As of October 19, 2018, there is no planet B for humanity to migrate to in the event Earth is no longer habitable. There are billions upon billions of planets out there, but our space advances are just nowhere near capable of sustaining life for 7.6 billion people on another planet. By the year 2050, the population is predicted to grow to roughly 10 billion. And by 2100, the population is expected to reach more than 11 billion. By these later dates, it is quite possible for a new planet to be fully inhabited. In the 30s, NASA’s Mars One is to colonize the red planet. So at this point in time, we must carry on here on Earth and prolong the time that the planet can sustain life.
The crucial fact is that the population is growing, growing, and growing some more. Why? Because age of life expectancy has grown from 52 years, back in 1960, to well into the 80s and even 90s, in 2018. Healthcare, safety, financial security, bodily nutrition and fitness, and access to clean water and healthy foods grants the extended expectancy to life today over the last century’s expectancy. However, our access to clean water may not be the case in a decade. Although 75% of Earth is water, only 2.5% is freshwater, and less than 1% is readily available for humanity. We will likely be in a shortage by 2035. There is already warfare going on in the far eastern parts of the world. Almost every day, a natural disaster claims the lives of thousands. Our oceans have become plagued with plastics and waste that inherently poison the ecosystems living underwater. We rely on fish as a source of food. Pretty soon, our food supplies will run out. Meats are the main source of proteins, and if animals are gone, our bodies will shut down, which means we are gone to. Trees are torn down by the billions each year. We rely on trees for oxygen, paper, and to feed animals. If those animals cannot survive, neither can we. Trees also counter harmful gasses in the environment like carbon monoxide. If we continue to waste paper and not recycle, we are wasting trees and throwing lives away. Access to clean water is not readily available in all parts of the world. And yet, despite all this death, our human population continues to grow. By 2100, the population will increase by 45%. Think of how crowded our cities and towns are today, and imagine what a 45% increase will result in. We are already overpopulated as is. War and violence seen today is just the beginning. When resources deplete at a steady rate, it’s human nature to fight for control of whatever is left. All of these things play a role in the sustainability of life. If we disrupt one aspect of life, we cause a chain reaction that results in the inability to properly function as a society and planet. Yes, that’s correct—there is much to learn from fictitious literature.
What is a possible solution to population overgrowth? Population control is an approach that may or may not seem favorable to enact. The name speaks for itself—the population is controlled. In other words, there is a limit to how many children are allowed into the world. It is used in large countries like China and Russia. However, this method poses the problem of economic stagnation or decline. If too few people occupy a nation, there is no fuel for the economy. If too many people occupy a nation, there is too much competition and scarcity become prevalent. Population control can work if the resultant implications are managed and strategically thought through to the dot. It’s been implemented in the past and to an extent, still is today. However, it poses the matter of ethics. Another possible solution is to better educate our upcoming generations, so they are aware of the issue. A huge issue with too many people is too few resources to support those people. If people start to ration resources and use them at a legally controlled rate, we can prolong our planetary life expectancy until we can transport ourselves off this rock. That is the third solution—start anew on a different planet.
How can we survive? Though it is possible to inhabit Mars or some other planet, humanity would be faced with many problems and similar situations that are faced on Earth today. The solution is as follows: we must inhabit an entire system of planets and divide ourselves amongst them all. For example, if there were 20 habitable planets out there, in the year 2100 we could put roughly 1.8 billion people on each and go from there. However, Earth is the only known planet to sustain life at present. We cannot assume 20 planets are available for us at our own expense. This raises the point that wouldn’t all these planets just rise up into a planetary warfare against all others for control. It also raises the point of how the people would be distributed between planets? Would it be by country, continent, or by race? None of those options are viable; all raise questions of ethics, segregation, and a massive mound of politics. Well, here’s one solution to it all: have one central planet that could govern them all. That raises the point of totalitarianism and ultimate authority. Therefore, should each planet govern itself? At what point would we have to find another universe in the supposed multiverse. What about the transportation of resources from planet to planet? Would we be forced into a cross planet trading system? As we can see, it’s a continuous puzzle of never-ending questions, what if’s, and consequences. These are the types of questions we need to be asking today. We all talk of changing the world. How can we do that if society is too focused on petty things like gossip and social media.
There is no clear-cut answer to the issue of overpopulation. There are numerous ways of tackling the problem, all of which raise even more questions. We can explore the land beyond and never look back or we can preserve our earth for as long as we can by way of rations and population control. Or we can do both, simultaneously. The future has always been a mystery waiting to be solved. It’s really all too bad that so few people discuss these dilemmas. There are questions that need to be asked and questions that need answers. Intelligent people discuss ideas. All others discuss people. One mind can only do so much. Think of what 7.6 billion people could achieve, together, as one people, with one purpose, with one heart, and with one determined mindset.
On a scientific note, we were put on this planet as a starting point. There is no limit to the exploration into the deepest parts of the land beyond (space). Thereby, there is no limit to the planets we should seek to inhabit. There is an infinitude of planets out there, and most definitely alien life of some sort. Perhaps they are ahead of our world and have discovered the way of endless life amongst each other. Perhaps they have the answers to Earth’s population problem. Perhaps one day we can learn to lives alongside them. Perhaps their planets are much larger than ours and can house a greater number of people.
On a philosophical note, we were put on this particular earth for a reason. If we cannot sustain life on this earth, should we even have a second chance on another planet? If we cannot manage our resources on this earth, what is to say we will be able to on another planet? If we cannot function together as a unified people on this planet, what is to say we will be able to on another one? By our very nature, we are destructive beings who seek power and control. If we cannot contain and control our own selves, why should we be able to gain power over others? If we cannot have peace and love for all humankind in this world, what is to say it will be possible anywhere else in the universe? This planet is our home and our one shot at distinguishing ourselves from all other beings. Humans are a unique species in that we have endless curiosity about the world, the beings around us, and how we fit in as one person out of 7.6 billion. Some of us are driven by the quest for knowledge, while others are driven by anger, violence, and greed. This world is our home and we must defend it from our own selves at all costs.