Mankind has for so long dwelled on this earth. Millions of years have seen countless stages of evolution, taking us from the sapient monkeys with a tactile grasp on bashing rocks together, to creatures mingling with the sensation of fire, to the modern-day human connected at all times to millions of others through their own personal computer. We have consistently struggled and persisted through countless wars, famines, and general misery. In fact, pain is what has sprung humanity forth into the modern age. Our suffering will continue to do so.
It’s quite a simple concept, grounded in the very nature of all biological lifeforms. The primary objective of all living creatures is to survive no matter the circumstance and to reproduce. Some go further and ensure a safe upbringing for their offspring. We are part of that delicate group of nurture-driven animals. Humans have been battling outside forces for thousands of years in order to survive. Whilst they’d battle other humans too, the biggest fight was the one with nature and earth itself. The forces of nature are terrifying; maelstroms of tempestuous wrath come in the form of tropical storms. Earthquakes split continents apart. Volcanoes have shrouded the earth in a veil of darkness for decades at a time. Yet we have survived. We have actually gone beyond surviving, we thrive.
Look back millennia and you’ll consistently see the same, beautiful pattern ingrained into our nature. Man suffers. Man, springs back. Man flourishes. Take a recent example of World War two; a storm of bloodshed and chaos, where the scars are still felt to this day, and are mourned without fail every year, even almost a century beyond the events. In this suffering came some of man’s greatest creations. Through endeavours to wage war, we developed some of the greatest advancements of our age. The jet engine was refined through fighter aircraft, allowing interconnection of the entire world. Radio waves and long-range communications laid the foreground for the internet and our modern society. Atomic weapons, mankind’s greatest travesty, have evolved into nuclear power, a seemingly limitless source of energy. Amongst the blaze of war-induced hellfire glints the innovation and curiosity of man that has time and time again lead to leaps in technology. Now we have reached a point where we can continue to make those leaps without killing our fellow humans, but the threat of war remains.
Except this war is not with our fellow man, but with man’s host: nature. Our indulgent lifestyles have led to an advancing collapse of ecosystems and a general threat to the global environment. Our home is under siege due to our own inaction and lust for resources. Mankind is facing barrages of erratic weather, rising sea levels, and general discord because of global warming and mismanagement of resources. It’s a problem that we have realised is going to affect us for generations to come and without action, it puts man on the edge.
The edge. You see, humans are rather strange creatures. We often look into the dark abyss of death’s eyes and laugh, for the adrenaline is simply another source of comfort and excitement for us. Now here we are staring into a future potential ruin and man has yet again chuckled in the face of despair. On April 12, 1961, Yuri Gagarin made the first manned spaceflight and as a result went down in history as the first of humankind to reach for the stars. Humans had finally proved that we could break free of the confines of just one planet, and with that came the birth of a new age of exploration. An age that we are still in the infancy of. Soon, the Americans would triumphantly step onto Mars and space stations would take to orbit around our green-blue pearl nestled amongst a vast, uncharted wildland. We may have thought the age of exploration was marked by the voyages to India, Australia, and the Americas, but really the true exploration lies out there. A realm of limitless possibilities and resources ripe for humans to grasp. A second chance at sustaining humanity without destroying the Earth.
Take, for instance, the moon. Our closest celestial neighbour is also home to a certain element: Tritium-3. This little isotope of hydrogen holds the secret to harnessing the power of not only atoms but stars themselves. The nuclear fusion that stellar objects function through can be achieved on Earth, and with the right materials and fuels we can solve the energy crisis and consequently, global warming overnight. The best part? We’ll live to see it happen. Leaps in technology at institutions such as ITER and CERN are what will drive humanity forward, as do developments in other technologies like rockets, exotic materials, and food production. It’s foolish to believe that humankind would settle with limiting ourselves to just one planet. We are naturally very ambitious creatures.
What do I see in two hundred years? I see a civilisation so evolved and advanced through the pressures and threat of climate-induced extinction, that we have removed the possibility of extinction as a whole. I see cities not just spanning Earth but spanning Earth whilst remaining in harmony with nature for it is at the end of the day what sustains us. I see clear skies revealing the twinkle of distant settlements on the moon-the first of many-and the establishment of cities on Mars. I see humanity harnessing the power of the stars to bring hope, prosperity and wonder to all of its people. It isn’t us to just keel over and die. Surviving is biological nature, but thriving is human nature.