Why do we believe humankind is worthwhile? That today is better than the past, and the future of greater potential still?
There has always been hatred, disease, hunger, exclusionary and delusional beliefs, war, murder, environmental destruction, and avarice.
As our numbers increase and our communications advance, it may seem our darker nature is winning out. But that’s only background noise.
We are the creatures of history and the dissemination of knowledge, of science, engineering, and medicine, of benign beliefs and warm-hearted philosophies.
Let’s take a sample.
The Great Green Wall is an African-led movement with an epic ambition to grow an 8,000 km wall of trees across the entire width of Africa.
A decade old, this initiative is already bringing life back to Africa’s degraded landscapes at an unprecedented scale, providing food security, jobs and a reason to stay for the millions who live along its path.
Once complete, the Great Green Wall will be the largest living structure on the planet, 3 times the size of the Great Barrier Reef. https://www.greatgreenwall.org/
Extreme poverty, worldwide, is decreasing. According to the World Economic Forum, the share of people living in extreme poverty across the world has been declining for two centuries and in the last 20 years this positive development has been faster than ever before.
The child mortality rate in both the less- and least-developed countries has halved in the last 20 years. This could be considered one of humanity’s greatest achievements. http://bit.ly/world-poverty
When the Space Shuttle was in operation, the cost of lifting a kilogram to orbit was $54,500. Today, commercial operations by SpaceX have reduced that cost to $2,270 per kilogram. http://bit.ly/spacex-cost
A company called Relativity Space is working with a massive 3D printer for printing spacecraft. The goal is to go from raw materials to flight in 60 days. If successful, this will further cut the cost of escaping Earth’s gravity well. https://www.relativityspace.com/
Within four decades, the cost curve could drop to tens of dollars per kilogram.
Space holds unlimited room, resources, and energy. For a species of engineers, Earth is just a starting point.
As a species today we face massive challenges in poverty, diplomacy, and even civility. There is no certain outcome, and some approaches that seem like answers now may fail to deliver. That’s what we do. We try, and we fail more often than we succeed. And if we are honest with ourselves, we learn from failure and move on.
That’s the human adventure. And it’s far from over.
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