Planetary scientist Dr. David Grinspoon answers questions about the human impact on Earth during the Anthropocene Era. Now updated with 13 minutes of Dr. FunkySpoon and Chuck Nice discussing why we must evolve from Homo Sapiens into Terra Sapiens.
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This is an unofficial transcript meant for reference. Accuracy is not guaranteed.
Skip the commercials support star talk on patriarch, to listen to every episode, Commercial free The first is filled with secret cinemas trees, leaving us with many questions to be answered. We find ourselves searching for those answers as the very fabric of space science and society are converging here for the first time. What what are you are you Japanese and see the domain the brakes, Daddy Glinda? Did you grandma South Nasty Brenda, get lab.
We welcome you to start talk? Radio? My name is David grinned spoon and asked her biology then a planetary scientists and I here with my co host, Chuck Nigh, say: Dave Hawaii, I'm fine. How are you doing chuck great man, So I am happy to see you. I am sitting in four Neil Thyssen and where left here to carry on without him as best we can and so we will be today doing cosmic queries. Yes, answering your questions and what's what's the topic today? Ok, so today, of course, we call all of our resources and Facebook and Twitter and of the various outlets where we appear on the internet, and today we questions about human impact on our very
on Planet earth yeah it's a planet and therefore its part of space, and so it it belongs to start Accra. Ed certainly does you know, and you know, there's a lot of things in space that have a beta fact on earth. You know, and so what we have done is we ve got these questions here, you have not seen the. I have not seen the questions. And I understand that, even though you are an Astro biologists, that this is also something that you are a subject expert. Would that be well, it's something I've been a lot? Recently I mean, as a planetary scientist, I've always been interested in earth. That's a lot of what we learned when we study planter sizes, how to think about planets. Do you want about volcanism earthquakes, the things that make earth tax level that the climate so forth, but we I am at other planets, but what I've been doing recently is saying: well, let's take the techniques of dietary science and think about earth as a planet and even think about about
humanity in the human impact as a as an event on the planet. What what humans doing to the planet and how, if, if we're thinking as planetary, sigh, just how without look how the way humans are chain. The planet, so that is what I ve been working on recently and I think it's definitely a topic for space science. How? How does that space perspective influence the way we look, but our own planet. And what can we learn about our planet? From that space perspective, I'm going to say that what we can learn is that we as human beings sock when it comes. I got a feeling. Looks at us like we suck, I'm just sorry, that's pretty much. How well we got a lot to answer. For I mean we ve really ban would become a major geological force on this planet and some of or doing it is a little bit more about you compare two things in the past, You look at the asteroid that came and wiped out nine. Percent of the species are right now we're that asteroid,
where you know we're causing a mass extinction were changing the climate and radical ways and we're not it's not like we plan to do this. Nobody said hey. This is a good idea. We sort of stumbling into this role. For now a lot of people say well, let's look at this role and you're out. You know what do we want beyond this planet. So I think we were in this moment of realisation of what our role is. Let's hope, I think, you're a bit more optimistic than perhaps I am a bit more of a say. But let's see what thou, let's see, what are prisoners have to say in the form the questions that they have for you are first, one is from Kalen Bug, be what great name from Huntsville Alabama we're talking about human impacts on earth in one of my class. We have been debating, which human activity will lead to the collapse of society. As we know it, we have discuss energy consumption, overpopulation destruction by technology. These are the robots. Trucks and by nuclear terrorism, pandemics and final
water pollution, if you could pick one destructive human force, which one would it pay Lastly, we got quite quite the menu there. Yes well! Thank you. Thank you for that question. I mean it's, it's a good question and I would have to say your question: does priests suppose. A certain pessimism like which one is going to destroy us. It doesn't leave us the option that maybe none of them will none the less. The first thing I would say is those are all conflated, because it's it's it's what we called The problem where, where you can't really separate things out, population is ultimately related to all those that arrest. If we weren't now pushing nine billion people come midcentury. Then almost none those other problems, problems of human footprint would be have what they really signal as big a deal right. But I think not the travel costs. You says, like pandemics, wits, apps, honestly that that wouldn't happen. If when travelling all around two and four The way we do ya,
Euro related problems. I would say you know out of all of those, the most immediate one? Is you gotta go to climate change because, It is one that we know is happening now. It's accelerating and we don't have a clear path to saw that we have some good ideas and a lot of good intentions, and that I don't see that as helpless, but out of all those other ones like you know, robots taking over. Maybe you know that could be scary in the future. Right now it's not a case me up at night, so you don't have to fear cyber dime systems? Quite yet, not quite yet I mean, I think it's it's. It's smart to be aware that our world will change thirdly, as computers get smarter and some of those changes might not be completely to our liking. It right, you know it's good to have their on our radar, but but let's face it, climate changes right now. We don't all agree completely about the extent of it, but most scientifically illiterate literate people now recognise that it is happening and that there is a large degree of him
creation of humans and that, if we're not going to be the stupid species that soils its nest right and dies or Fear that we now that's great, ok, climate change. That makes a lot of sense. I must move on to the next one from Tommy means from Saint trials: Missouri I'm reading Kevin Kelly's what technology ones, to terrorist it nuclear terrorist robots that cause climate change. That is the biggest fear that we now that's great. Ok, climate change, that that makes a lot of sense. I must move more so than that when from Tommy Mains from Saint Trials, Missouri I'm reading Kevin Kelly's what technology once one high? in the book is that technology was inevitable from the point of the big bang. Do you find this to be true? If so, can we How harnessed technology to heal hour in the environment? So did the big bang create technology? How do we feel are invited?
