Almost two decades have been marked by record-breaking hurricanes, floods and heatwaves. It is snowing plastic in the Arctic, our shorelines and marine life are choked and bound in plastic, yet conditions continue to deteriorate further. Since the 2020 pandemic began, there have been an estimated 194 billion disposable face masks and gloves being tossed every month, washing up on shorelines, worldwide.
Almost 15 years ago, ‘sustainability’ became an overnight household term. From one day to the next, practically every existing corporate company had put in place a sustainability program, recycling bins, dedicated staff and budgets. Never before have the concept and implications of sustainability reached so far, as they have in the last two decades. Yet in the blink of an eye, it has been put to rest with the arrival of Covid-19.
The long term impact of our day to day actions, on the environment, have been a concern for mankind far longer than most of us realize. As far back as the 17th century, Forestry was the first economic activity where people were confronted with the long term issues surrounding forestry and sustainability.
Following the USA’s first landing on the moon, in the 1970’s, there was a strong stirring with concerns for the future of our planet. In just a few decades we’ve reached a critical point. Now that we have the resources, tools, knowledge and technology to save our planet, those with the means to do so have turned their eyes, power and wealth towards Mars.
New Frontiers To Fight Over Are In Cyberspace Or Outer Space
In the midst of a global pandemic, China managed 140 launches into orbit. With an exhaustive five year program for their new orbital space station, the retrieval of Martian samples and a Jupiter exploratory mission, for starters.
India launched its ‘Defense Space Research Organization’ which is charged with finding and implementing defense applications for India’s entire spectrum of space technologies and protecting India’s interests in space.
We all know where Musks stands when it comes to ensuring the survival of the human race. He is a firm believer that a permanent and self-sustaining presence on Mars is needed, in case earth is left uninhabitable and he has put his money where his mouth is.
A Martian city is being designed in the Dubai desert, made up of pressurized bio-domes, covered with transparent polyethylene membrane, like those we’ve seen in many sci-fi movies and series.
So far, NASA, China and the United Arab Emirates all launched missions to mars in July, 2020. Always follow the money if you want a glimpse of the future. We are living at a time when the new frontiers to fight over are in cyberspace or outer space and 2021 promises to be a competitive race for all invested parties.
We were promised a sustainable future, with cars that don’t burn oil, a future where central power stations would be redundant, and carbon emissions, a thing of the past. Where industries no longer dump toxic waste into our waters. We have the resources and the technology, to do all this and we are already seeing important changes in the automotive industry.
Surely between climate and marine policy advisors, and activists, technology and science, we should stand a chance of saving the planet, but will this happen? How can this happen when countries, governments, top scientists, researchers, architects and tycoons are invested in an evacuation program to Mars?
Regardless of the scope, ambitions and investments being made with this race towards Mars, one thing is clear, Mars represents something other than a solution to our dying planet, and it will permanently alter our world’s geo-political equilibrium. New powers will emerge.
Earth Or Mars?
I have a foreboding that sometime soon the planet will be polarized and split into two, between those that believe the future of the human race can only be ensured by colonizing Mars and those that believe we can fix Earth. Which of these two factions would you side with?
Call me old world, but I happen to love planet earth and have intuitively known, since I was a child, that it was the only planet I could call home. Sure, like most kids, I had my share of fantasies about space travel, and going to the moon, after all my generation grew up with the space race between Russia and the US and witnessed the first landing on the moon.
As magical, life changing and mind bending it was to watch Neil Armstrong do his moonwalk, I was grateful we had earth.
It has been said that Modern man often lives detached from his environment and has long lost the understanding that we are one with nature. Perhaps we don’t deserve this exotic paradise we named earth. Perhaps we deserve to live under plastic domes on a desolate, unwelcoming planet such as Mars? If so, how will future generations feel about not having had the chance to live their lives as earthlings? In most sci-fi stories, they always want to find a way back to earth, even if it means dying.
If nothing else, at least our stories speak loud and strong about our passionate love for planet earth. In a world divided by frontiers, race, religion and politics surely we must be able to identify as earthlings, at the very least.
It is frustrating to see so much money and resources being invested in a space race, when these powers could join forces to save our planet. How ironic and sad, to think that all that awaits human civilization, in the near future, is a desolate, harsh planet where people live in bubbles, imitating earth.