With great power comes great responsibility—and YOU have the power to save the world.

The statement of the idea for personal responsibility is adapted from the comic Spider-Man. Peter Parker, alias Spider-Man considered himself morally responsible for his Uncle Ben‘s murder by a burglar. That murder Peter believes he could have prevented. Because of this failure of inaction he resolved to fight crime with the all the powers ever to come into his possession. He realized that with great power comes great responsibility and he vowed never to let another innocent person come to harm if he could help it.

The people of the future are innocent of all wrongdoing and they will be injured by the behavior of people now over-exploiting the environment. You have the power to help prevent those people’s suffering and help found the EarthArk—you can save the lives of many of those innocent people. If you choose not to act you will be responsible for their deaths. This problem has been brought about by the absoluteness of human technical success which resulted in a huge human population.

The wonderful discoveries of the last two hundred years have permitted humans to live lives far beyond the wildest dreams of ancient people but the way the ancient people lived came up to times not really that long ago. Some  currently living old people, when in their youth, have spoken personally to at that time an old person who in his youth lived in that ancient world. He would have lived in a world powered almost wholly by human physical effort. That single jump, in time, of personal overlap is like talking to someone who has had a single jump in space. It is like talking to someone who has been to New York who talked to someone living on Long Island—it’s not a big jump off into ancient history or distant place. To that  person living in the world of 1825 access to a horse gave them a huge advantage of power over his competitors. Another comparison is with distant communication. At that time the fastest communication was by horse. Napolean tried to build a primitive internet semaphore system across France but that communication was so very slow, only about a symbol a minute. A long message could be carried by horseback a hundred miles faster that semaphore system could transmit it. Messages could travel through the system at about a symbol per minute so they had to be very short and very important. That article linked above is interesting reading because it shows just how primitive the very best Internet in the world was at that not very distant time.

To give some more time perspective, Julius Cesar lived ten times that long ago as our older friend mentioned above and Imhotep who was the architect of the Egyptian pyramids lived 25 times as long ago. They were people, genetically just like us and lived out their lives immersed in a civilization much like us, just a long time ago. During that long stretch of human civilization, from Imhotep’s pyramids up to Napoleon, there was very little impact on the stability of the earth’s environment. However that has totally changed and within your lifetime, if your are of college age, there will be massive changes to the ecology of this planet. All of that earlier human civilization went by without effecting the planet one bit until about 1825. But now because of the success of our technology we as a species are destroying our home planet.

In 1825 there were about one billion humans living mostly in balance with the environment as farmers tilling the soil by hand. But now there are about 6.8 billion people living and most of them are moving into cities. These city dwellers consume about the same amount of food per person as those ancient people but the consume vastly more energy dependent products. Transportation of the food and transportation of the people themselves use a lot of mined energy as does the affluent life style to which we have all grown accustomed. That mined coal and oil energy gets consumed one time. When it is gone it is gone forever and can never power future peoples needs. And the air that is polluted with the burning of the fossil fuels is polluted forever in terms of our lifetimes. The way modern city people live consumes so much fossil fuel that only 100 million could live the way we currently do and remain in balance with a healthy earth. By that simple comparison we have 67 times too many people.

It is obvious that the way we live cannot be supported by the Earth for very much longer. Something will happen which will bring humans back to well below the balance point with nature. It won’t be pleasant! And civilization as we know it will go through a period where little we value will survive. That is why you must help create an EarthArk so that those people who do survive can rebuild the beautiful Earth that was given to that old man mentioned above who lived in Napolean’s time. Hopefully, the people who do survive and rebuild the world will see the errors which we made and create a world that humans will be able to live permanently in balanced harmony with the Earth.