what the laws of nature were set in motion with the big bang in those laws seem to be conducive to the evolution of life on some planets, and I think, on some of those planets that complex life will lead to technology, so in a certain sense, technology was ordained by them. Bang not exactly on this planet. Some kind of round about in a roundabout yeah, the capacity for technology and, yes, I think technology can be used to heal. The problems we have not technology alone. A lot of it's gonna come through self knowledge in us being able to managers. More wisely, but that knowledge of self has to go hand in hand with knowledge of nature and knowledge of how to manipulate nature, which is technology so technology. Yes, it was ordained in the big Bang and yes, it will be part of the solution Yes, our saviour technology. Thank you, big. Bang. Oh, let's see what what what we get for another question, I got some more questions come in your way. Let me just reiterate that you have not seen this
questions you're just answering them as if the person we're here as if we were all the annoying guy at the bar? You know. I've met that guy before my god you're s, reply I'll, just ok, power, the planet with are gonna, buy me a drink and then maybe we'll get to that are here we got. This is from southern noddy from Budapest. Do you agree with you Carl and that we exist because earth wanted plastic but didn't know how to make it so pretty funny actually just imagine looking at the earth with I scope and seeing all this mould us humans growing living spreading as a by product making plastic clearly, she despises humanity by
Well, that's a question, your Ashton, yeah yeah. The real question here is cause she's she's, make it a joke, but here's the real question here what we be considered: a kind of a virus, a bit of a scourge on the on the face of the earth and the second, I'm gonna make an agenda to her question. Coming from me. Personally: Do we belong here, cause it kind of seems like we don't. It seems like the only people that are in sync, with what's going on earth? Is us so our is a virus until we belong here goes a great questions. Thank you sabra and you know, and you can get a Yankee Chuck. I want agenda for the human race here a little bit, though I mean it's like sure. It's obvious in some ways were like a virus. You look at the pattern of our growth and you the a virus, and you know in an organism- and it just reproduces
the point where it makes its host ill or kills its house. But, of course the successful virus doesn't kill off the toast right and a successful species may get to a certain point of over reproduction and then have some self preservation. Instinct and decide not to kill off its host. And you know, if you look at the guy history of life on earth were not the first species to come along and sort of screw up the planet there have been. Catastrophes that have come along before that has been caused species of life. The sino bacteria, two point two billion years ago evolve photo centre and they thought. Oh, here's, a great energy source sunlight. This is wonderful and they started pollute the air with oxygen which cause a catastrophe and wiped out most species that we're alive than so singly we're not the first species to come along in the quest for an energy source and screw up the planet? That's not to get us completely off the hook, because we do have possibly intelligence and foresight and
consciousness but is to say ok, this life interacts with the planet in complex way, and were it's our turn right now and we're interacting the planet in this way. That so far has been. This sort exponential growth in this exponential perturbation. And yet, if we don't, change some of our patterns. Then we will be like that virus and just destroy us the delegation, and that would be too bad but we're having this precision were becoming aware of our role on the earth, and so I actually think that that makes us different Sandro bacteria, and maybe we'll get to the point where we have enough. For that conversation we can start to actually sort of self consciously alter our Oh that's my wish, and actually that's my expectation, I think we're we got a lot of thing to do, but we are species that alters our fraud and learns
and changes our behaviour, and I am actually optimistic about the human experience on earth and I can see why people think we are like a virus. We have been like a virus, but most viruses don't talk about the fact that there are like viruses. And we do or talk in so, whereas the offer whereby reacts acne so makes us a little different, all differences. There you go. There's your answer: human beings. Better than the saddle bacteria so violently bowed slightly too slightly well learn about better than smile. That's it just a little bit better than slime. Smarts lie. That's our new model, but were smart girl are let's let me want to rob Wilkinson and robbers from Jacksonville Florida with pollution problem. Such is the Pacific garbage patch. How viable is using the magma of subjection zones to break down garbage, especially plastic, to redeem The number of landfills. This guy's thought about this question just a little bit. What's
