Overpopulation, limited resources and looming asteroids mean that Humanity’s hard drive is almost full, and will push our species in search of a Plan(et) B.
Less than 30 years ago, the constant threat of humanity’s demise at the hands of a global Nuclear Winter was our everyday reality. The fall of the USSR and the Berlin Wall coupled with the rise of global economic interdependency and freer markets have made our fears of mutually assured destruction seem like less of a priority (although the often mismanaged global stockpile of nukes still threatens our existence).
Today, mutually assured destruction may not exist in the form of nuclear warheads, but it does exist in the form of our current global paradigm that is depleting our mutual natural resources, changing our mutual climates, polluting our mutual environments and destroying our mutual biodiversity.
Armageddon or Deep Impact?
If not for our own fault, we also risk extinction from a collision with other celestial bodies. In the 3.85 billion years of its existence, Earth has already experienced five mass extinctions, like the one that wiped out the dinosaurs about 65 million years ago. Statistically speaking, the sixth is not only highly probable, but overdue.
Overpopulation, economic models that prioritize short-term growth and looming asteroids are leading some to ask: what about the long term?
Back it up
With a very apt metaphor borrowed from computing, writer, singer and blogger Tim Urban sums up the issue. Urban writes that Earth is like a gigantic hard drive for humanity. Our collective human heritage, experiences, achievements– they are all stored on our tiny blue dot. If our hard drive stops working for any reason, we risk losing everything that isn’t on the Voyager Gold Disc. It would, therefore, be wise to have an external drive to back our planet’s data.
Although the details are yet to be revealed in the coming weeks, Elon Musk’s Mars Colonization Plan would serve as the perfect Plan(et) B. Colonizing Mars in order to preserve our species is his leitmotif, and the main objective of his SpaceX initiative. If life on Earth is threatened (by our own mutual assurance or by external factors like asteroids collisions), Mars has the potential to be our backup external hard drive.