Professor Frank Fenner, emeritus professor of microbiology at the Australian National University, one of the leaders of the team that helped to wipe out smallpox has said in recent interviews that he believes that the human race will most likely become extinct within the next 100 years.
He cites the population explosion and “unbridled consumption” as irreversible trends that will lead to such devastation that humans and most other animals on earth won’t be able to survive. He has also hinted in previous interviews that he sees global warming as just another part of the damage that has been wrought by humans on the biosphere that will lead to its eventual inability to support human life. Others include the massive amounts of pollution that continue to pour into the world’s oceans such as fertilizers, pesticides, phosphates and even oil from damaged ships or leaks such as those in the Gulf of Mexico, the slow depletion of water sources such as underwater aquifers and reduced river and stream flow due to melting glaciers, and the destruction of air cleansing flora such as the rainforests.
Fenner, like many other scientists that study the planet as a life sustaining biosphere believes that there is a tipping point that occurs in all populations, whether rats in a cage, dinosaurs in the wetlands or human beings as they’ve expanded their range to encompass all the available land. When that tipping point comes, there is no turning back because the food and water that is needed to sustain even one such creature has all been either depleted or made unfit for consumption.
It’s not difficult to follow the trajectory. Many studies have been done that show there comes a point of no return when too many animals of any species attempt to inhabit a finite space. This is because of the innate survival instinct. Humans, like all other animals will fight to their dying breath to survive, and that is why we will all end up dying, because in fighting so desperately to survive, we will destroy the very means to do so.
In fact, there are examples in human history that demonstrate this model all too clearly. Whenever human beings have inhabited a space where they eventually ran out of room to grow, they died out. Consider the example of the inhabitants of Easter Island. They lived and flourished until they ran out of resources. And instead of a large segment of them dying from starvation, they all died, because in trying to save everyone, they made it impossible for anyone to survive. The soil became so depleted nothing would grow. The fish had all been taken so there were none to mate and repopulate the waters offshore. In short, there was nothing left to eat, and so, they all died off, leaving behind their giant statues and nothing else.
The world population is at or near seven billion, and growing ever faster. As the end of this century approaches there will be almost certainly wars of unprecedented size and scope, epidemics and mass starvation. But because we are unable or unwilling to control our own population, we will simply cease to exist as we continue to destroy those resources necessary for us to survive.