Hundreds of different aspects will regulate whether or not humans will survive on earth. As humans, we have built a podium, in which over time moves deeper and deeper into a maze. In other words, as time passes by it gets harder and harder to fix problems like climate change, and the pathways to solve these problems will increase.
In my understanding, from this chapter in Stephen Hawking’s book, Brief Answers to the Big Questions, humans have created unlimited paths in which we can take to the future. “We might descend into a state of brutalism and barbarity” (Hawking, 154). The path that we will take is so unsure that our only source of understanding can be discreetly found in asking questions. “The idea that time is ticking or even running out for the human race, realistic or alarmist?” (146) “How will we develop in science and technology over the next millennium?” (154). I believe that our questions are a showing of understanding, but also the show of the curiosity that we can behold. We understand the need for change or caution, but we are also curious about how to reach that state. “We are, by nature, explorers. Motivated by curiosity” (151). So right now, the primary goal is to find answers.
The first question we might all ask ourselves is, how will we stop global warming? A popular conversation holder and news talk. Well firstly, all of us cause global warming. “We want cars, travel and a better standard of living. The trouble is, by the time people realize what is happening, it may be too late” (147). The danger we are facing is that global warming might become more self-sustaining if it hasn’t already. The melting of our Arctic and Antarctic polar ice caps reduces a fraction of solar energy reflected into space, then increasing the temperature. After that, the rise of sea temperature may trigger the release of large quantities of carbon dioxide. These two effects could make our climate very similar to Venus: “boiling hot and raining sulphuric acid.” (150) Therefore, human life would be unsustainable. To get out of that happening, we need to cut carbon emissions now and go beyond the Kyoto protocol. We have the technology; our next step is gaining the political will, to do it. Before, when we reached a similar crisis in our history, there was somewhere else that we could colonize. Like when Columbus discovered the new world in 1492. However, now there isn’t a new world, “No Utopia around the corner” (150). We have nowhere to go so we need to save what we have now. Our old strategies won’t work now.
The biggest obstacle we are facing now is most likely nuclear war. It has been known as the greatest threat to humanity for a long time. Russia and the United States haven’t been trigger-happy for a long time, but what if there is an accident or a terrorist gets a hold of these weapons? The risk builds up the more countries all obtain these weapons. Right now even after the cold war, there are still enough nuclear weapons to wipe us out completely, several times. The only connected topic of discussion to this problem is leaving earth. Stephen says “spreading out may be the only way of saving us from ourselves” (151). Since if we stay, we can risk being annihilated.
Another topic of discussion is DNA and genes. DNA has been a big topic of improvement to help grow toward solving global problems. “I think the human race and its DNA, will increase its complexity quite rapidly. In a way, the human race needs to improve its mental and physical qualities if it is to deal with the increasingly complex world around it and meet new challenges” (160-161). The building of our world at this moment has thrown us overboard with flowing ideas that exceed our knowledge of science and technology. In the scientific world, scientists want to be able to reach heights simply too difficult for the average human. Our solution? Genetic engineering. It could help us generate humans capable of things like space travel.
As time goes on, how will we develop in science and technology over the next millennium? Nowadays, scientists are focused on finding a single theory that can single out the infinite amount of closed loops in space and time. Which is when we can unify the quantum theory, that connects with Einstein’s general relativity, which will help us achieve a complete theory of the fundamental laws of the universe. The most crucial question is, how realistic this goal is. According to different scientists including Hawking, we are relatively close to reaching our target. It will be hard to achieve it of course, given the amount of work that has to be put into understanding our universe. However, it is evident that the most important developments will be during this millennium. “Our present world order has a future, but it will be very different.” (162)
July 1945 was when the world’s first atomic bomb had exploded. “’We knew the world would not be the same. A few people laughed, a few people cried, most people were silent”. (143) This quote is a perfect representation of the human reaction. Some of us have come to a state so unknown that we don’t understand how to react. Are we happy? Frustrated? It’s difficult to know what to feel. You might be wondering; can we help? “The earth is becoming too small for us” (147) “We have presented our planet with the gift of climate change.” Rising temperatures, reduction of the polar ice caps, deforestation, over-population, disease, war, famine, lack of water, the list goes on and on. If you want to save your beautiful planet, take action against these terrible aspects that are tearing down our world by the second. Recently in science class, we watched a video called The Pale Blue Dot. It talked about a picture a spacecraft had captured 3.7 billion miles away. The picture showed earth, but not as the large home we know to live on but as small as a blue dot. Our once seemingly large home, in the entirety of the universe, looked nothing more than a speck floating in the cosmos. “That’s here, that’s home. That’s us, on it, everyone you love, everyone you know, everyone you’ve heard of, and every human being there ever was.” (3:15) This video opened my eyes. I knew the earth was unbelievably tiny compared to space and our milky way, but little did I know how small it was. Try to wrap your head around it. Everything that had happened since the beginning of time on earth had occurred on a little blue speck. Every war fought, was worth nothing looking from the outside. It may seem like we are worthless, how as we live, the cycle of life continues, with or without us, how even the greatest legacies will not be heard of in a billion years.
It’s confusing really; I’m telling you to save our planet. However, what for? It seems it doesn’t do anything for a tiny blue dot in space. Even though we are small, even though it looks like we aren’t worthy, The Pale Blue Dot we are living on is the only earth known so far to harbor life. There is nowhere else, at least in the near future, to where our species can migrate.” It is unimaginable how value able our home is. The experiences we’ve created, the different animals and species we live among, and the amazing sites we have the pleasure of observing. We are so special. Our planet. Us. We need to take care of us. “The earth is under so much threat from so many areas that it is difficult for me to be positive” (147) but like it or not, right now, the earth is where we take our stand. So let’s grow from our history, learn from our past, take ideas of the present, to make sure that our future, is one that will make this blue dot, the best home it ever was not only for humans but for all living creatures on our magnificent planet.
Add all of these different concepts I’ve listed above together, chaos. Then add them along with the completed theories and solutions, almost impossible in the near future. It’s going to be hard to add up to a perfect world. However, everyone can do little things to help save our planet. So let’s do it, willingly and together.