by Steve Stephenson [sks23cu.net]
Revised March 15, 2008
Most scientists now recognize that the Earth is experiencing a warming trend.
Most scientists agree that the effects will generally be bad for humans and most other existing life on Earth.There is widespread, paralyzing debate over why this is happening. Some current theories:
1. Prevailing: Increasing CO2 in atmosphere caused by human activities.
2. Alternate: Decreased cloud cover caused by increased solar activity that deflects cosmic rays.
Retrieved March 15, 2008, from http://discovermagazine.com/2007/jul/the-discover-interview-henrik-svensmark/
2.1. Connected: Bacteria cause precipitation (which reduces cloud cover).
Louisiana State University (2008, February 29). Evidence Of 'Rain-making' Bacteria Discovered In Atmosphere And Snow. ScienceDaily. Retrieved March 15, 2008, from http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2008/02/080228174801.htm
3. Alternate: Long term cycles in Earth's orbit around the Sun.
University Of California, Santa Cruz (2001, April 16). Ancient Climate Excursion Linked To A Rare Anomaly In Earth's Orbit. ScienceDaily. Retrieved March 15, 2008, from http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2001/04/010413081139.htm
4. Alternate: Long term cycles in Sun's orbit around the Milky Way Galaxy.
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Retrieved March 15, 2008.
But the crux of the matter is not why global warming is happening, or what causes ice ages or global extinctions, or when will the sun become a red giant and engulf the Earth, it's what are we humans going to do to ensure the survival of our species?
Here are some ways we could work toward solutions:
Very short term: reduce CO2 emissions to offset global warming, whatever the cause(s).
Short term: Become adept at directly modifying Earth's climate.
Medium term: Establish self-sustaining colonies on Mars, and ultimately terraform it.
Long term: Establish self-sustaining colonies on planets of other stars and terraform them.
Very long term solution: Human civilization to become primarily space-based in multiple huge mother-ships, like the aliens in http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Independence_Day_(film). But hopefully retaining our humanity. Loss of a few mother-ships would then not affect the long term survival of the human race.