EmanPDX - I share your skepticism about the future of humanity. It appears we are on a course that will result in a catastrophic alteration of our biosphere, and a great deal of human suffering. On the other hand, there are signs of hope. Energy, the primary driver of human advancement, is on an accelerating green trajectory. Clean, renewable energy sources, particularly solar PV and wind, are already cheaper in many places than fossil fuels or nuclear power. Many who study global trends see the world running almost entirely on clean, renewables by as soon as 2050. That translates to less warming stress on our atmosphere, icecaps, and oceans. Good news, yes, but there is the matter of the still growing human population, which is currently 7.3 billion, on the way to 11 or 12 billion. That simply doesn't compute. We are already overstressing the planet's shrinking resources, driving a rapid collapse of the planet's biodiversity. You always point to biodiversity as the loss that cannot be redeemed. Why is habitat loss and species extinction bad for the planet, and bad for humanity?
|On Rapa Nui (Easter Island), Chile © M.C. Tobias|
So, then, where does that leave us? If we cede our individualism and, in many respects, our underlying biological interdependency to a faith in total invasion of privacy by technology, government, and law enforcement (which is increasingly outsourced to private for-profits) we can expect to see a devastating toll upon the privacy needed by other species. Every square inch of the planet has been monitored, photographed and stored continually by satellite data in image banks. It is much more than human imagination that has invaded every quadrant of the world. The contradiction hangs upon the electrical grid and what it means to people's livelihoods, happiness and health, as measured in gigawatts ( GW, See http://www.eia.gov/todayinenergy/detail.cfm?id=9671 )These grids devour vast resources needlessly. You are right to argue that we are seeing a massive change in the energy consuming modalities, towards far more benign technical tactics, with respect to emissions and other problems. No one has yet come up with a high probability equation for computing the absolute impact of current, or near future technologies as deployed amid a burgeoning human population (e.g., 10 billion), although there have been many fine attempts (For example: http://iopscience.iop.org/1748-9326/8/1//014016/article/ But, I see no obvious route towards a mollifying of the carnage occurring in that short or mid-term range, in terms of biological fall-out. It may well be that we will just have to live with it (an ironic expression).
|Old Delhi, India © M.C. Tobias|