what his theory does, why that hold water, and that's that That's pretty wild. I mean first volume Pacific garbage patch there's a big zone of garbage of plastic like that has been found in the Pacific, it's kind of scary, because it's there huge zone that hundreds of miles across? That's that's all of our stuff, that sort of collecting there in the Pacific and slowly breaking down. So it's it's! You know. It's big human impact on earth is not subtle any longer. Now, specifically This notion of using the magnet and Induction zones for those of you that dont know us abduction zone is a place where you know earth has plate. Tectonics the plates, the press, the solid part of our earth- is split into these. Thirteen or someplace that are sliding around and crashing into each other and some of my cramping up crumbling,
the mountains and other ones are getting pushed underneath and the places where they get pushed underneath deep into the earth or subjection zones. And that is a place where material gets taken down into the earth and broken down into its constituent. You know elements or small molecules, and so, if you could take all the plastic and put it in the right place, yeah that would get rid of it. For sure and break it down. I dont know how feasible it is I'd like to like the Beatles that I'd like to see you- I am you know, but the, but I I wouldn't rule it out. I mean that's the kind of creative thinking that we need. You know how do you really get rid of plastic sure put it on a sub in a subduction zone in send it to the man of the year, and I am all for it. If I could see the details, I wouldn't wouldn't roll it out. I would I would you know before I invest It has made to see the other mara, but more of the theory he's got a pretty decent plan there, so ya mean there's nothing. It's nothin that sounds wacky about it.
May it sounds. You know like maybe maybe maybe there is a well developed plan for this- that I just don't know, give our trash the Morlocks. It's their problem, now read out there you go, they might even like it. Ok, let's move onto Youssef that Mark Esparza, what a great name regarding these recent earthquakes in Turkey, Citys are there really are they really attributed to natural gas fracturing shit? We stop the fraction. Find another way to get natural gas. Let me just say in addition to that, it is no longer just Texas, Pennsylvania, Michigan and several other places in the country where you have seen seismic activity where we otherwise have not, and there is also fraction, of course, the people who fracture you there's no connection, not only there is that's pretty pretty well known in its understood physically how it works when you pump large.
Of water underground. You loosen up some of those faults and they move, and you got earthquakes. Fortunately, The earthquake you get from this tend to be shallow, and rather small and there's even the argument that that's good, because the real leaving tension on the faults which otherwise would build up and eventually result in a large earthquake. So so there have been franking related earthquakes. They haven't been like massive catastrophic ones. It does speak to the fact that there are unintended concept whence is, when we start doing these major engineering projects in like altering the earth in intense ways in our greater and greater effort to extract those last bits of fossil fuels from the earth and in other different opinions about fracturing. It saw its giving us fuel at a time that we need to reduce our foreign depend. Son oils making Amerika great eleven natural gas is
better than call, but on the man in the run its only at best, a interim solution, because we gotta move our energy supply away from of yours I mean we have to whether were worried about climate change or not because they're gonna run out and if we go to extremely to get those last little few percent remains of fossil fuels. We could do a lot of damage. She know the tar sands and tabletop my mountain top mining. There's a lot of like really horrible things. You could do to get that last bit of fossil fuel maybe fraction goes into that. Maybe not, I think, there's ways to do it safer and there's a lot of danger to the water supplies are forced to. I have mixed feelings about fracturing, but the earth these our real, and they do speak to the fact that we're not enough to anticipate all the unintended consequences and ultimately we know we gotta go fossil fuels. So we really ought to be putting our creativity and our ingenuity into those new
energy supplies that we're going to need, no matter how much bracken we do here. So the answer, is without a doubt, these earthquakes are real, oh yeah, and we put much need to stop racket in the long run in the long run, absolute ok and you do realise that,
never going to happen, knobs hope for a lot of money. We're talking about adventures. It's gonna happen because we're going to run out of all that stuff. You know what now that's the day. I'm looking forward to the day we get off of fossil fuels is the day where there are no more fossil fuels that without that's one way to look at it, but one way or another. You know it does in years from now, probably honoured years now, knocking of using fossil fuels data are, I won't, let's take a break and will come back and a little bit and will have some more start up. Costs does have secret for you. When I consider singing all of the ads on this shell, There's just one way to get out a hearing, they're good!
