Monday, August 13, 2007

A city called Gobiville?

Karl Shroeder, a blogger for WorldChanging, writes about ecosystem services in this interesting column titled Colonizing Planet Earth. While the most pessimistic among us are floating the idea that humans will need to colonize Mars and other planets as a refuge from the mess we'll be leaving behind here on Earth, Karl wonders why we don't put all that effort to learn how to live in unhospitable environments to work right here. Save all the shipping and transpo costs and create habitable living environments in places that heretofore haven't been.

Say, the Gobi Desert. There would be no one claiming first settlers rights in the midst of such an expanse of sand and dryness. Our challenge wherever we migrate will be to reproduce the living conditions of earth by providing ecosystem services - drinkable water, livable temperature range, breathable air, vegetation, agriculture. Here on earth, we are wrecking our natural services, and even if we can turn current trends around, we'll need to buy some time as the environment heals.

I'd much rather spend the money on fixing up our current home than on figuring out how to move to a completely new neighborhood in or beyond the Solar System.

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