Threats to Humans

Top 10 Threats to Mankind

I cannot stop talking about the book “Oryx and Crake” by Margaret Atwood. It just keeps me thinking about the end of the species Homo Sapiens Sapiens. I keep wondering what is the most logical way that the human race will go extinct. I found this article that proposed ten different ways that humans my go extinct. I will only go through some of my favorites, or until I get to 501 words!

The first and least farfetched end of the human race is global climate change.  Ever since the turn of the century, we have been releasing more and more volumes of CO2 emissions. In this chart we see that most of the emissions are a direct by-product of coal burning to produce electricity and combustion engines for transport.

Pie chart that shows emissions by use. 38 percent is electricity, 33 percent is transportation, 14 percent is industry, 9 percent is residential and commercial, and 6 percent is other (non-fossil fuel combustion).

In the past 15 years, our CO2 emissions have increases 5%, most likely due to the large increase of automobile travel. This chart also shows that we are increasing our CO2 output to 6,000 million metric tons a year!Line graph that shows the U.S. carbon dioxide emissions from 1990 to 2012. In 1990 carbon dioxide emissions started around 5,000 million metric tons. The emissions rose to about 6,000 million metric tons in 2000 where it remained until about 2008 when it began to decline. By 2009, the carbon dioxide emissions were at about 5,500 million metric tons, followed by a slight recovering in 2010 to about 5,700 million metric tons and a decrease in 2012 to about 5,400 million metric tons.

In direct correlation with CO2 emissions, we can assume that the rapid change in global temperature will keep increasing if we do not stop this excess CO2 output. In the book, Oryx and Crake, we see that during the day the weather changes dramatically. It is comfortable during the night and morning but around noon you get such blistering heat that you cannot walk on the pavement. Then the heat is always followed by afternoon thunderstorms and sometimes twisters. Personally, I like having a regular and moderate climate and do not want to have to take cover from the sun’s rays or twisters on a daily basis.

There is so much more I can say about this topic of climate change but I believe the graphs speak for themselves.

The second threat is loss of biodiversity. Possibly due to rapid climate change, we are losing many species of animals. This impacts humans because some animals such as frogs are considered “marker species”. Their health is a good indicator in how our environment is acting and how healthy it is. The last extinction wiped out almost all of the species on earth, save a few mammals. Mass extinction could be a great possibility in the next couple hundred years and are humans capable to survive it?

The most interesting threat to me is the rise of the machine. In the picture that is corresponded for this post, there is a robot (named Bender) that is always trying to kill all humans. In the future we may devise such intelligent robots that they will take on free will of their own and want to destroy all of mankind. Even Stephen Hawking believes that if computers gain ultimate intelligence then humans will not survive the onslaught.

Lastly, bee and bat decline is the most overlooked type of threat to humans. Humans hate bees because they sting and hate bats because they are afraid to have their blood sucked. In a matter of fact, bees and bats do a majority of the pollination of all of the plants in the world. In many parts of the world a declining bee species is making humans manually pollinate trees needed for harvesting.  Once all bees and bats are gone there will be a few pollinators left in the ecosystem that would be in charge of pollinating every flowering plant out there. This would mean we would have to self-pollinate all apple, orange, mango, and every fruit tree along with all of the flowers. No more honey for us either. When this happens hopefully we will be growing all of our fruit out of a test tube!

 

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3 Comments

  1. I like the way you express the end with ” human will be growing stuff in text tubes”. It turns out that humans aren’t all mighty species anymore. We are entrapped into our own world with no connection to the free nature which provided for us since the beginning.

  2. I think the climate change is slowly starting to happen. This summer has been oddly cooler than normal, and also pretty rainy. The treat the interests me the most was the loss of biodiversity. There are a lot of species are threatened and endangered, so I wonder what would happen to us, or even if we are impacted at all, if some of these species actually became extinct.

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