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with Chuck NICE re host and arm Let's do it all our self promotion here Chuck? What's what's your twitter HAL further folks, I thank you David and was so kind of you. You can find me chuck nice Comic on Twitter, so If you like to follow me, I am more than happy to have you so interesting. We now I've got a twitter handle to and what with happy that would be doktor funky spoon at doktor. Funky spoon is awesome, yander, funky spoon. I love it yeah thanks and an end. My website is funky science, dot net emphasised that net and the star talk website is star. Talk, radio, dot net, that's cool, so you can find all kinds more cool stuff at that address. Anyways. Let's get back to
women destruction, we seems like we ve been on this on theirs riff over here the hall. I everything about the human impact on earth isn't like negative and destruction in, and terror and and doomsday, but it seems like that's what people associate with a topic that, through its understandable wise, is only because you know, you really don't see: lemurs screwing up the environment so that spoken up, we gotta, we got it. We got our own given enough time? The lemurs would evolve to the point where it you'll be causing horrible industrial damages to I'm sure they're gone those lemurs eight million years from now. You just watch what they do. The plan exactly lovey lemur so much our here. We got let's go two? Let's go to Libby PAL Crow? Who said this motion to pollution, dilution is it that's Basically what she wants to know the solution to pollution. Dilution
I just want to say that all over those who lose to pollution is dire losers. I think he's got it. Ok, that's good yeah! Well, it's a great question in its catchy to Iraq and superficially guess I mean you know everybody some, let's face it, taken a leak in the ocean at some point in their life, and you don't think too badly about that because they open. Is you dry it and it's like? What's the problem by but out for the? U dont, do it in a hot tub right, that's like little and but ultimately Of course the world is more like that hot tub and on any given scale I mean question. These days is Fukushima radiation and that's like a whole, you upshot button question, but the fact is, you can put a lot of radiation the ocean at one point and the time you're dying about the hall Ocean. If you look at the numbers and you get to the other side of that ocean, then you're down
on in the noise you're down in in you know the natural variation level. We really don't have to worry about it, so in a certain not harmful exactly so The solution to pollution is dilution, but you can't use that as a cop out in figure, because the is an infinite and wanting we ve learned, I think historically, people thought the world was infinite and yelled the west. Will you know we could just keep spanning forever. But hey you get to the end at some point and you come back and you encounter yourself and so ultimately the solution to pollution is not dilute dilution is it's a short term fix for our awful horrible problem. Yeah you should probably look to something else other than the pollution that somebody to it, but it is cash but in this case he I do like you know what I've learned from this question. Why no one wants to get in my hot tub
That's pretty much what I m not saying I do that, just isn't an example. No I'm saying do and that's the problem. Ok, let's move on this from drew less from Davidson North Carolina. What impact just real revolution in America, Slash Europe have on the card climate. Now, their pictures of most stacks and children and soot etc. Are we now developing industrial aspects of Asia going through the same thing? Now? Yet again? question? When did this problem really start right? It was in the eighties that people first started really talking how people are looking at what we call the Anthropic seen era, which is this study of the human impact on earth. Looking at us a geological period, do you know that the time at which humans or are changing the earthen we call the anthropocentric era, which is this study of the human impact on earth. Looking at us a geological period. Do you know that the time at which humans are changing the earthen and it's interesting question: when did that start? Some people say it was the.
Throw revolution. That's when you know we discovered this imagine we started using a lot of fossil fuels. That's when we started up and Co2 into the air. Some people say it say it started even before then, by the way we agriculture, I was gonna, say kind of starts with agriculture with the lot of cow farts. Let's be honest, you got a lotta coward arts and clearing the latter in the land, with our two stage YAP changing that that the carbon cycle humans really started changing the carbon cycle and change in climate thousands of years ago right so it accelerated in the industrial revolution of the eighteen. Fifty and it's really, the accelerated in the last thirty years with what we call the great acceleration were everything's going exponentially off the charts so also, as is also too because now we're all doing it. You know you know before: just Europe and America, its Europe, America, China, Russia, all of brick. You know it's it's like every body out the developing nations. Now one of the ways in which their developing is their mimicking are no success in.
