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Man and Superman: The Environmental Time Bomb

Posted on Wednesday, Apr 19th 2017


In order to give focus to some major changes she sees on the horizon, Sramana Mitra has written several pieces that grew out of her original article, Man and Superman: Human History Bifurcates. The previous articles in this series: Two Distinct SpeciesWhat CAN Be Controlled?; Rationalizing Populations; How Long Does Democracy Survive? Please share your thoughts and help get the conversation going.

Parallel to the forthcoming disruption due to automation, there is another growing threat to humanity: the Environment.

In China, every year, a million people die of pollution related illnesses.

New Delhi, with a population of 18.6 million people, is the most polluted city in the world as of 2016.

Cities like Shanghai, Karachi, Beijing, Lagos, Mumbai, San Paulo, Jakarta, Lahore, Mexico City, Bangalore, Rio de Janeiro are each environmental time bombs. In the 25 largest of these cities, 300 million people live.

Self-driving cars and ride sharing may reduce the number of vehicles on their streets, cleaning up the air to an extent.

Perhaps ideas like Vertical Urban Forests – high rises that have trees covering them from top to bottom – can generate massive oxygen to provide further clean up.

But when would such measures get implemented at scale? When it’s too late?

Add to that the global water shortage that is on the horizon. The Gangotri glacier is melting. The Ganges river in India may dry up, not to mention that it is a dreadfully polluted river as it flows today. If it does, hundreds of million people face extreme drought.

Let’s consider the bifurcation in this context.

What choice does Man have?

Little. Man will have to continue living in these treacherous conditions, amidst great pollution, plagued by air-borne diseases, sickened by water-borne illnesses, traumatized by draughts. And with growing populations in these cities, the condition will aggravate.

What choice does Superman have?

Many. Superman can afford to abandon any location that becomes unsavory and move anywhere else he wants to.

Once again, the fate of humanity may tilt in favor of preserving Superman, while eventually extinguishing Man.


This segment is a part in the series : Man and Superman

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