Much as we hate to face up the truth, the grip that the human race has on this planet that we call home is tenuous to say the least.
A study by the World Wildlife Foundation concludes that at the rate we are stripping this planet of its natural resources it is likely that we should be looking for a new home for the human race within the next 50 years. This is backed up by scientific data collected from around the world that reveals that we have decimated around one third of the natural world in just the last three decades
Taking pains not to launch this into a campaign document for the WWF, it is important to point out that the potential end of the human race does not signify the end of the earth and in actual fact our extinction could well be of benefit to its long-term health
Scientists believe that the earth is around 4.5 billion years old and has gone through various phases that have taken it from the burning cauldron that it was at the beginning into what it is today. The diverse myriad of life we see today was preceded by billions of years of the dominance of microbes and is likely to disappear. The process of evolution will eventually remove the complex higher life forms of today and return the planet back to microbial dominance.
Evolution predicts that as life on earth began in the ocean, so it will return to the ocean to escape the ever increasing temperatures until even the sea will first become uninhabitable and then dry up. The last life on earth is likely to be as was the first. A single celled bacterium.
Based on scientific studies that make up our understanding of planets and stars and the way they evolve and eventually die, scientists believe that earth has a complete lifecycle of around nine and a half billion years. They believe that the earth as with other planets in our solar system will become swallowed up by the sun is it expands Just as there has been a last dinosaur, a last dodo there will be a last forest, a last tree, a last plant and a last sea as the planet slips towards its demise in around 5 billion years time.
But what of mankind? Our only hope for long-term survival is to relocate to another much younger planet. A most unlikely possibility given what we currently understand of physics. Perhaps we may be able to send human DNA off in a deep space probe in the forlorn hope that it will be discovered and regenerated
At the rate that we are stripping the planet of its resources science must race to find a solution. Perhaps planet-wide projects aimed at protecting and preserving the earth may mean we can stay a while longer. But do we have either the resources or the time?
We seem to be ignoring our own plight under the arrogant assumption that advances in scientific discoverywill reveal a way out of this mess. And so we continue our scrabble for economic and material growth whilst sidelining the plight of our planet.
What will become of us? That remains to be seen but one thing is sure. The end of the world is fact not fiction!