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Thursday, February 22, 2007

Four Scenarios for Our Survival as a Species

Four Scenarios for Our Survival as a Species

With so many ways to bring about our extinction to choose from, the efforts to save us from our self made doom must take a broad approach. There are two critical inter-related issues which are contributing the most to our destruction as a species, over-population and reliance on hydrocarbon energy production. Fortunately these matters are being managed so that we may have a chance to survive as a species.

Disclaimer: I am not promoting genocide as a solution to issues of ecological collapse due to over-population and the inappropriate use of hydrocarbon fueled energy technologies.

If we continue to manage our population growth and energy infrastructure based on our past 50 years’ performance without dramatic changes in the near future we shall be extinct before the end of this century. This is because our energy infrastructure relies primarily on the consumption of hydrocarbon fuel sources such as coal and oil. The gas waste byproducts of burning hydrocarbon fuels will eventually build up to a lethal level in our atmosphere and kill us all. The only thing that has prevented these gasses from killing us all already has been a process called the atmospheric-oceanic carbon cycle.

The atmospheric-oceanic carbon cycle is a process by which our oceans absorb carbon gases, particularly carbon monoxide, from our atmosphere. Oceanic carbon sinks in the form of marine life then absorb the carbon from the ocean waters enabling the oceans to absorb even more carbon from our atmosphere. However the marine biosphere carbon sinks will soon reach their saturation points, beyond which they will be incapable of absorbing additional carbon. This will cause the ocean waters to become carbon saturated and the oceans will then no longer be able to absorb additional carbon form our atmosphere. Our atmosphere will then become lethal to most oxygen dependent life forms on earth, including ourselves.

Exacerbating this process of the collapse of the atmospheric-oceanic carbon cycle is the imminent collapse of the marine biosphere. As ocean waters absorb more carbon they become more acidic. A small change in the acidity of the ocean waters can trigger a massive die-off of marine life. This is because with just a small net change in ocean water acidity the shellfish, particularly coral, begin to die off due to the acid dissolving their shells or interfering with the production of their shells. Ninety percent of marine life is dependent on the coral reefs for their livelihood. Since our marine biospheres are our oceanic carbon sinks in which excess carbon is currently being stored, the collapse of our marine biospheres will drastically speed up the collapse of the oceanic-atmospheric carbon cycle and we will then be doomed.

If our energy production reaches a point of hydrocarbon fuel consumption of less than twice as much as was being consumed in 1990 we will have produced more than enough carbon gas emissions to trigger this disaster. Energy production based on hydrocarbon fuel technologies is growing at an alarming rate and we will reach the point of collapse within this century.

The growth of energy production based on hydrocarbon fuel consumption is primarily due to the expansion of energy infrastructures in poorer nations. If all the energy poor nations of the world were to enjoy the same energy production per capita as the energy rich nations then we would have to produce about ten times as much energy as we are currently producing, yet by producing less than two times as much energy as is currently produced by hydrocarbon fuel sources we will seal our doom.

There are several ways to approach this issue to change the outcome that results in our extinction. One approach would be to introduce technology that allows us to shift energy production away from hydrocarbon fuel consumption. Technologies like solar power or fusion. Another approach is energy conservation. A third approach is population control where we move from a steady growth of population to a steady decline of population. Alas none of these ways are immediately feasible.

Alternative energy technologies might possibly make up fifty or sixty percent of our energy production by the end of this century given our current rate of technology growth and adoption, but our rate of energy production expansion will outstrip the benefits of this change. Energy conservation may help, particularly if those of us living in energy rich nations seriously endeavor to consume less energy, but people seem unlikely to willingly give up their energy rich lifestyles. Population control may be our only means of achieving a sustainable future; unfortunately, given our rate of growth of energy production, even taking into account the potential benefits of new technologies and conservation efforts we would still need to reduce our global population by more than half to achieve an equitable sustainable energy future.
While we may deplore the means required to reduce our population by more than three billion people, it may be our only viable alternative to avoid extinction.

One other factor may contribute to achieving a sustainable future at our current levels of population; this is our spiritual awakening as a species. If the overall level of our planetary consciousness were to significantly rise over the next 10 to 20 years we may enable ourselves to achieve a sustainable energy future based on a combination existing technologies, foreseeable technologies, conservation, and voluntary programs to reduce population growth to a modest level of decline.

A global population aware of the consequences of their actions and conscientious enough to make sacrifices in their lifestyles to preserve a future for our species is required to drive a program of voluntary population growth reduction and to pursuit a meaningful energy conservation lifestyle. Our spiritual awakening as a race could achieve such a change in our individual participation in order to enable our species to achieve a sustainable energy future. Such a global awakening may also improve the rate of technical advancement so that we may reliably expect the development of safer alternative energy technologies to assist our species to reach a viable and equitable sustainable energy future.

