If there are members of an extraterrestrial civilization studying planet Earth, we need their help. We have reached a crisis point with our environment and we are not taking the needed actions. Alien assistance doesn’t have to be technological. We need a massive kick in the collective human behind to take climate change seriously and take action. Communication and insight from extraterrestrials could change human priorities.
The UN International Panel on Climate Change (I.P.C.C.) issued a report this week that summarizes the effects of global climate change. We are currently experiencing a one degree Celsius global temperature increase since 1880. The UN report forecasts the potential effects of a 1.5 degree increase. The findings are alarming. At 1.5 degree increase, the report estimates 10 million more people will suffer from permanent flooding. Another several hundred million will experience climate related risk and poverty. That’s what we are facing in the next 22 years. It could be even worse. That temperature rise by 2040 could be higher.
While many nations are taking the threats posed by climate change seriously, few are taking action at the levels needed. It is a low priority in the budget considerations for countries across the globe, including the largest and wealthiest nations. The world appears to be waiting for the United States government to take significant action. That seems unlikely to happen anytime soon.
Humans need to take action on two fronts. The first is preparation. The second is mitigation.
Climate change preparation is most often thought of as flood control for coastal cities. While that would certainly be part of the needed action, it may not be the greatest need. We have the technology for flood control. The Dutch have been trying to prepare us for the inevitable by sharing their expertise (and paving the way for huge Dutch private industry contracts). Hoboken, New Jersey is one of the first American cities to put Netherlands technology into action. Dozens of other cities will need to follow. But let’s face it- the cost involved will be enormous. It is not feasible that all coastal cities and villages across the globe be saved. Some people will need to move and it shouldn’t just be the poor moving out of sea rise inundation zones. People in expensive homes will need to move. We will need to prioritize funding for the greatest impact to the largest number of people. That will take hard decisions. The primary United States disaster agency, FEMA, is currently in a cycle of disaster response and rebuilding. Many are questioning the wisdom of that process. The fact that we are just starting to consider these initial steps of change, and facing stiff opposition even then, is an indication of the enormity of the human dilemma.
Climate Change could force millions of people to move. A 2015 UN report shows that between 2008 and 2015 more than 26 million people were displaced by climate and weather-related disasters. Those numbers are expected to increase dramatically. Where will these people go? How will we take care of them? Those will be hard decisions and they need to be researched and planned for now. Nationalism, a trend in many nations, decreases international cooperation, and thus the ability of humans to combine resources to tackle climate change issues. Mass migration is likely to intensify those strains and lead to conflict. This is the warning for those who favor nationalism: it is in your best interest to tackle climate change now, before the masses are forming at your borders.
My point is that humans currently don’t have the collective will to get this done. It seems likely we will wait until the next crisis and respond singly to that event, and the next one, and the next, and so on, for many years to come. As those crises pile up, the overarching problems will only grow worse. We need to make hard decisions and we need to make them now.
Mitigation is similarly troubling. It involves decreasing the burning of fossil fuels and the human caused emissions of heat-trapping gases into the atmosphere. The cutting down of trees is also a cause of global warming. Trees absorb carbon dioxide. Without mitigation, we could be facing a 2 degree global temperature rise. That doesn’t sound like much of a difference, but it would have a massive impact to our world, far beyond that of a 1.5 degree level.
So, why do we need aliens? The answer is simple: to encourage humans to take climate change seriously. We apparently don’t want to listen to human scientists and environmentalists. Perhaps an alien voice could help. I am not suggesting we hope for extraterrestrial intervention that will solve our problems. We will have to solve our own issues. We have lived on this planet for thousands of years. We have hundreds of years of scientific research and technological development- specifically designed for the conditions on planet Earth. Aliens would have none of that experience. Humans can’t prevent climate change. We are experiencing it now. However we can prepare for the impact and mitigate the severity of that change. We need a massive shift in perspective to get us moving.