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Will the human race be here in 50 years time?

When people ask the question what will the future be like they use 100 years usually put simply because for most of us it is just outside our lifetime and therefore guessing won’t have any direct effect on us right now, and for most people it won’t effect anyone they know who is alive right now.

Ask the question however in the context of 50 years and we start to get a different feeling in the pit of our stomach, if you’re under 50 and reading this i’d suggest you might be around in 50 years time, so this question effects your lifetime and if you are over 50 this question will effect your kids or grand kids people you know who are alive now.

There are many reasons to think we will be around  in 50 years as a species scientific advancement could get us out of most holes, can’t it?

There are many reasons to believe however that the good times for our species have long passed and it’s all down hill.. the question also isn’t what single event is going to end it for us it’s more which events..

War

“War, what is it good for? Absolutely nothing”

We are a species who who has a small talent for war, we have been fighting for border rights, land rights, resource rights, religious beliefs, what we believe is right and many other reasons for years, we have been fighting somewhere on the planet for over 2000 years non stop. We have such a talent for killing each other entire industry sectors now exist for which to sell us better ways on which to kill another human. These industries lobby governments to ensure they make money, and promote war to ensure they don’t go out of business. Should we ever decide that we will stop fighting economies could actually crumble because we have so much invested in weapons manufacture.

It’s for this reason we will never stop having wars, and if that wasn’t enough our temperament just doesn’t allow for it, as communities we can learn to forgive as individuals the bitterness which wells up inside won’t allow it and individual with a cause is a powerful weapon is a phrase often used to refer to the possibility of doing good, it’s also a possibility for something which could do bad as well.

Human nature is such that in many cultures the penchant for forgiveness is strong, in others however the lack of forgiveness can span generations and that is why war could be our downfall. We finance from it and we hold grudges.

Famine

For a very long time famine was something we pledged money for starving children in Africa it was a third world problem not a first world issue. However between 1845 and 1852 over 1 million people died in ireland because of what became known as the Irish potato famine. This was caused because of a major crop disease killing one of the staple food sources of the populace.

What we grow isn’t always done so in order to feed us it’s often grown because some crops hold far greater value than others where huge areas of land were once used to grown corn and other grass based products they are now being used to grow crops which are turned into biofuels and while this itself is a good thing for the environment long term as populations grow, climates change and our dependence grows on these biofuels confrontation as to what we grow and why we grow it could occur.

We are looking to grow crops which we have changed the genetics of to make them more able to survive against a disease however we don’t know enough about these genetically altered crops to knw how they will change our food systems, right now they are kept in contained areas for groaning but we know nature always finds a way which means we are yet to realise the possibility that normal crops may already be mixing with these GA crops.

And if history has taught us something it is that plagues, wether patterns and all sorts of things can cause famines, and with a world increasing in population at a huge rate year on year even human migration to more populace and prosperous areas can make getting the food to the right places difficult.

Fuel

People have lived and died over oil, wars are fought over it, and it’s running out fast, ever since we first tapped mother natures black gold in the back of our minds we have known it wouldn’t last forever, it seems like not forever may be sooner than we thought as our addiction to the black gold has grown we are pumping more and more of it out of the ground.

Our need for energy to manufacture, live, work, play and exist has had terrible effects we are starting to really understand however our greed and need for energy is stopping us find environmentally friendly alternatives quick enough, this in turn drives up the cost of fuel which in tun makes it a more and more valuable  to the point where lives are lost in insurance that we have access to it.

To say we are not looking at alternatives to oil is a misnomer we are i’ve already covered the huge potential for grain based bio fuels which may have a detrimental effect on world food supplies we are also looking at the elements to become harnessed and provide us with what we need. the basic fact of the matter however is none of these will become plentiful on their own quick enough and we are chained to the need to use oil. This will cause wars more and more as the wells dry up.

Disease

in 1918 an influenza epidemic took hold around the world and most victims were healthy young adults, in contrast to most influenza outbreaks, which predominantly affect juvenile, elderly, or weakened patients. The flu pandemic was implicated in the outbreak of encephalitis lethargica in the 1920s

The pandemic lasted from January 1918 to December 1920, spreading even to the Arctic and remote Pacific islands. Between 50 and 130 million died, making it one of the deadliest natural disasters in human history. Even using the lower estimate of 50 million people, 3% of the world’s population (which was 1.86 billion at the time) died of the disease.

World War I did not cause the flu, but the close troop quarters and massive troop movements hastened the pandemic and probably both increased transmission and augmented mutation; it may also have increased the lethality of the virus. Some speculate the soldiers’ immune systems were weakened by malnourishment, as well as the stresses of combat and chemical attacks, increasing their susceptibility.

