HUMANS - The real threat to life on Earth

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Posted By : Kritika, Class 10, GOODLEY PUBLIC SCHOOL

If all insects and arthropods on Earth suddenly die, within 50 years life would perish.

But if all humans on Earth suddenly die, within 50 years life would flourish...!!


Earth is home to millions of species, but just one dominates it, We ! Our intellect, inventions and actions have modified almost every part of the planet and are now the drivers of every global problems that we face. And such problems are increasing as we continue to grow towards a global population of 10 billion by the end of the century. This digit is set to increase with no scope for any decrease.

As the global population started to explode, there was not much strain on the water resources. But as time went on the demand for water not only increased but also became the common commercial global garbage bag or simply dumpyard.

Climate is one of the Earth's fundamental requirement for  supporting life systems that determine whether or not humans will be able to live on this planet. It is generated by four components and our activities have started modifying them all. Our Carbon dioxide emissions modify our atmosphere. Our increasing water usage modifies our hydrosphere. Rising atmospheric and sea surface temperature (most notably the shrinking of Arctic Ice Cap), our increasing use of land and pollution modify our biosphere. To put it another way, We have started modifying our climate !

Demand for land for food production is going to increase three times by the end of the century which means we would have to clear the world's remaining rainforests as they are predominantly the only land available to expand agriculture at that scale. We currently have no other means of feeding 10 billion of 'us' at the current rate of consumption. Indeed to simply feed ourselves in the next 40 years, we need to produce more food than the entire agricultural output of the past 10,000 years combined. Yet the food productivity is set to decline due to climate change, land degradation, desertification and water stress.

Still, aren't we humans smart enough to cut trees, make paper out of them and write on them "SAVE TREES"...

We are going to have to triple our energy production by the end of the century to meet the expected demand, which leaves us with two options. Either to build millions of dams, wind turbines and solar panels, or to keep going with the predominant oil, coal and gas and build thousands of new power stations. But our existing oil, coal and gas reserves are worth trillions of dollars. Are the governments, oil, coal and gas companies really going to decide to leave all the money in the ground? I doubt.

So, where does it leave us? Let's look at it like this.

If we discovered that there was an asteroid on a collision path with the Earth and- since our Science is so advanced- we calculate that it was going to hit Earth on 22th April, 2072, i.e. Earth Day, and we knew it's impact was going to wipe out 70% of life on Earth, all the governments of th world, scientists, engineers, research centres would be marshalled into unprecedent actions to either save the Earth or find a way for our species to survive and rebuild if the first option was unsuccessful.

We are almost precisely in the same situation, except that there aren't a specific date or asteroid.

As a matter of fact, there is a limit to how many people the Earth can support. The question is, is it 7 billion (Our current population), 10 billion or 28 billion. Or may be we have gone past it, well past it.

It is possible that The most intellectual creature to ever walk the Earth would destroy its only home.  And in the present scenario, this situation seems inevitable...!!


Note from the Editor: We definitely live in a cruncing world whose resources are limited but the human needs are quadrapuling. In this scenario, let us discuss how schools can teach their students: "How to protect our earth through minute steps that can be practiced anywhere by each one of us:"

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Well written article
Conservation of natural resources is definitely the need of the hour
As teachers we do emphasise on this from time to time

Posted on : 08-09-2017 09:57:04