The NGO Global Footprint Network is assessing an “Overshoot Day,” that is, the date when humanity’s ecological footprint exceeds the share of natural resources provided by the Earth system annually. Thus, according to his calculations, in 2020 humanity began to live above the planet’s resources from August 22.
Resources that are overexploited, to continue to live on Earth for so long, there are no infinite number of solutions. Future studies present two main scenarios that current events help us clarify.
The first is based on the pursuit of technology-based economic growth. Its actors are not in denial about climate change or the limited nature of the resources; On the contrary, they realize that humanity on Earth will be destroyed. They choose to go ahead and colonize other planets (it would take the equivalent of 2.5 Earths to maintain a French way of life!).
The colonization of other planets is no longer a utopia
If it is still a matter of promises, it is no longer a utopia. On February 18th, we were able to excitedly witness the landing of the little robot on Mars Determination NASA, and its mission to search for the effects of life. Knowing that Mars may have water resources in the form of fossil ice, it would be possible to live there. The robot even sent us a selfie on its Twitter account with this message: Perseverance will get you anywhere (“Perseverance will get you anywhere”). Admittedly …
But the beauty of the imagery and the scientific and technical prowess could not obscure the fact that it is also a harbinger of the commercial invasion of space, which is spearheaded by Elon Musk. Thanks to his company, SpaceX, he plans to transport a million people to the Red Planet by 2050. He even dreams of dying there.
This scenario is the fortress worlds scenario, the elite secession scenario. Mankind’s survival, we mean the rich, will pass through other planets.
The second scenario aims to preserve housing conditions on the land. In his last book where am I ?Sociologist Bruno Latour revisits the Gaia hypothesis and presents the Earth as a “biological layer confined to the Earth,” a layer a few kilometers thick built by billions of years of co-evolution and interdependence of living things.
The goal next is to reform the land, to protect it from overheating of more than 1.5 degrees Celsius, to defend the life forms in this critical region that the economy continues to manufacture. To do this, we must understand our connections, and on what and with whom we depend.
This scenario, which Bruno Latour called the “ravers”, and which he considers an optimistic version of is the “Ecological Society” scenario, relies on modern scientific knowledge no less than the previous scenario. Thus, we now know that microorganisms play a role in major planetary equilibria, in the case of ecosystems, but also in maintaining our bodies which are home to ten times more microbes than human cells. Understanding the interactions between humans and nonhumans, imagining living together, and working without economics are challenges to sustainability science.
In these two projects, the future appears as an area to be explored. But they are distinguished by their definition of the human being and the political and social organization on which it is based. Could you be a human without being an earthly man?
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