Our Home: Can we Save it?
An Introduction: What Will the Future be like for Humanity?
You must not lose faith in humanity. Humanity is an ocean; if a few drops of the ocean are dirty, the ocean does not become dirty. - Mahatma Gandhi
It's a question most if not all people have posed at one time or another during their lifetime and has no doubt inspired many a tentative debate.
What will the future be like?
Not for you or I but for the human race as a whole. It depends upon perspective I suppose and in that, it's obvious that there will be a myriad answers to this question. I can look at the world as it is today and say that based on how deeply entrenched we remain in war and petty squabbles whilst resources dwindle and our once flourishing forests decline, that we are headed for calamity of one form or another.
That's just one perspective, however and I don't expect everyone to see through the same lens.
Therefore, In in an effort to answer this question from both a positive standpoint and a negative one I have put together 10 possible outcomes for humanity.
It's time to answer the question: What will the future be like?
Outcome One: Utopian Paradise
The term 'Utopia' was first coined by Sir Thomas Moore in 1516 for his book Utopia and refers to a society that is based on just and fair values where all are equal and resources are distributed fairly.
Although presently, a Utopian society would seem to be nothing more than a fanciful reality when you look at the current state of the world and its affairs, there is still hope that such a future may one day materialize.
It might take some enormous shifts in perspective in order to achieve such an existence, but if humanity learns from its mistakes this Utopian dream could still come about. Such a world would rarely be tainted by the rigors of war and its citizens would experience a level of happiness unheard of in the historical records.
What Will the Future be like for Humanity in a Utopian Paradise?
A Utopian paradise may see such things as:
- Eradication of disease and an increased life-expectancy
- Almost no war
- Equal rights for everyone
- Citizens only doing work which they love
- The abolition of money
- Fair distribution of resources and goods
- A more symbiotic relationship with nature
- Few laws
- No poverty
These are just a few of the possible outcomes that such a society would entail. I think you'll agree with me when I say that this kind of future would be ideal.
Outcome Two: Dystopia
Now for the first of the undesirable futures that might come about - Dystopia. Dystopia was first coined by John Stuart Mill, a British philosopher, in the late nineteenth century and is the direct opposite of Utopia.
While Utopia refers to a veritable paradise, Dystopia is quite the opposite and points to a society that is ruled by fear and dehumanization. There have been many works of fiction depicting such a society and one of the most famous of all is George Orwell's 1984 in which the population of London is subjected to a totalitarian rule. Under such conditions, citizens live in abject poverty, are herded like cattle by state police and military and privacy is a thing of the past.
What Will the Future be like for Humanity in a Dystopia?
- Citizens will be treated like cattle
- Mass brainwashing of civilians in order to convince them that the state is virtually God and can do no wrong
- A barbaric legal system in which torture and death are acceptable
- A distrust of the outside world
- A powerful figurehead worshiped by the masses
- 24 hour surveillance, a virtual prison
- Severe poverty among the middle and lower classes whilst the upper classes enjoy luxury
This is a frightening prospect and unfortunately, there are some signs that this reality is already being planned by some, although many would say otherwise.
Outcome Three: Space Farers
Ah now this is more like it.
Imagine a future where mankind has become a space faring species. Just think of the possibilities for exploration, expansion and eventually colonization. It's an exciting prospect for our species and could be the answer to the looming problems of overpopulation and resource exhaustion we are currently facing, not to mention lack of living space.
We've already begun. From 1968 - 1972 the NASA Apollo space program designed to take humans to the Moon for exploration purposes and data gathering were the first steps in this process and saw six successful missions to achieve this purpose.
The space program has since stagnated somewhat in regards to 'human' exploration but recently we are seeing a resurgence in interest, namely in a colonization project that has been called the Mars One Project.
The Mars One Project
The Mars One Project is a mission planned for 2022 that would see 40 humans taken to the red planet (Mars) in order to colonize it and begin the building of a new Earth.
This could be the beginning of Mankind's leap forward to become a space faring race that expands out among the stars.
What Will the Future be Like on Mars?
