Will Humanity Be Extinct In 100 Years?

We are currently living through a historical
period known as the Anthropocene. Beginning with industrialisation, this era
has seen a rise in pollution and uncontrolled exploitation of the world’s resources. Scientist
Frank Fenner has claimed that the Anthopocene era has had a greater impact on the world
than the ice age or any destructive comet combined. He went onto claim that if we continue in
this manner, humanity could be extinct by 2110. But Will Humanity be Extinct in 100 Years? The greatest threat to humanity is undeniably
Climate Change, with the Earth dangerously overheating, largely thanks to pollution. It is accepted that global temperatures can
rise by 2 degrees Celsius and the world will be safe. But it is predicted that the temperature
will really rise by 5 degrees by 2100. As a consequence, we will see melting ice caps,
devastating droughts, and the destruction of habitats like the Coral Reef. Worryingly
the world could be free of ice caps as soon as 2018. In 2014 the UN published a 2,600 page document
listing natural disasters that had already occurred due to climate change, including
the 2010 Pakistani floods, which affected 20 million, and killed 2,000, people. The rapidly growing frequency of natural hazards
is particularly concerning. While there were 743 reported disasters in the 1970s, this
rocketed to 3 and a half thousand between 2001 and 2010. In 2010 alone, 42 million people
were affected by these disasters. Lethal heat-waves are also increasingly frequent.
In fact they are occurring five times as often as they would in a world untouched by humans.
Researchers have suggested that the shocking Indian heatwaves, which killed nearly 2,000
people in just 10 days, may be a predecessor of a catastrophic period of increasing global
temperature. And as the world grows hotter, food will become
scarcer, with wheat and maize crops expected to plummet by 60%. And it’s not just the food
that’s running low. One of our biggest dangers is reaching the point of peak-water, the moment
in which the demand for this renewable resource begins to outstrip its availability. With no alternative to water, not only will
millions die of thirst, but the ground will be unable to provide us with crops. Currently there are 750 million people world-wide
with no access to potable water sources, and 2/3 of the population are expected to be living
in water-stressed regions by 2025. In 2015, science writer David Auerbach criticised
the G7 summit for not doing enough to tackle the danger we are in. He has claimed that
we are far past the point of salvation, as we are now at the point where simply reducing
future emissions are not enough In order to save humanity we must develop
technology to reverse the fumes already altering our atmosphere, a task the G7 summit has failed
to invest sufficiently in. This means we are doing virtually nothing to combat the damage
that has already been done. However, leading scientists have proposed
technological advances could also be threatening the survival of humanity. Dr. Nick Bostrom of the Future of Humanity
Institute has compared our attitude to technology as like
a dangerous weapon in the hands of a child. He says that of particular concern are advances
in nanotechnology. Celebrated as a medical miracle, Nano-Particles
have the potential to aid cancer cures and allow amputees to regain the sense of touch.
Currently used in everything from suncream to sports clothing, some nanoparticles have
been found to be as toxic as bleach. They are so dangerous that in 2010 several Chinese
factory workers dealing with these particles developed severe lung damage, with two dying
from their effect. Known as “”Toxic Gossip””, the particles passed
through walls of tissue into the lungs, triggering cell death, causing the respiratory system
to break down. Geneticist Sean O’Heigeartaigh points out
that while technology in a lab could be deemed perfectly safe, once unleashed into the world
it may have foreseen dangerous side affects once released in the real world. Thousands of nanotechnology enabled products
are currently in circulation across the globe, many of which we are using everyday. However
with no substantial experience of how they work, we are uncertain about how dangerous
these side-effects could truly be, and what other threats they pose. Could it be that we’ve already unleashed the
technology that will herald humanity’s destruction into the world? As technology progresses and the natural world
begins to turn against the species that have done it so much damage, it seems humanity
is facing danger from all sides. And if we continue to play havoc with the
world around us, the children of those born today could be the generation that witnesses
humanity’s destruction.


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