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Climate change is real, and its effects are happening now

Sep
13

When Richard Branson decided to ride out Hurricane Irma on his island, we all thought he was just being his crazy eccentric rich old man self.

But no, he was riding out the storm in his, ahem, concrete wine cellar so he can document the devastating damage first hand.

He also hit out hard at climate change deniers, writing this on the Virgin site:

Man-made climate change is contributing to increasingly strong hurricanes causing unprecedented damage,” wrote Branson on the Virgin website. “The whole world should be scrambling to get on top of the climate change issue before it is too late – for this generation, let alone the generations to come.

I personally believe we’re truly at the precipice of of no return, and we, as inhabitants of Earth, need to really band together and do something about this. Otherwise, if we don’t kill ourselves soon enough, we’ll evolve to be the alien villains we all see in the Marvel and alien invasion flicks, scouring planets and devouring them of all resources before moving to the next.

And I really don’t want to be the bad guy.

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A race against Time

Nov
16

Time heals a lot of things; broken hearts, wounds, animosity. But time, together with humans, also destroy a lot of things. In fact, I believe it’s only a matter of time before the human race destroys the planet and makes it uninhabitable for us.

Climate change due to human activities and the rapid growth of the human population will doom the planet, and with it, our species.

Unless.

Today, a few groups of people are working actively to make that “Unless” come true. And it’s a race against time. The race against time notion becomes even more apparent if you’re aware of The Fermi Paradox.

The Fermi Paradox asks the question of why – given the huge estimated number of Earth-like planets there are in the Universe – we appear to be alone. And one of the theories is that there is a Great Filter, or an obstacle SO huge that other civilizations and lifeforms just could not overcome, to become an interplanetary species. Waitbutwhy has an incredible article on what some potential Great Filters may be.

If that Great Filter is still ahead of us, then it makes sense for us to diversify (terraform other planets) as soon as we are technologically capable of doing so. So back to the people working on “Unless”…

 

Elon Musk – Interplanetary Champion

elon-musk

You should really slap yourself if you have not heard about Elon by now. This man is almost single handedly pushing on the mission to ensure humanity’s survival.
How? Glad you asked.

First, he is trying to stall for time on Earth meeting an earlier demise with all the carbon emissions it’s inhaling, by working on Tesla, his electric car company. Tes;a is currently working on its 3rd iteration of electric cars, imaginatively called Model 3. This is the first that’s aimed at the masses, costing $35,000 before incentives. Tesla is working on an acquisition of SolarCity, of which he sits as the Chairman. SolarCity is the largest provider of solar energy services in America.

Second, he is also the CEO of SpaceX, where his ultimate mission is to send 1 million people to Mars by 2035, in order to enable a self-sustaining human colony. You can view his Mars project as an insurance policy for humanity in case something terrible happens on Earth.

 

Mark Zuckerberg | Priscilla Chan – Disease Curer Billionaire

zuckerbergchannov2014

Next, we have Mark Zuckerberg, Facebook CEO and his wife, Priscilla Chan, donating $3b via the Chan Zuckerberg Initiative, in an audacious bid to cure all diseases.

Leonardo DiCaprio – UN Representative on Climate Change

Lastly, we have Actor/Producer/Environmental Activist Leo DiCaprio. He narrates Before the Flood, a documentary distributed by National Geographic detailing the effects climate change is having in various parts of the world.

In order to bring about higher levels of awareness of climate change, the film was distributed free on various platforms, including YouTube, and you can watch the trailer here.

Until these folks succeed on the bigger picture, we as individuals can also do our (small but powerful when done together) part in reducing our carbon footprint.

It doesn’t help that the second biggest contributor of carbon emissions is now being presided by a President Elect who thinks climate change is a fraud.

¯\_(ツ)_/¯

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Space Internet by Elon Musk

Jan
26

Elon Musk’s SpaceX just got a lot richer, and a lot more interesting. Google and Fidelity Investments have just pumped $1billion into SpaceX, owning roughly 10% of the ambitious company.

Musk plans to use the investment to develop low-Earth orbiting satelites that will bring low cost internet to the world. While low cost internet access is a great thing, that’s just phase I. Phase II involves lining the satelites all the way to Mars, so that when we finally colonise Mars, we’ll have internet access to send back selfies.

Exciting times ahead!

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We are our own hostile aliens

Mar
09

From films like Independence Day, Battle: LA, War of the Worlds, and even Signs, alien beings have been scheming and traveling light years to our little planet for our precious land and resources.