Messing up the atmosphere? And you know: how are we to say they shouldn't do it does because we did it, but in our opinion, this togethers other than to say back is alert for what exactly. But hopefully you know it's in our interest to help them do their technology better, is in everyone's interests, so yeah, you know in a certain sense, I've got the right to pollute because we have polluted, but in another sense we have got to solve this problem because We are there's only one atmosphere more Aubrey than it is now very quickly. What was that era? You, you said against state. Answer a passing era. Answer perfume human. The answer perceive era. Just remember that drew because there is the answer to your question. It's all of us at all times, yeah all right well on that note will be back in a few minutes with more star talk.
Unlocking the secrets of U world and everything orbiting around it. Stereotypes by once again welcome back to start talk, radio, I'm astronauts, I would just David grinned spoon sitting in four NEO Thyssen and I'm here chuck nice. Yes, yes and we're talking about we're doing cosmic queries talking about human impact on earth and Chuck. Has all these great question sent in by listeners and that's what's? Let's have another want to jump right back into it? Ok and this one from Marco horror but now Marco says: do you think the climate change debate would be different if global warming was branded as climate change from the beginning
the tough question you know it's like of so much, not a science question. It's it's a marketing and psychology question mean is very interesting and I think those of us in the science community we gotta get down and ourselves and say handled this wrong. There's all this anti science and people confusing against. If only we had used this word and not that word, and I don't know, I think they resist Comes from the fact that that has a great deal of money being thrown at the problem why energy companies that confuse the issue? May money exploiting human psychology in the human psychology is to not be able to believe that we are actually affecting the earth. In this way I mean, after all, it's the earth and we're just us right and how could we possibly be messing up the entire world and so others that there's a natural human disbelief innocent that's been exploited, I think, by those who do have an inch.
Financially in saying you know, global warming ha ha and then, of course, we respond to these short timescale thing so they'll be like spell or snow storm and people will say of their religion, global warming right now in of course, it doesn't work that way. In fact, you can have years of called temperature Global warming is still happening because there's natural fluctuation superimposed on the long term trend, but you know you it is. It is a marketing pro met getting people to accept this and self. So you can you're. Ok, what if we hadn't used global warming? You know what did we make some horrible mistake? I tend to think no, it's like it's more a question of getting people to kind of up and face reality in any luck. Would well good luck with that, but I don't think we made some horrible language choice by calling at global warming and maybe climate changes better innocent since, in that its more complex than just things are getting harder. It's all these changes, rainfall storms
you know, my steer temperature is honest connected chain, I heard someone say once we should call a global weirding, because really it's more about extra weather patterns? Not just climate word as you say, temperature or not, whether yet dream, this of the absolutely absolutely global weirding, because because there are certain locations, of course, that we'll get warm certain locations that won't as much for a long time in certain places will be winners and losers and they'll be changes in precipitation. Matters is much more complex than just a change, average are so global. Weirding is not bad course. Doesn't role, the tongue. Yet I had a mixed earth seem creepy right yeah, just like you know with what are you wearing? You know that the global weirding? That's.
Maybe not the best or gettin weird. Well, you know what years a follow up to Marcos, question from Daniel Heed or head, I'm going heed. Our climate changes really climate changes. Ok, are we look like we call it climate change? Is it really climate change. Well, what else would it be? I mean ok now that the crimes like on a permanent basis, like harmony, is permanent changes. Dugout permanent change, whelps, not just crazy, whether Pat it's not it's, not permanent. What we're doing, because the earth These long term cycles where in fact the carbon is regulated without our interference at all long before we got here, carbon dioxide in the atmosphere went up, it went down and you know do too kinds of complexity in the earth system and changes in the orbit in solar radiation and positions of the countenances these things that over the long term, change climate and earth has a natural meccans.
