The Fate of Mankind
by Jared Conner
As humans, we have long considered the Earth as invincible, unchangeable, and unable to be exploited. The thing is, we are wrong. Because of our flawed beliefs over the last two centuries, we have begun to wound, change, and exploit the Earth. And if we do not unite, forget our differences, and work together to stop and reverse the desecration of the Earth, then by the year 2200, humanity will have ceased to exist.
Imagine that in a few centuries, advanced,
The story begins in the 19th century. The Industrial Revolution begins in Britain, and changes how we live forever. The fuel that powers the machine of technological advancement in the ensuing years is coal. Soon, we get our first taste of electricity. Michael Faraday makes the first electrical generator, and by 1930, electricity is quickly spreading into our lives. We see that electricity is useful and soon become dependent upon it for lighting. Technological advances are made and we soon enjoy an unprecedented age of luxuries and opportunities. We become addicted to electricity, which would not be unfortunate if we did not rely upon fossil fuels for generating it. In the second half of the 20th century, we realize that this addiction, while giving us luxurious ways of life, is causing us to wound, change, and exploit the Earth. And yet, we choose to kick the can on down the road, choose to take no steps toward preventing climate change, and deny that we are addicted to fossil-fuel-generated electricity. In the first decades of the 21st century, we accept that we have a problem, but, because of political noncooperation and deliberation within and amongst governments, and the controversial appearance of climate change to the public, too little is done to stop the addiction from causing negative consequences. Humanity begins to actually witness global warming occurring, and pulls together to gradually end the use of fossil fuels beginning in the middle of the 21st century, but even this does not prevent the addiction from consuming and destroying us.
In the year 2070, fossil fuels are officially made illegal to use worldwide. This action is taken as a last-ditch effort to stop climate change, despite the lack of available large-scale alternative resources to make the transition. As a result of this and the effects of climate change, society quickly collapses. That year marks the end of the age of luxury and society and the beginning of the last age: the age of extinction. The world population of humans is reduced to about 3 billion almost immediately. By the last few decades of the century, global temperatures have risen by more than 6 degrees Fahrenheit over normal. The 6 degrees mark is the point of no return, and global warming has become self-sustaining. As permafrost and glaciers melt, potent greenhouse gases are released, warming the Earth more quickly.
Humans in this age live in small, isolated communities where food can still be grown. As time wears on, fewer places are able to sustain human life on the Earth. We revert to primitive ways of life that we had strived to rise out of for most of our history. Our global population steadily declines, and many species of life go extinct in this age. And, in the year 2192, the last few human beings to inhabit the Earth die from starvation. This is how Mankind, a race so intelligent and powerful, and possibly the only species of intelligent life to ever inhabit the universe, wrought its own demise.
This sad story is a projection of how we could perish from the Earth. But things do not have to happen this way. We are the masters of our own fate. We can prevent this horrible future if and only if, we work together and abandon fossil fuel fuels for sustainable, renewable, and clean energy resources. The technology is already here to make the transition. And, since we have procrastinated for so long, immediate and extreme actions must be taken to stop and reverse climate change. Right now, within this decade, we, as the people that inhabit the Earth must ask ourselves a difficult question: are we mature enough to end the addiction? Our answers, and the actions we take as a result of them, will determine the fate of mankind.
Jared Conner is a 15-year-old American high school student dedicated to promoting sustainable, renewable, and clean energy resources to his community. He plans to become either an engineer or a scientist, and hopes to discover ways to greatly enhance and increase efficiency of existing clean energy technologies.
Image: global warming / climate change image via Shutterstock