Ant Colony Earth: How Humans Became a Super-Organism
At a time when we threaten to tip the Earth's scales, possibly causing irreversible damage to its ecosystem, the actions of a single individual seem more ineffectual than ever.
What's the Latest?
Since about 1900, the global population has grown exponentially. As a result, we are less able to live purely as individuals and we increasingly rely on networks--from power grids to government welfare programs to the Internet--to thrive as a species. We have even entered a new geological time period called the Anthropocene, or the age of man. And if we consider the global human society to be a sum of its parts, much the way ants work collectively for the betterment of the entire colony, a startling picture emerges: we use 18 trillion watts of energy at any given time, "9,000 billion cubic meters of water per year, and 40% of global land area for farming."
What's the Big Idea?
Thus at a time when we threaten to tip the Earth's scales, possibly causing irreversible damage to its ecosystem (scientists already fear that by destroying biodiversity we have caused the 6th mass extinction), the actions of a single individual seem more ineffectual than ever. One person deciding to reduce his or her water use or carbon footprint has a negligible impact overall. But as technology enables us to view ourselves through a network of eyes, "in the form of the many powerful satellites and remote cameras that track individual trees in rainforests or reveal the extent of glacial carving," we may arrive at a more global consciousness and alter the course of human history--purposefully and together.
Read more at BBC Future
Photo credit: Shutterstock
Swipe right to make the connections that could change your career.
Swipe right. Match. Meet over coffee or set up a call.
No, we aren't talking about Tinder. Introducing Shapr, a free app that helps people with synergistic professional goals and skill sets easily meet and collaborate.
Is it "perverseness," the "death drive," or something else?
A disturbing interview given by a KGB defector in 1984 describes America of today and outlines four stages of mass brainwashing used by the KGB.
- Bezmenov described this process as "a great brainwashing" which has four basic stages.
- The first stage is called "demoralization" which takes from 15 to 20 years to achieve.
- According to the former KGB agent, that is the minimum number of years it takes to re-educate one generation of students that is normally exposed to the ideology of its country.
It's up to us humans to re-humanize our world. An economy that prioritizes growth and profits over humanity has led to digital platforms that "strip the topsoil" of human behavior, whole industries, and the planet, giving less and less back. And only we can save us.
- It's an all-hands-on-deck moment in the arc of civilization.
- Everyone has a choice: Do you want to try to earn enough money to insulate yourself from the world you're creating— or do you want to make the world a place you don't have to insulate yourself from?
SMARTER FASTER trademarks owned by The Big Think, Inc. All rights reserved.