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, extraterrestrial beings visit Earth. They would arrive to a world that is in ruin, with half of the species that inhabit Earth right now extinct, including us. They would descend from their spacecraft into a world that is literally besieged by nature, with seas swallowing up land, deserts spreading and invading once fertile areas, super-massive hurricanes ravaging coasts, and much of the surface too hot to sustain life. This once great world would tell the extraterrestrial explorers a sad story of addiction and death.

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


About the Author

  • We’ll only bring about our own destruction. Not a bad thing really. Just another failed mutation. That’s all we are.

  • DirkH

    Jared, there are 1,500 years of known resources of energy raw materials, not counting Uranium or Lithium or Thorium in seawater.
    As for the CO2: Relax. It’s plant food. Look back a few million years, CO2 concentrations were a lot higher. The Sahara is starting to green as plants can, under higher CO2 concentrations, survive with less stomata, meaning that they need to evaporate less water and can thrive in areas that were too dry before.

  • Richard Galas

    We are currently in one of the worst ice ages the world has ever seen….

  • Melania Padilla

    This may be so true for humans…. Thanks for posting

  • Dylan

    When one is given the facts on the role that fossil fuels play in global warming it is disconcerting to think that all projections for oil consumption lead to the same conclusion. Namely up up and away. It’s a wonder why we don’t just combine the two most common platitudes, i.e. ‘global warming’ and ‘climate change’, into a more inclusive one: “Environmental Holocaust”. This would be a much better description of the situation. Calling it an “Environmental Holocaust” might help people to conceptualise the seriousness of the current environmental situation confronting this and coming generations. We are allowing a Holocaust to happen just as the German people did. We feel powerless to stop the machine operating on our behalf with us as its justification. We do not know the extent of the destruction, for how could we. The effects of the machine are hidden just as the effects of the German Holocaust were hidden from the German people. The victims of this holocaust presently are not human minorities in a fascist state but non human entities, animals, eco-systems, forests, oceans and ultimately the human species.

    There is a disjunction in our culture of consumption, however we could combine sustainable consumption and production with a more rewarding/virtuous way of life. Sustainability is the name of the game and it could become a justification for materialism, a new religion or value system to replace the old. We have the ability to create a sustainable civilization all we are lacking is the will. As John F. Kennedy once said: We have the power to make this the best generation of mankind in the history of the world-or to make it the last.’

    • Well said. Very salient points there. It is a good analogy, but one that is politically difficult to use.