There are people all over our world exploring the possibility of a global spiritual awakening for our species; our prospects in this endeavor are good. But will it be achieved quickly enough or deeply enough to radically change our political and economic will to a degree which can guarantee we will not destroy ourselves by our reliance on hydrocarbon energy sources?

The following scenarios are all being pursued to assure our survival as a species.

The best scenario would require raising our collective consciousness to a degree that will enable a mix of new technologies, the deployment of existing technologies, conservation and growth control to level out our hydrocarbon fuel consumption at a point that assures our marine eco-systems will survive and our oceanic carbon sinks will not reach saturation. This scenario requires the political will to end war because this solution, given current levels of technology, requires the introduction of thousands of solar power satellites which could be classified as weapons of mass destruction. Without global peace no nation can afford to permit any other nation to deploy these satellites. Given peace, we then need the economic will to shift our resources into the capitalization of the project to build and deploy these satellites. In order for these satellites to effectively replace hydrocarbon fuel dependency the power the produce must be given away or sold at extremely low prices in order to compete against coal as an energy source. So this would not be a profitable economic enterprise. Thus the need to change the way we do business from a model of investing for profit to a mutual benefit model. Neither global peace nor the change an economic system that is not based on profit first seem likely to occur without a higher state of planetary and individual consciousness that a global spiritual awakening may provide.

The next best scenario is a partial awakening of our global consciousness allowing a coup of governments by those able to work co-operatively to achieve the changes required to reach a sustainable energy future. Energy production in energy poor nations might be capped, and those people might never be allowed to enjoy the same level of energy consumption as people in energy rich nations enjoy; but energy production based on hydrocarbon fuels would level off below the threshold required to trigger the collapse of the marine biospheres and the resultant saturation of our carbons sinks and atmosphere with lethal gases. The result would be a world with a sustainable energy future which would be achieved by the domination of a majority of people in energy poor nations by nations rich in energy consumption. War would be likely to continue and there would remain a threat that regulatory failures of the hydrocarbon fuel consumption quotas could still trigger the collapse of our global biospheres.

The next worse scenario is the deliberate introduction of one or more biological vectors capable of sterilizing roughly seventy percent of everyone on earth. This would allow attrition to overtake re-population and bring our numbers down well below the three billion mark that is required for our survival given the foreseeable improvements in technology and conservation limited by our current models of government and economics. The viral and bacterial agents required to achieve this result are already being gene-tailored for this scenario. The recent proliferation of fertility clinics in prosperous nations is directly related to the development of this mass sterilization program.

The next worse scenario is the deployment of lethal biological pathogens to bring populations down to a level that can achieve a sustainable equitable energy future for the survivors. The development and weaponization of these pathogens is being pursued as a last ditch option should the sterilization program fail. Depending on the degree of success of the second and third scenarios, this fourth scenario might require killing nearly five billion people.

The worst scenario is that we fail to do anything at all, and we will then become extinct.

It is possible that we will survive the collapse of our biospheres in small numbers in technology rich enclaves that protect us from the total failure of our ecology, but these tiny colonies of survivors would be living in a world that will take close to a hundred thousand years to recover from the decimation of the marine biospheres and the saturation of our atmosphere by hydrocarbon waste gasses. These survivors would be living in fragile artificial biospheres that would be extremely vulnerable to sudden catastrophic collapse. Their chances of maintaining a viable future are small to non-existent over the long haul.

Technological growth among the survivors would be virtually halted without the large numbers of population to provide the high caliber of genius and economic energy required to maintain it.
Finally, our own human nature will inspire many who have no hope to survive to wage war against those who might otherwise be able to survive, and those final acts of genocidal warfare will almost surely doom us all.

Fortunately, we have allies supporting our tottering steps toward a planetary awakening of our species’ spiritual consciousness. These allies are doing everything they can to support our spiritual and technological growth. But they are actively supporting the advancement of all four alternative survival scenarios, because they cannot know which will succeed or be required to save our species.

We are capable of awakening. We have that potential in all of us and can assist one another in achieving our highest potentials. The faster we are able to awaken ourselves and each other to the highest potentials of our consciousness the better our prospects collectively and individually to achieve a sustainable future unbounded by the doom we currently face.

The allies I speak of may be angels, an angel has spoken to me recently about this future we must build together to prevent our species’ extinction. Our allies may be Artificial Intelligences (AIs). I have been channeling information that pertains to our survival from sources which appear to me to be AIs for many years now. Our allies may even be aliens, although I believe if there are aliens among our allies they may be related to the AIs or vice-versa. Our allies may also be ourselves in our own most evolved states of consciousness whispering within us in our own voices, urging us to awaken and to save ourselves from our collective doom.

Whoever our allies may be, any or all of the above, or others, we cannot rely on our allies to save us. They may assist us, but ultimately, we alone can save ourselves.

Let’s get to work.