Mrs, it's pretty regulates climate the long run, because volcanoes, and because of chemical reactions that succeed, two out of the atmosphere and make limestone and all that the the earth returned to normal and the key I met will return to normal, but that it's a few million years to happen up. Also that will not help us Gallagher will return to normal without us or nothing permanent, but on the timescale. They worry about on our times cover our civilization. It's. What we're doing will last for thousands tens of thousands of years. So for your purposes in my purse, That's pretty permanent gotcha. So here you go catastrophic for us, nothing to the earth, yeah exactly exactly we're, not threatening the earth, people say, save the earth, none of its not save the earthy earth I'll, be fine. It's save the human right. So basically, will you talk about these debates? It's about our own,
carcass well and all the other species of Ireland with us. You know I don't care about them, David regulation, because we need em. I gotta tell you I'm a low, partially human beings because I happen to be want, but try to be a human being on earth without those other species and we're host, and we are now ready, hopefully, for the lightning round. This is where we quickly get to a lot of questions we didn't get to before and give so sinks, but highly incisive, an accurate answers that is correct certain whenever you are done with your answer to allow me there is time to move on. I'm gonna do this and there we have sought out of our good at doesn't if you'll get right, let's jump right into it. Alright, this is from a Susan monopoly to combat global warming. Besides, reducing our production of greenhouse,
as this is there any way to reduce the amount of solar radiation that reaches the earth? I'm thinking ring world shadows squares around the earth rather than around the sun. Oh yeah other schemes that people have come up with where we could block some solar radiation by putting things in orbit big, shadowy square massive engineering schemes in the long run, humanity might want to do something like that. I am wary of that in the short run, because that sort of an abdication of our responsibility just like get caught, a lot of our energy and our emissions, but I think we should put that in the parking lot as they say and consider it first future time when we know what we're doing a little bit more with space technology and we may ultimately need to because the sun's getting warmer and in the future, we're going to have to take more drastic measures
yeah, maybe maybe ultimately will do that. Let's go for another one day. You I right. This is from mark right on Twitter is Nuclear power, maybe our best real choice. Morally Chernobyl place territory beyond human use, but plants and animals thrive the morality of nuclear power as a lightning question. Sure that's easy! You know it's a tricky question, The more concern you are about global warming as an emergency, the more you have to consider other power sources and nuclear power does not create the kind of carbon footprint that fossil fuels. Does nuclear power is
harry because it makes all this waste that last for a long time, and we don't completely know how to deal with, but I think the responsible thing for us to do is to be seriously considering nuclear as part of the constellation of solutions that we need to come up with, but it's not gonna be the whole answer, and it's probably not something that should be completely off limits. Data also from Twitter, Rachel Fender says what would the consequences of a sudden decrease and greenhouse gases be versus a gradual decrease good question, very everybody's worried about climate change, more and more Co2 hot or what would happen if the sea or two went away right away today by the way when you talk about some of these solutions like let's do and
near something. Let's design some organism that succeed two out of the atmosphere. What, if we're too successful, we can't turn it off and all the Co2 goes away. We would die. We depend on the fact that we have a couple hundred parts per million co2 in the atmosphere to keep earthworm enough. So a sudden decrease in co2 would be just as bad or worse, maybe even then, a sudden increase in co2. You need a certain range of co2 and you don't want to go too far out of that range in either direction. Awesome answer. I love
yet, but would it help if we just saw hyper ventilated? You know it may help you are here we go. This is from Ben Ratner, also from twitter. What have we learned about life in space that we have been able to use to improve life on earth? Well, I mean an overall sense, the perspective of thinking about life in space and how life works on planets in general has given us lot of new perspective on life on our planet? But more specifically, we ve learned about things about how radiation effects organisms. We ve learned how to think about closed environments. If you're going to design a space station, you need to recycle every Thing will ultimately were realizing now that our own earth is a closed environment. We talk about biosphere,
aware here: Biosphere, one bows re one is a closed environment, and so just a thinking about how you design space systems, I think, really has made a smarter about realising. There are certain since we are in this in a space system, we are life and space, our planet is spaceship earth, and so some of those design problems turned back around and help us conceive of our going to survive for the long term on this space ship that we happen to have evolved on awesome. Great answer on this one is from Beth Grace. The risk we are taking with our planet reflect certain mindsets, have about natural resources and our relationships with other life. What lessons do you think we need to learn before we colonise other planets in order to avoid transporting the same patterns of mismanagement other worlds to really get question, because people tend to have as utopian
you and I will just go com as other planets, and everything will be fine, but course we're gonna, bring our same mindsets and and patterns there and ultimately do we want to just turn Mars into a giant strip. Mall and Us Strip, mind disasters own and now, of course, you know, I'm I'm all in favour of humans going into space and exploring in leaving elsewhere, but but we can escape ourselves and ultimately, the lessons of how to live sustainably on a planet are ones that we're going to have to learn and carry with us wherever we go in the universe. So there it is get it right at home. First then, take it on the road.
