Diversity and Survival

Idle speculation and a question:

The news is filled with horror stories: refugees living in swill, starving children, bloody corpses, once prosperous families scratching for a bare living through rubble. Syria and South Sudan lead the way, closely followed by a dozen other countries. With war ever present, famine and pestilence cannot be too far away.

There are too damn many of us. Population has doubled in just a few decades without any comparable improvement in our ability to govern ourselves. Now food is becoming a major bottleneck. We’ve gone over the top, in terms of the earth’s capacity to carry us at our present fuel-hungry level, which is also rising. Barring some miracle, a massive population crash seems likely. If global warming starts to bite in the next decade or two, that crash seems likely to begin in this century.

In America, most of us will be too busy saving our own skins to worry about exploding miseries in Africa and Asia. Many of us already are.

My question seems off the wall but the principle that’s involved is not. Here’s the setting: The crash has been going on for several decades and the survivors are fighting over whatever land and potable water is left. Some superior intelligence steps in from its home outside our solar system and says, ok, we’ll save your species if we can be reasonably sure you won’t just screw everything up again. Here’s what we’ll do: we can set ten planets aside for you that are habitable for your species. We can get a million of you to each one, which will allow you to bring doctors and scientists and such.

And here’s the question: Do you want to sort yourself out for this migration by opting for your own side in whatever conflict is mort important to you? Or should each planet have a mixture comparable to the mixture you now have in the world as a whole?

It’s a split decision, with arguments either way. Americans could probably end up with their own planet. However, on balance, I think the species would be more likely to survive someplace, if we went for replicating the current mosaic of people and cultures in all ten worlds. What do you think, and why?

Carl Coon

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2 Responses to Diversity and Survival

  1. pa says:

    diversity = survival. Although, I suspect we would choose the 1st option and then fight over who gets to go. We are doomed, new planets or not.

    p

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