in nuclear fusion and solar power.
These two sources, both essentially unlimited, are the only legitimate replacements for fossil fuels. Neither are likely to be profitable any time soon, but if we wish to have the technology we will need to survive asteroid bombardment, deep space supernovas, the Yellowstone supervolcano, or even the death of the Sun, we need long-term, sustainable energy.
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Nuclear fusion in the short term — we could do it now if we just committed the resources to it and solar power in the long term — the energy from the Sun so outweighs all other sources that we need to find a way to tap it are our lifelines to the future. Can we avoid extinction? Comments feed for this article. March 20, at am.
Endangered Species: Humans Might Have Faced Extinction 1 Million Years Ago
March 20, in Cosmos, evolution. After watching Episode Twelve of Cosmos, I started thinking about how the human species could possibly end. March 24, at am. You are commenting using your WordPress. Extinction is a natural process that has been occurring since long before the existence of man. Normally, new species develop, through a process known as speciation, at about the same rate that other species become extinct. However, because of air and water pollution, forest clearing, loss of wetlands, and other man-induced environmental changes, extinctions are now occurring at a rate that far exceeds the speciation rate.
Each extinction diminishes the diversity and complexity of life on earth.
Being conscious—and conscientious
The loss of a single species may result in few environmental repercussions however, all life on earth is interconnected. If enough "living connections" are broken, whole ecosystems could fail the balance of nature could be forever altered, and our own survival could be jeopardized.
Furthermore, the diversity of animal and plant life provide us with food and many of our life-saving medicines.
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