Outcome Four: Mass Extinction
This is unsurprisingly a frightening prospect as it would mean the complete disappearance of either all life upon Earth or just humanity. At least in the latter case, those species left could reclaim the Earth and once more flourish upon it. Still, I don't know about you but I'd rather humanity booked up its ideas and started taking the prospect of human extinction a little more seriously.
I don't have to tell you how its going to happen. I think we all know that there are numerous ways in which it could come about, one of which is the highly debated Global Warming problem which some deem to be nothing more than a concocted hoax.
Either way, humanity is still taking too many chances and need to step back for a moment and take stock of the current situation.
Outcome Five: Birth Control
You've heard of the 'one-child' policy in China right? (Recently relaxed to allow two children)
Well, if forecasters are correct, the human race is expected to exceed 9 billion by the year 2050 according to a report recently released by the United Nations. This growth is mainly expected to occur in developing countries, with the population in developed countries expected to remain roughly the same.
"The power of population is so superior to the power of the Earth to produce subsistence for man, that premature death must in some shape or other visit the human race." - Thomas Malthus
The problem with this number though is that many scientists are of the opinion that the Earth can only realistically sustain 9 - 10 billion people. Above this number, severe starvation would become a huge problem and the threat of a resource war could also result from this.
With the problems we're already facing, this is something that must be avoided. Therefore, it is highly probably that unless something changes, governments around the world will begin to put strict limits on birth rates in many countries if not all.
How they do this is up for debate. Conspiracy theorists argue that it is already being done with chemicals being released into the atmosphere in the trails of aircraft and more agents included in vaccines being administered.
Solar Flare in Action
Outcome Six: Back to Nature
This is something that many people are not aware of but the sun may well be the biggest current threat to mankind's survival.
A report funded by NASA and issued by the US National Academy of Sciences (NAS) in January 2009-2010 claims that a catastrophic disaster could befall our planet as a result of a massive solar flare from the sun. Were such an event to occur, a massive million-ton glob of plasma known as a coronal mass ejection could spew forth from the sun and strike the Earth's magnetic shield, causing a worldwide blackout.
If this were to happen, millions would die possibly billions as the electrical grid upon which we all rely is fried and put out of commission. No electricity for even a week means no clean water, no heating, no manufacturing, no internet, no communications. We'd be thrust into the dark ages only this time we would have almost no survival skills because we have come to rely on technology.
Outcome Seven: World War Three
With the never-ending conflicts that continue to plague the Earth and our species, it wouldn't be a huge surprise if World War Three were to become a reality.
The recent troubles in Syria threatened the outbreak of war but thankfully, we saw sense and sought a peaceful resolution rather than leap foolishly into yet another war.
A third World War could result in massive casualties due to the threat of nuclear weapons, not to mention the economic effects, which in themselves would cause enough damage to bring whole countries to a standstill.
Outcome Eight: Ocean and Subterranean Habitats
This future is one of the more plausible ones, if you ask me. Not only would it be a cheaper option than colonizing Mars, it would also serve to solve the overcrowding issues we may suffer in the near future if the population continues to rise at the rate it currently is.
As of yet, there are no underwater cities save for those ancient cities we have discovered submerged, but we have the resources and the technology to do it so it is a very real possibility and I can see it happening sooner rather than later.
By building cities underground and under the sea we can ease the strain on our Earth and perhaps start to heal the damage done over the last few centuries.
Outcome Nine: A Forced Change for the Better
But it's only on the brink that people find the will to change. Only at the precipice do we evolve. - The Day the Earth Stood Still
Regardless of how it comes about, whether it be through a world war, a natural disaster or a more gradual destruction of our planet, one possible outcome for the future of mankind is that things get so bad that we as a species, a whole say "Enough's enough."
It seems to be a human trait that we just don't learn until it's almost too late. We make the same mistakes over and over until eventually we face massive failure, and in humanity's case - extinction.
Perhaps then, one of the most predictable outcomes will be that we are forced to change by the circumstances we bring upon ourselves.
