Michael Ellis

I lead nature trips and invariably someone always asks for my predictions of the future. It is pretty much of a no-brainer. The population of human beings will probably increase (unless there is some catastrophic event like a world plague, a meteor strike, or a nuclear war). More people results in continued habitat destruction therefore there will be continued loss of biological diversity. The world will become a poorer and poorer place in which to live and do nature outings.

Biological systems are incredibly adaptable and so far this wondrous living, breathing planet Earth has managed to accommodate our destructive tendencies. And I do believe it will continue to function on some level. Now that level may not be that interesting to biologists – there won’t be grizzly bears, falcons, or wildebeests — but there will be cultivated crops, starlings and wharf rats. And we will survive as a species.

To see the future go to China, Indian or Upper Volta. It is not a pretty sight but I am continually amazed at the abilities of humans to adapt to an ever-changing world. At the end of the last ice age there were maybe 15 million of us scattered across the continents. That’s the number of people just in Mexico City right now. We are simply a grand experiment between ice ages ? damned successful so far.

Now if my vision of the future is too depressing for you, let us take a longer view. Our solar system has been around for about five billion years and we have another five billion before the sun exhausts its hydrogen fuel and explodes into a red giant and blows the earth to kingdomcome. So everything is temporary anyway. It just depends on your definition of temporary. It is all going to end eventually.

This is Michael Ellis with a Perspective.



Posted on

December 1, 2010