Featured Post
Intentional Ignorance

November 6, 2012

I wrote this essay to offer some essential information about our world and the future of our species, adding my voice to the many cries of alarm over the environmental crisis (lately reaching criticality). [More…]

Receive Post Notices
Tag Cloud
100% Renewables 350.org AAAS abundance action Age of Earth Al Bartlett Animal Rights Annihilation of Nature Anthropocene Anti-climate change Anti-Science assertion bee colony collapse bee die-off Biodiversity Biodiversity loss Biomass battery of Earth biosphere birth control carbon tax carbon taxes Carrying capacity Change Changing planet Children's Climate Crusade Citizens Climate Lobby Citizens United civilization claims Clean energy climate Climate action Climate Change Climate Desk Climate Impacts Accelerating Climate resilience climate science Climate Skeptics Climate Summit CO2 collapse Collapse assessment Conflicting Views consequences Conservation conservative thought contacting leaders Conversion from fossil fuels COP-21 credentials curiosity Debates decimation Defending the Climate democracy depletion Earth earth day Earth Full Earth system Ecocide ecological footprint Ecological imperialism Economics Economic self-interest ecosystem collapse Ecosystem services Education of women End of nature energy energy conservation Energy facts energy policy environment Environmental concern Environmental Ed Environmental Impacts environmental law Environmental reform equilibrium essays Ethics Exponential curve Extinction extinctions facts Failures to act Family planning Fertility food FossilFuels fossil fuels Future future expectations Genetic preservation global overshoot Global Population Speakout GlobalWarming global warming Government Action Government leadership government policy Government warnings grass roots Great photo collection Greenhouse Gas Emissions Greenhouse gases Green revolution Growth Myth Human-invasive species Human development human domination Human fertility human history human impacts Humanity Humanity's worst act Humanity system Human nature I=PAT immigration Impactful message inequality intentional ignorance IPCC KeystonePipeline Leadership life-support system Life in the Universe Lobbying for the Climate MAHB male chauvinism Mass Extinction Meaning of humanity media Military leadership NASA Natural Resources nature nature's services Nature's Trust Nature Services new politics non-equilibrium Nuclear Energy Nuclear Failures Nuclear Licensing nuclear safety Nuclear Waste Objectivity Oil Organic energy Overpopulation overpopulation consequences Paris action Paris Global Warming Meeting Peoples Climate March Planetary boundaries Planetary conditions Planet Under Pressure PMC policy political action political failures political protests Political support political systems politics Population population; employment; job creation Population Control population growth Preparing for Climate Change President Obama pricing carbon Problem Summary proof protecting nature PV Rationality reason reducing CO2 reducing fossil emissions Reducing fossil fuel combustion reform religion renewable economics Renewable Energy renewables republican brain resource depletion Resources for learning responsibility Reversing climate change Risk saving humanity science science denial Scientific warnings ScientistWarnings sex and global warming Societal collapse Solar solar economics solar electric solar energy solar thermal Species species extinction Status of women Steps we can take Sustainability SustainableValues Taking action teams of specialists TED talks Terrorist threats The Big Greens the big picture The Future The White House thought processes Turning Point UCS Uncontrolled growth university education UN Report Vanishing wilderness water Wildlife wind wind energy Women equality Worldview Wrecked Ocean WWF

Age of Earth

What Science Can and Can’t Tell Us About our Future

Astronomy has reached the point of being able to state conclusively that the known universe contains a greater number of stars than the number of grains of sand on all the Earth’s beaches and in all of its deserts.

The age of the universe has been definitively set at 13.7 billion years ago. The age of the Earth is around 4.5 billion years. Life first formed about half a billion years later and the human species is about 3 million years old. Agriculture began about 10,000 years ago. The human population size exploded from about 1 billion to just over 7 billion in a little over two hundred years. That rapid expansion coincided with the industrial revolution and the rapid exploitation of cheap, high energy density, fossil fuel resources.

Astronomy has discovered planets circling other stars and has even reached the point where it can estimate their sizes and distances from their mother stars.

It is logical to conclude that planets circling stars must be a very common occurrence around the vast universe. Based on knowledge of our solar system, planets too close to the star are too hot to support life and those too far away are very cold and receive substantially less radiation from their star, so probably cannot support more than the most primitive life forms, if any at all. There is a “sweet spot” at just the right distance, a habitable zone around all stars, where planets of just the right mineral composition can develop atmospheres and life can form.

Continue reading