Breathing space inside it down to earth you're listening to start welcome back to start listening to one of our classic episodes originally recorded, persists in five of the past. I'm doctor funky spoon, Astor Biologists, David Byrne, spoon and now I'm back, I'm calling to the studio from my home. To give you a little bit more House chalk nice job thanks for joining us for this, of course, doktor funky spoon. Have you been man, I'm doing gray? How are you I'm don't? Well man doing well, what's happening anything good going on, the new and exciting in the life of doktor funky spoon
just doing what I do. I got around the solar system and solving problems for people out there. I thought I'd just emerged from the process of finishing up my book. Earthen human hands. She's gonna drop later this year, nice the allies that in trying to just die, you now stay alive, and I know your book is about. You know that it's almost self explanatory in the title but earthen human hands it- how we afraid this planet and our behavior what it does to the planet long term. And what is your prognosis right now? I'm taking planetary science view of the problem, which means looking over billions of years and trying to see our current moment in that deep time, Scape ran I actually think that gives me a little bit more of a of sympathy for us
then maybe some other people express in the sense that, in others, really something very unusual happening on earth now go ahead. Has never before been a geological force aware of its own existence. I shall trying to do something really hard. That's here we are Finding ourselves alternating is planted it and realized tingle. We acted, We have to sort of manage this plan, but we all know how to manage a pilot. No, we don't have a manual and we're sort of almost surprised to find herself here it's almost like waking up in the minimal driving Rebecca down a road and yet a wide figure out a driver's thing in a hurry. That's our situation on said that get down on ourselves David. I have to tell you. I just have to tell you that as well
the scariest situations that you could describe waking up in the middle of driving a big rig sixteen years and all that's that's horrifying. What are you talking about scariest, oh yeah, but the thing is we ve done similar things before or in the sense that human beings, if there's One thing that makes differentiates us differentiates us ass. A species were proud, I'm solvers and were we're inventors and we ve got not as some tight jams in the past, if you take an evolutionary look at us. There been times in the past when the human species- almost when it stand. There was a time hundred ninety thousand years ago, when we were in africa- and there was a there- was climate change, and I say region, inhuman, bit human species he's got wiped out and
survived by inventing new technologies in inventing new ways of cooperating working together in an and solving problems. So here- and I think that's what we do- so you're saying so well that housing situation, the innovations that we are capable of may be the answer, to our survival, so the fact that we were able to survive the ice age. Now, let me just ask you, since you bought up the ice age when you the climate change now eat. Or you know we ve seen all the pictures, of course, of elementary school of the ice age and human beings being a part of the ice age and you know, was wearing our pelts and are you know, fur skins and all that kind of stuff? Of course we found fire. There were different things that we did, that that were able to make shelter became part of what we did.
When you look at that the difference is we're. Never gonna have another ice age. If I'm correct we're going in the opposite direction, what what can we do to survive that? Because now you're, looking at drought, you're looking at food shortages, you're looking at Jia, geographic changes in the topography of the earth, because there are some places that are going to disappear because the rise of sea levels. So you know what are some of the things that we will be able to do to survive that well. First of all, let me Clara passport misconception, because you talk about the ice age like it was one thing in reality. If you look at the history of earth, the earth's climate, it's gone from ice age, the hot house, the ice age, the hot house and the last ten thousand.
There's had been kind of unusual. In that our time it's been pretty stable and pretty warm and we ve been lucky with flourished in this artificial, what are artificially officially but unusually stable? Warm pilot period and so on. The challenge they mean a chance. We have right now, as you say, is to deal with this warming in sea levels danger: drought and all these things are happening as a result of our emissions of fossil fuels, but as temporary. One way or another that temporary can't know blonde very long. The bigger longer picture is that the earth does go to the climate fluctuations and well yes, go through another ice age and another fifty four hundred thousand years or so left to its own devices. Natural climate change would do us intervention. But I dont actually there's going to be any natural climate change anymore and I think in the long run, that's a good thing. Once we get over
immediate problem of sort of stumbling. Do this climate change that were forcing learn more thoughtful way to interact with the planet's climate and in the long run, that will mean will prevent the next the ice age and will prevent other disasters from happening on the flip side of having to get handle on our own behaviour. Right now is their work, I understand the way the planet's climate changes might better and that's gonna save our butts. It's a long. So what you're? Where I hear you saying, because there are now listen, I know you. I know you doctor foggy spoon. I know that you a friend are a eternal optimist. You are always looking at the best case scenario. Sounds to me like you're, saying that the problems that we presented ourselves, we ve created these problems, but these problems may be the impetus for
much greater success and sustainability of the human race going forward. We're gonna be forced to deal with something that may end up helping us much further down the line, and Emma am I right to hear you say: is that what you say: yeah lily? In fact, in my book, earthen human hands? I call this. The twisted gifts a global warming theirs, it is obviously a tragedy in the short run in the morning when it's a gift, because we have no choice but to learn how to be planetary operators. If it's not climate changes, other technology were developing. We can't put the Genie back in the bottom and not have planet changing technology, so we have to get good at. And global warming is forcing our supporting that reckoning and in the long run, that's going to empower us not just to save ourselves but to save otherwise, even though right now causing this mass extinction or possibly causing a mass.
