Thursday, January 23, 2014

Spaceship Earth

A new computer model by Eric Wolf, estimates the earth will be destroyed by our sun in 1.5 billion years. [1]

It is a popular idea in science and science fiction that we will one day escape destruction on earth by colonizing other planets. In these scenarios the polluted and spent earth is left behind. But, will there be enough space ships to save us all? What about all the plants and animals we would leave behind? This is a bad way of thinking about the future that can have a negative impact on how we think about the present. We more readily accept pollution and things that harm the planet, when we think that in the distant future, we are going to ditch the earth anyways.

Instead we should plan to save the earth by turning it into a giant space ship, so we can safely move the earth to a higher orbit as the sun becomes a red giant star. Is it too soon to worry about these things? It might take millions of years to safely move the earth to this higher orbit, and transforming the earth into a spaceship may itself take millions of years as well, so we better start now to be sure we have enough time.

Much of the earth as we know it will be lost in this radical transformation into spaceship. In order to preserve natural habitats and places for cities of the future, we will need to greatly increase the total surface area, control the weather, and globally route the flow of fresh water. I have created this animation in Blender to try to capture some of these ideas. I imagine the disk structure as a place for the new cities, where people can enjoy flying around in the lower gravity. The original earth surface enclosed in a protective biosphere, can be maintained for wild animals and returned to its natural state. I placed the rocket booster at the south pole, I imagine we would have to drill to the earths core and reinforce the entire earth through its center from both poles.

Thursday, January 16, 2014

Tarlac City vs Ace Manalang

No one here can escape the foul smell of burning plastic. Last month I ran into the Mayor of Tarlac City ("Ace" Manalang) and confronted him about the widespread dumping of plastic and other waste burning all around the city. He tried to dodge my questions, and kept repeating that: "nothing can be done to change the people".

Is it time to give up on clean air and water? I took to the streets to see what people think, and the results surprised me. I spoke with many different people of all ages, and there was a clear pattern in every instance. Women are aware and concerned about the situation, and actively clean and recycle plastics. Children under the age of ten enjoyed picking up plastics, it is seen as a game that can make a little money.

Most of the men I spoke with were either drinking beer or gin. They were unaware and not concerned by problems created by burning plastics. When asked to help clean up the community along side the women and children, all quickly refused. This is what surprised me, they clearly had nothing better to do, yet refused to help. What was holding them back? These drunken men were ironically concerned about their public image and status within the community. If they were seen cleaning trash they could be labeled a "scavenger".