Why is this event important? Simple because while it may not have been the only pandemic on record it was an example of things to come. Prior to World War 1 inter nation travel was not something the common man was able to do generally speaking. While there were movements of people such as to the US from Ireland in the time of the potato famine people usually stayed in the same place as a group.

The first World War say a huge amount of movement of people all over the globe as soldier from all involved countries were shipped to countries to fight for their cause. An example of things to come.

Daily millions of people travel over the planet for holidays, business meetings, to see family or just because they can, there are many options to do this, by boat, train, plane, car, van, hovercraft. International travel is comparatively cheap and mass population migration to more prosperous areas of the globe is normal.

The side effect of all this travel is the international pandemic.

Recent outbreaks of avian and swine flu world wide have shown us just how much of a risk this could be to the population and is a top 10 problem for terrorist threats. The scenario is simple, send a Typhoid mary a person known to be infected with an airborne disease which is highly contagious has flu like symptoms and a 2 day incubation period  into a travel hotspot, a backpacker bar, an airport lounge, a railway station. lets use an airport lounge. Have that person sneeze a few times and 100 people catch that sneeze over the course of an hour or so waiting for the plane to board. Those 100 people are all on different flights, and sneeze though their flight and infect all 200+ passengers thats 100 x 200 people infected thats 200,000 people infected, some may have connecting flights, others will disembark on their journey at the other end, thats additional planes, trains, buses which could now be infected within the space of 24 hrs lets say 2,000,000 are infected however there is a 2 day period before symptoms show… The numbers are staggering as to just how fast in todays society we could spread a man made of natural disease around the globe.

We don’t have the manpower to cope with this, we don’t have the medicine, we would spend a few days (with infected numbers increasing) tracking down the cause.. this has the potential to make the spanish flu seem like the sniffles..

Natural disaster

Tsunamis, Earthquakes, volcano’s depending on how you view the last few years they seem to be more common occurrences, this is probably because 30 years ago we didn’t have the internet and a mudslide killing people in Peru, or a tsunami wiping out Thailand, Indonesia and surrounding areas may have made page 4 of the paper as a filler, now they are provided to us on 24hr news services and social media immediately, volcano’s make fro great video and devastation sells news papers.

However as populations grow, and food and money are more important to us, we are more likely as a species to move into the areas which maybe a few generations ago we might have started away from. The foothills of the volcano become fertile lands for groaning crops, earthquake zones like San Francisco are heavily populated as commercial centres. while these events may not wipe out all of humanity in a single blow they can cause a huge amount of devastation as we start living in more dangerous areas.

The world we are continually told is heating up because of our over use of fossil fuels, and this single act of heating up the planet may actually be triggering more extreme weather patterns and in turn be causing more devastating natural disaters as well. The jury is still investigating the correlation on that one. However global warming is going to have long term effects on our population in years to come that we have not even started discussing yet.

Present examples might be the mass population migrations caused by famine driving people to migrate across borders to look for food and water, this in turn causes civil rest issues with the local communities and has in some cases been the cause of genocide as a method to stop the migrants coming to countries.

Money

And what it all build down to, the reason we make weapons, the reason we change the crops we are growing, the reason we are looking at GA crops, the reason people migrate to there areas. One of societies biggest drivers is wealth and why some communities may not be as greedy as others, the greed of others has a devastating effect on those communities. From Native american indians to the Tribes of the amazon there are countless tails of human greed changing landscapes, destroying cultures and driving meant to do terrible things..

Money may not be evil, however can be it’s roots..

Conclusion

Yes that’s a pretty unhappy look at life, however i’m looking here at the worst extremes, and for every one of those there is always a positive, i’m a believer that human nature does bring out the best in some. I’m working with  a guy who is giving up a well paid job to help sea cows in the Philippines and i’ve never met a more committed individual to the cause of the environment, i’ve read about people chaining themselves to trees to stop deforestation, i’ve seen people do amazing things to help each other after a tsunami. When the backs are against the wall people will asset and help each other.. I just hope it’s not too little too late for the population..

I guess the question is, if you knew one of these things was going to actually happen in your or your children’s lifetime, what would you do to stop it, would you take action, would you lobby your politicians, would you think more about a biofuel car, would you think about what food you ate, would you consider these things more, or do we believe that this is something that someone else will sort out and because times are hard and we are looking for jobs this will all get put on pause until the economy gets better? Do we believe that the current state of the economy could be what is causing some of these problems? Who is to blame? governments, ourselves, companies.. All good questions i’d like to debate, not Troll, debate here..

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This entry was posted on June 23, 2012 by in comment and tagged , , , , , , , , , , .
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