We hear a lot of “we need to prevent climate
change chaos [CC] to save the Earth humanity,” but that cliché is just wrong.
- There are nearly 8 billion of us, and I am pretty sure that some of us will survive the current (sixth) mass extinction that is being driving by CC.* Humans, like cockroaches, will find ways to survive, even if it’s in a Matrix of some sort.
- Human populations are already falling due to a combination of pessimism, female empowerment, and the high cost of raising babies. So we’re moving from quantity to quality, which will mean that everyone will have a greater chance of living.
- Even if male fertility continues to fall (the “Children of Men” scenario), we will find a way to reproduce.
- Humans are the pre-eminent species at adopting ourselves into hostile environments and/or changing those habitats to suit ourselves.
In combination, I predict that our world of 2100 or 2200 will be much more dangerous (due to CC) than today but inhabited by a smaller population of humans who have found ways to cope with harsh conditions and a falling standard of living. (We will need to pay for man-made alternatives as today’s “free” ecosystem services weaken/collapse/reverse.)
Beginning around then and strengthening as history unfolds and humans are beaten back, I predict that some ecosystems (and their services) will come back as people are forced to retreat. In some ways, there may be a flowering of diversity in this “new Eden” but it may not be so friendly to our descendants.
My one-handed conclusion is that humans will always be on Earth, even if they are less dominant.
* There’s the possibility of a catastrophic, “Don’t Look Up” event, but I’m not sure that even that would eliminate ALL humans.