The biggest problem in the world today is one that is totally unrecognized and that is—there is no backup plan for saving the ecology of the world or the even the humans now living upon it. The Earth Ark, Lifehavens, Antarctic Life and Data Banks and the South Pole Seed Bank are possibilities which could be implemented without too much expense. Cost is a relative term, but when the cost of preserving humanity in these ways is compared to the millions of times greater amount which is now being expended upon humanity’s destruction, the saving of it is cheap indeed. Furthermore, once any of these are in place humanity would have at least a minimal ability to recreate the habitability of our planet for hopefully a hundred years and perhaps a few thousand years.
A very rough guess for the monetary cost of the Earth Ark project has to be in the range of billions of dollars to set up, and a few million dollars per year to maintain. The Lifehavens could be set up for a few tens of millions of dollars, and would cost a few million per year to maintain until a way could be found to make them economically self-sustaining by data storage or possibly by energy creation from the winds which have been a problem for previous residents of the islands where they might be located. The South Pole Seed Bank costs very little other than the expense of flying the seeds and other materials to be stored there, either air dropped or flown into the airport at the South Pole. Although that place is remote the cost of hauling simple containers to that location is easily computed, and there would be few surprise expenses. So we might guess that ten million dollars would create a substantial seed and soil bank around the South Pole. The Antarctic, Life and Data Bank would cost official governments no money at all, and can be done entirely by voluntary efforts by private citizens. All that project requires are some shipping containers located at convenient places throughout the world so private persons could store local materials from their own homelands in them, and thus create their own life-restoring habitat package.
The only outside expense would be the transportation of these containers to the Antarctic. That might be done by subscription or by donations by people who believed in saving the planet, and who would wish to have their name associated with the creation of an unquestionably peaceful project for giving humanity the opportunity of restoring life for future generations.
It is necessary to emphasize that these Life Banks are for restoring any given place to its natural state at some time in the future when the present natural ecology has been destroyed by the continuing of the processes that are now clearly upon us. Global warming is only one symptom of the many problems we face. It is talked about in the media because it is easily measured, and the effects are so easily understood, and predicted. The current year by year destruction isn’t easily seen by people but we can see that over a period of a lifetime it is easy to discern real problems, and over a period of a thousand years it will clearly be catastrophic.
The economics that force people to make a living day to day on an individual basis are not a problem for this project. But because there are so many people, and each person adds a little to the destruction to the environment in the aggregate humanity does become a problem. These vast multitudes of people, estimated to be about 6.8 billion, create the basis for the problem, as the human activities of our huge population nibble away at the limited resources until at some point they will be gone and suddenly everyone will become desperate. This will happen even if there are no violent wars and only economic competition, because at some point there will be a limited resource which everyone desperately needs to survive, and then they will struggle with all their might to get it. When that happens there will surely be a catastrophe. Even with the best of intentions, and the utmost of cooperation the present way of consuming the limited resources of the Earth will bring on this eventual shortfall. It may not be for fifty years or it may have already begun, and we just don’t see exactly what it is just yet. But it will come. What these projects do is to make some preparation for that day of reckoning. It will probably be within the lifetimes of people now living, possibly very soon, but surely within a couple of hundred years. That seems like a long time but people now living can easily remember events from one hundred years ago, and so thinking a hundred years into the future doesn’t mean, we are talking about space aliens, it means it will probably have an enormous effect upon people now living. Possibly it will impact you directly. Whatever the timing, it will seem in retrospect to be very recently that these projects were being considered and implemented or rejected.
The big question for humanity right now is, “How to create enthusiasm for a backup plan for humanity and for the Earth, so that it can get started.”