I’m not sure where they’ve seen the flyers for Earth, but upon arriving, they must have been in for a big shock. If they were expecting lush greenery, unspoilt pristine beaches, bounding deers in forestlands, well, they’ve come to the wrong planet.

Instead, what they get is this:

River Pollution

SG Haze

If we haze up the planet enough, the aliens may miss us!

construction

Well, actually, as I’m typing this, I’ve come to understand what we, collectively as humans, are doing. In contributing to pollution, adding to congestion, dirtying our seas, killing our flora and fauna, we’re actually saving our home.

We’re fucking up our planet, so aliens wouldn’t want to conquer this little globe we call home.

Now I understand.

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Soylent is not people, we hope

Aug
23

In the 1973 film ‘Soylent Green’, the year was 2022, and the world was suffering from overpopulation and a lack of resources, especially food. Most of the population was surviving on synthetic food produced by Soylent Corporation, whose latest product ‘Soylent Green’ purportedly contains high energy plankton, nutritious but in short supply.

In the end, it was revealed that Soylent Green was made from people, presumably the homeless, derelict, and on some occasions, enemies of the corporation.

soylent

Fastforward to today, reality

Software engineer Rob Rhinehart has created ‘Soylent‘, a low cost alternative to traditional food, and that’s intended to supply all the daily nutrients that an average human body needs. In fact, Rob says he has been subsisting on Soylent, as 90% of his meals, for a few months now, all the while tweaking the formula for both taste and optimum nutrients.

Rob claims that he has lost weight, while feeling more energized while on the diet.

A crowdfunding campaign has already garnered $1m worth of orders, so it seems like people are taking to it quite readily. In fact, the ease of preparation, and ability to keep for long kind of makes it a perfect concoction for doomsday stockpiles.

Rob’s also constantly finding new ways to try and bring the cost down, acknowledging that its not exactly cheap cheap now.

What do you think? Will Soylent be the answer to world hunger? Would you give it a go, and stockpile 3 – 6 months worth of Soylent, just in case?

Does it really not contain humans?

Follow Soylent on twitter for more updates.

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Haze in Singapore from NASA satelites

Jun
21

This is how the haze looks like from NASA satelites.

So messed up, but so beautiful.

But seriously, more steps has got to be taken by governments worldwide to stop this types of abuse to our planet. Earth, for the foreseeable future, will be our only home. So let’s not destroy our own homes.

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Cutest thing you’ll see today – Slow Loris

Dec
18

This is a video of a Slow Loris eating a rice ball. It is quite possibly the cutest thing you’ll ever see in 2012 or when the world ends (whichever comes first).

 

That said, however cute you may find this video, know that the Slow Loris is in danger of going extinct. And the biggest contributing factor is the exotic pet trade.

Slow Lorises routinely have their teeth pulled out or cut before being sold as pets, and many of them die of blood loss, infection or poor nutrition.

So kids, if you want them to live, don’t live with them.

Awww.. those eyes!

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VHEMT – Voluntary Human Extinction Movement

Sep
06

earth

In doing some casual research for my as yet titled and written novel, I came upon a most interesting movement called the Voluntary Human Extinction Movement (VHEMT – pronounced vehement).

Now, it is no surprise that humankind has been instrumental in creating a lot of the problems we face today: extinction of certain animal species due to rapid urbanization or over-hunting, massive overuse of natural resources resulting in a change in Earth’s biosphere and its ability to repair itself, and a myriad of other activities causing climate change.

As our global population increases, so does our reliance on planetary resources. Everyday we are mining the world for resources. Resources that are finite. And depleting fast.

We have seen calls to explore a more sustainable approach in our daily lives, such as using renewable energy sources, and cutting down of unnecessary use of power. Every year, we observe Earth Hour by turning off our lights and power, and “celebrate” the sacrifice we’re making for Earth.

That’s 1 hour out of 8,765.81 hours in a year. What real difference does it make, if any? Sure, the concerts and ads drive awareness. But its a big leap from awareness to action.

VHEMT believes that the problems Earth is facing, is an overpopulation of destructive humans. And they believe that the only solution would be a gradual voluntary extinction of the human race by abstaining from reproduction.

Negative Population Growth, another organisation that’s advocating a gradual reduction of human population believes that an optimal world population stands at between 2 to 3 billion people. We are now at 7.