If this happens, we might see a shift in how humanity treats the Earth as well as itself. The Utopian dream I mentioned at the beginning of this article might then become a reality and from there every other positive possibility I've mentioned here might follow.
Therefore, if it must get bad before it gets good then so be it. At least that will mean that we learn once and for all that we can no longer take take take without putting anything back.
This very well could happen.
Outcome Ten: No More Wild Animals or Great Habitats
Just recently, I was saddened to hear that the Western Black Rhino became extinct due to poaching and loss of habitat.
This recent extinction event although highly publicized is not the only one this year, in fact according to scientists as many as 0.01 and 0.1 percent of our animal species become extinct every year. That's somewhere between 1000 - 10,000 times higher than the natural extinction rate!
It looks like a tiny amount doesn't it but let's put it into perspective.
Scientists estimate that there could be around 2 million species of animal on this planet, some believe it could be much much higher, as high as 100,000,000!
But let's say it is 2 million. At a rate of 0.01 - 0.1 percent per year that would still mean that we are losing between 200 - 2000 species of animal per year. That is a huge number!
With numbers like that, it's possible that in future there will be no more wild animals left roaming our Earth. The best chance they'll have is in zoos where they'll be safe from poachers and land stealing corporations.
We may also completely lose our great rainforests and animal habitats if we continue the way we are, devouring resources like there's no tomorrow.
A sad future.
What will the future be like? Some answers
What will the future be like? Please feel free to leave a comment. Thanks!
Glenn Stok from Long Island, NY on September 11, 2015:
You sure described a lot of interesting outcomes, and some are more realistic than others.
Taking one of the factual outcomes into consideration, it’s true that humans have come to rely on technology and therefore we have lost our survival skills. That definitely indicates an eventual end to the human race because the Earth has limited resources.
The Earth has a lifetime just as anything in nature. We know that every star in the universe eventually dies. That includes our own Sun. Once the Sun becomes a white dwarf, we've reached the end. Of course, humans, and possibly all species, will be long gone by then.
The question is, what will the future of the human race hold within the timespan that we have here on Earth? The various outcomes you described are truly circumstances to consider. And in some ways, maybe plan ahead to guide ourselves appropriately.
Kristen Howe from Northeast Ohio on March 12, 2015:
Interesting thoughts on these theories. Great insights! Congrats on Editor's Choice. Voted up!
Nadine May from Cape Town, Western Cape, South Africa on August 19, 2014:
That was a great read. I will go for the Utopian dream you mentioned at the beginning. I have written an article on the same topic, but I saw three options. If you are interested, the title is: How do we create a better world for future generations?
Richard J ONeill (author) from Bangkok, Thailand on December 22, 2013:
Yes, a war where destruction is wrought with no thought of the future, will be catastrophic and may push us over the edge. Let's hope our leaders start growing up at some point in the future!
That's a good point about land. Perhaps the future may be a world filled with massive hive cities stretching upwards to the atmosphere itself. It's doable, I guess, even with the technology we have today.
Thanks for reading and commenting.
I appreciate it.
Dean Walsh from Birmingham, England on December 17, 2013:
Given our history, I think World War III happening at some point is a near inevitability - we can only hope its not conducted on the basis of 'mutually assured destruction'. I have to say I disagree about the link between population pressure and the possibility of underwater or underground cities. Larger populations place more demands on resources and land for agriculture than they do on land to actually live on - and in any case we can always build upwards with more skyscrapers. It's a shame, because they would be really cool. Great hub though, very thought provoking and interesting.
Richard J ONeill (author) from Bangkok, Thailand on December 16, 2013:
Yeah, we just never learn. The precipice looms. Will it change us or will it be too late by then?
Thanks for commenting.
Andrew Crawley from Earth on December 11, 2013:
Man, we keep getting oil, future'll be awful.
Richard J ONeill (author) from Bangkok, Thailand on November 18, 2013:
Thanks for commenting.
Let's hope it isn't the massive solar storm but then you never know!
SAM ELDER from Home on November 18, 2013:
Very interesting and cool hub.I vote for massive solar storm...