The main thing I've learned since my Settling Space presentation is that our population might crash a lot sooner than I expected, likely due to our overwhelming the Earth's ecosystem. I also now consider the prospect of settling space much more improbable, and even unwise until we can at least tame our ravenous desire to consume everything. Even if a few of us do go into space, billions are stuck here, for better or worse.
Clearly, we are inflicting a great deal of harm on this planet's life. That can't continue, both because it is wrong and because it will result in our own destruction. Reducing our consumption seems like the only rational course, but we need to do so without killing each other. In the language of my model, we must reduce our extraction mass. Doing so is likely to come at a price many of us may not be willing to pay. The link between consumption and our own quality of life is, I believe, inescapable, and we will need to sacrifice some life expectancy and happiness in order to improve the chances of survival for us and future generations.
Our challenge as a species and as individuals is to transition to a way of living that is as responsible and as fulfilling as possible. Do we have the character, the courage, and enough time left to do so? One thing's for sure: We'll all be living -- or dying -- with the answer.
© Copyright 2011 Bradley Jarvis. All rights reserved.