Q&A with Les U. Knight

Interested to know more, I reached out to Les U. Knight, founder of VHEMT for more insight via email. Below is the email exchange we had:

Qn 1) VHEMT started in 1991. Given the technological advancements over the years, and given Martian Rover Curiosity’s successful landing and a possible future scenario of inter-planetary human existence, does this change your beliefs somewhat, or has it strengthened your resolve to promote VHEMT’s beliefs? (One can argue that we can conceivably spread out the population over planets and maintain a healthy eco-system)

The first issue of These EXIT Times was published in 1991, beginning the spread of the VHEMT concept of not breeding until we’re extinct. I had arrived at this conclusion 20 years earlier, and I often hear from people around the planet who have independently done so as well. So, although the name was only attached to the philosophy in the late 1980s, the idea of a planet without humans dates back into antiquity.

The answer to the second part of your question may be found at: http://vhemt.org/scififantasy.htm#colonize

2) Having to push this concept of voluntary extinction over 20 odd years, would you say that the movement, or the concept in people, has in general grown? In other words, do you think you’re winning?

Each day, 367,400 potential VHEMT Volunteers are born, but The Movement isn’t increasing by that many so I have to admit we’re losing ground. However, the meme has spread and insinuated itself into many bodies of work. Awareness sometimes sweeps societies rapidly, shifting the paradigm radically. Communication has never been as easy as it is today, enabling new ideas a chance for acceptance or rejection in a greatly compressed time frame. Denial blocks consideration of conflicting ideas, impeding awareness growth.

3) At this point in time, with the global issues facing us, do you think Earth’s problems are still reversible, or have we gone past the point of any hope of helping Earth restore its resources?

This is a question every couple should ask themselves before creating a new human which will live in the future we are engineering. There are actually three questions. First, if we continue as we are, how likely is it that human existence will be adequately supported throughout their lifetime? Second, how likely is it that humanity will collectively make the changes needed to ensure that support? Finally, what odds of success would you require before gambling on a yet-to-be-conceived loved one’s future? If the first two are low and that last high, the choice should be obvious.

Species we’ve driven to extinction have certainly passed the point of no return, as have many ecosystems. Our overshoot of Earth’s carrying capacity is accelerating while that capacity is diminishing, primarily due to our redundant breeding. Human civilizations have always collapsed rather than stopping at a sustainable size, and this time it’s global. At this point, it’s a question of which will collapse first, civilization or Earth’s biosphere.

If our precarious global civilization collapses first, the biosphere will recover somewhat over thousands of years, while we rebuild on the ruins and have another try at the biosphere. If Earth’s biosphere collapses, our species, along with millions of others, will no longer exist.

Both of these horrific futures could be avoided if we would stop creating more ourselves and start undoing what we’ve done. A peaceful and bountiful world for all humanity could be achieved as we phase ourselves out. The chances of this happening are slim to none, which is all the more reason to avoid sentencing another of us to life.

4) If, in our lifetimes, we’re miraculously able to terraform Mars (or even the moon), and you’re given the opportunity to be among its first residents, would you?

No. Mental health is a challenge to maintain in those conditions. My modest backyard provides more pleasure than anything that could be created off planet.

What do you think of VHEMT’s ideals and philosophies? Do you think they are too extreme?

Either way, we have to admit, we’re seriously screwing with the Earth’s biosphere as it is, and something drastic has to be done, or we may be facing extinction as a species (or worse, as a planet) sooner than we think.

I’m a believer in course-correction. If we don’t take steps to return Earth to a level where we can all co-exist in a mutually beneficial way, Earth will take steps to return to that state. And I think we wouldn’t like Her way.

Still, not breeding us to extinction seems pretty impossible, as there’s just no way every human will approve of this concept. But cost of living may help a bit.

Right now, many developed nations are facing this issue (Singapore as well) of not replacing us fast enough. Isn’t that in a way what VHEMT wants as well? If the world governments were to set a decree that every couple sticks to having only 1 child (and over time, decreasing the world population), will it help solve the issue of overpopulation? (again a case of easier said than done)

Maybe it will, and hopefully, not too late to save the world.

Quick thought: If we do manage to inhabit and terra-form other planets, leaving Earth to die after ravishing it of resources, will we not become the monsters of our imaginations? Do we dare say “we come in peace” as we land on a new planet, ready to devour its resources?

Special thanks to Les, who replied my email very promptly. Check out VHEMT’s official site for more information on their ideals and beliefs.

Interesting read: The impact humans have on the world

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