The ancient. I think, in the long run, humanity can prevent a lot more extinction than it will cause. There's I'm going to be another asteroid impact and there's not going to be another ice age. Those things killed a lot more species ultimately than were threatening now, so I'm trying to get us off the hook we have to do is please we can change our current behaviour, but I do think in the long run. We can also see potential for us too how to actually be the kind of constructive players the earth that we should be, and actually hence turf and protect life. Once we get over our current problem of this sort of flagrant emissions that we win,
curtail so what you say and kind of like, because I don't want people. What I dont want is for somebody who's climate deny or to hear this and say see it does make a difference anyway, because it's better it's a good thing for us. Exxon is helping us. Ok, don't you understand. Exxon is saving us without even knowing it. But what you're saying as in in the vein of necessity, is the mother of invention once were presented with these problems. We're gonna have to come with a solution, and so the inspiration for solution building will be there, but that notwithstanding, we still have to make sure that we take care of this problem, and one of the ways that we are going to have to take care of this problem is to get off of our dependency on fossil fuel and move towards sustainable, renewable energies that do not cause see the level
rising sea levels and and global warming yeah exactly basically, we have to grow up. I love what we ve been able to get away with the earth is pretty big. An with you now until recently haven't completely taken over and we ve been able to get away with throwing stuff away as if there was no way, but there is no away right. We realise that its finite and Maturity is realising the limits and learning how to work within those limits. This is a time when the human species has it has to gain that maturity. Really see. Clearly the situation were in and global warming is the problem that is forcing us to really understand that nature of ourselves as a species on the planet. There is bring our planet and that, if we want last survive, and we want to be a good sort of citizens of this planet. We have to
take a new look and and reassess and re integrate ourselves in a healthy way into the functioning of our planet. We no longer have the luxury cannot be a part of the way the planet functions as a shocking, as that seems our cognitive systems are technology are now, I think, prominent part of the way the earth operates. You know unless we low it which we could, but there is also a possible future. Will we learn how to do that? Well and we integrate gracefully into the functioning of the planet and that, Sir, that's what I'm trying to push IRAN as by the way I have a name for that same color, Paris, sapiens, terrorism. Yes, I think terror sapiens is what we have to try, achieve, or we are homo sapiens rather plausibly, wise apes, and we need to now recognise ourselves as a planetary species and build terrorist ape sooner
guided by wisdom. That's that's the equivalent of us growin up. That's so that's what a grown up homo sapiens is when you grow up, you become a terrorist api, I your planet, that's austrian, aim for the planet, as we are becoming one with the planet were becoming. Integrated into its terrorist sapiens is what we have to become in its also what the kind of planet we have to build in, and we have to realise that the bar worries, big. What we consider natural and artificial are the shockingly no longer there it's all one eye so mad. I wish we had more time for this that have well one thing: I'm taken away from us, is terror sapient, I wanna be a terrorist sapient, I'm already a tear safely, and I don't know about anybody else, I'm off the terror sapient cause, I'm I'm sold in I'm soldier. Has it floating in front of the galaxy you gotta get tears the enemy that's represent not terrorist sapiens. Talk about
Man. This is great man great talking to you again. I wish we had more time, but you, those like we're, done, wonders why man thanks so much I would thank you. This is big star talk and I'm asked a David principle with Michael House. Jack nice and thank you very much like dollar may, adopt the orange which you can listen. The star talk commercial, free, Joe star talk on Patriot, on for as little as five dollars per month and the ads will disappear. Learn more at patriarch dot com. Last star talk, radio
Transcript generated on 2020-01-25.