Can The Earth Handle Our Standard of Living?

We have a problem with our planet earth. First, the good news. There are tons of people, of many different races and backgrounds and types. The bad news? Many of those people are in love with technology that is very bad for the planet as a whole.

Can you imagine a world where every square mile looked like downtown New York, LA, London, or Hong Kong? No more rainforests, no more desert. Because there’s the problem: everyone deserves a high standard of living, but not everyone is going to be able to live like that. Our planet wouldn’t be able to handle it.

Is That Alarming?

No, it isn’t. You’ve heard from a thousand different places that the earth is being harmed by the sheer volume of cars, factories, and people so we won’t walk about the science behind it. The research is there, it’s been reliably corroborated, and tested again and again. All with the same result: Earth is not meant to be a planet of factories.

This should also not be taken as an excuse to NOT raise technology in poverty-stricken areas. We’re not going have a global power or pollution catastrophe overnight. The idea is that we should support efforts to spread green technology and make it powerful enough to replace current means of generating power.

Solar Energy and Electricity

There are some pretty unique suggestions from the tech world about what should be done about the problem of energy and standard of living. Entrepreneurs like Elon Musk have proposed solutions such as Tesla and Solar City to the be the salvation of the human race. Tesla has been driving down prices for fully electric cars for a while now. Their early models were luxury supercars, their 2017 model is set to be a $30,000 car. It’s not a cheap car, but the technology now costs about ⅛ of what it used to.

The biggest problem with solar in the past has been that it just doesn’t generate the power that we use today, and the cost makes all of the savings worthless to the average family. It’s less of a hit on the paycheck to just stay on the regular grid. However, prices are coming down faster, and the technology is almost halving in price. Recently after massive power grid failures in Australia, Solar City offered to power parts of Australia completely off green energy and entered into negotiations to begin. This is likely just the first of many countries that will start to rely more on solar energy.

We Don’t Have Enough Land for People

People are starting to live longer and longer, and the trend is unlikely stop. Overcrowding is a real threat, and the human population is undergoing exponential growth. There have been all kinds of solutions thrown around for this problem, but the most interesting has to go to the idea of floating landmasses.

People like Peter Thiel have theorized that if we make landmasses that just float above the ocean, we can create new continents that leave areas of wildlife mostly alone, especially if we put these new landmasses somewhere where there isn’t too much marine life.

This sounds like insane science fiction but consider the facts: by 2050 there are estimated to be 9 billion people on the earth, 2 billion more than there are currently. Imagine if today, a portal opened and the population of two Chinwasere just dumped on Earth. That is the kind of population increase we are looking at here, and that is a conservative estimate. Some estimates show three billion or more in the next 20-30 years.

Even today, we have an overcrowding problem. Imagine if every family on Earth had a small 0.5 acre plot of land and a house; we don’t have enough land to support THAT.

If we don’t want to start building housing in the middle of Yellowstone National Park or in the Amazon Rainforest, we’re going to need a place to put everyone.

Pollution on Earth

If every family on our theoretical Earth had a car, our planet would be completely poisoned in a matter of a few decades. Not 200 years from now… Maybe 50-60 years. And to meet that demand for cars, we would need to build more factories, which would just speed up the process.

I’m not an alarmist; we haven’t killed our planet yet. But the Earth can’t meet the demands of technology at the current levels. We should give everyone equal opportunity and access to technology, but we should also reduce our own footprint as much as possible, and embrace technology that reduces the environmental burden on the planet. Human-made landmasses aren’t sci-fi; they’re going to need to be a part of our future if we want people to have good housing. Electric cars aren’t a novelty; they are what will allow us to KEEP driving without filling up the air with enough gasses to suffocate us. And pollution isn’t some boogeyman that people try to scare us with; it’s a proven fact in study after study. Science fiction can’t be fiction if we want to continue living at a high standard of living.

About Caleb Smith

Caleb is a freelance writer and music student from the United States, with a passion for comic books, reading, and punk rock. He loves writing about often overlooked and under-reported stories to help raise awareness.

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