Last summer I watched a three- hour documentary about a hypothetical future of our planet. It used CGI and actors to show what earth would look like and the problems that we would face. It predicted that with the way we are going, and the unprecedented levels of natural resources that we consume, by the year 2100 human civilisation, as we know it will no longer exist. Now this may seem like something that is exaggerated, or fear mongering but scientists to quite extent agree. Most argue, that although Earth itself will recover if we carry on the way we are, our society may not.
Some experts believe that by the year 2056 the world’s temperature will increase by 3C, this is something that will have devastating effects. Methane will be released from the Arctic, which is 70 times stronger than CO2. The areas that will be most hard hit include: Southeast Asia, Middle East and Africa. For example both Pakistan and India will be devastated. According to futurologists, Pakistan will by this time be a failed state, with local gangs trying to seize what little remains. Within Europe food riots will be a norm, with Britain now having a Mediterranean climate, along with southern and central Europe having temperatures like that of todays Middle East and North Africa. Arguably most shockingly, it is predicted that by the 2030’s the Arctic will be ice free – the rise in sea levels will create floods on an unprecedented scale.
This will not only create environmental issues, but they will also have a massive impact on the socio/political sphere. Countries could be at the brink of war over resources that we today take for granted, most notably water. It has also been predicted, that due to the swaths of displaced people whole countries become shantytowns – they will then be known as the ‘fourth world’. Futurologists have also predicted that by 2050 there will be 150 million climate refugees, a six -fold increase from 2010. This will also have an impact on democracy. Whereas countries within the Middle East and North Africa are now attempting to move towards democracies, it has been said that due to environmental disasters autocracies and dictators will be able to make a comeback.
Yet, this doesn’t have to be the case. If governments are able to get together now, to sort out the problems, like for example the Kyoto agreements and the Stockholm conference then we may be able to stop global warming before it’s too late. However, it seems to me that politicians are vocal about battling climate change, but seem to be doing little about it. For example recently David Cameron stated in PMQ’s that he believed ‘Man made climate change is the greatest threat Britain and the rest of the world face’, but members of his cabinet seem to disagree. George Osborne recently told business leaders in Hong Kong that although Global warming is happening is should be dealt with ‘cheaply as possible’. This isn’t the correct way to go about tackling the ‘greatest threat’ civilization faces. Instead all governments around the world should work together to stop global climate change. It is not unprecedented for countries to work together, all we need to look at is the recent missing Malaysian plane, which to date has forced 25 countries to work together; including China and Japan. We have a United Nations surely it is time that they start working together in order to stop an inevitable break down of the society that we now live in.
After all, never in human history have we used as much energy from fossil fuels. This is highlighted by a startling statistic: pre-1900 combined did not use as much energy than 1900-2014. As well as this, it is estimated that fossil fuel energy converted into human muscle power would mean that on a 24 hour basis an average human would need 20 slaves in order to perform the same tasks. This includes all electronics, cooking, cleaning etc. and that doesn’t even include humans in the Western world, where it is estimated we would need 70 slaves. This isn’t sustainable, and it must be stopped. My generation cannot face the burden alone, by then it will most probably be too late, change needs to start now, today.
– originally posted on http://www.bbench.com