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Anonymous
Asked a question 11 months ago

With issues like global warming, environmental degradation and drastic scientific and technological effects, is there a probability that decades to come earth will be lifeless?

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Kent Harris
Legislative Affairs Specialist

Virtually none.

Global warming will make an enormous number of people’s lives miserable, displace hundreds of millions, kill a lot of people and make a lot of species extinct, but it won’t end life. It might end life as we know it, resulting in a lot cleaner air, a lot more electric vehicles and a lot quieter cities, but life will persist, both human and otherwise.

Environmental degradation will be similar. It will make many species extinct unnecessarily, and it’s already making a lot of people’s lives miserable. But it won’t kill humans and life will persist.

Drastic scientific and technical effects have a sliver of possibility of ending life on earth, but even that’s a very remote end of the spectrum. Global thermonuclear war would kill enormous numbers of people and animals and plants and the like, and the fallout effects would devastate our economies. But an awful lot of humans and species would survive the results, and humans would rebuild. Frankly, a lot of species would flourish wildly if there were a lot fewer humans in the world. The abundance of wildlife in the Chernobyl and Fukushima Exclusion Zones is a continuing source of comment and exploration.

How Chernobyl has become an unexpected haven for wildlife

Photos: 10 years after disaster, wildlife abounds in Fukushima

A photographer documented the resurgence of wildlife in a Japanese village abandoned after the Fukushima nuclear accident.

https://www.nationalgeographic.com/animals/article/wildlife-abounds-in-fukushima-nuclear-exclusion-zone#:~:text=Wild%20boars%2C%20Japanese%20macaques%2C%20and,areas%2C%20a%202020%20study%20found.&text=Solar%2Dpowered%20monitors%20track%20radiation,around%20the%20Fukushima%20Daiichi%20plant.

General artificial intelligence is the most likely (still extremely unlikely) cause of potential subjugation of the human race, but once again, that isn’t a lifeless Earth, that’s a different pattern of life on Earth.

No, the only things that would eliminate life on Earth in the near term is if a planet-busting asteroid hits us, something like the event that split the Earth into the Earth and Moon.

How did the moon form?

Before the Earth and Moon, there was a proto-Earth and Theia. Museum planetary science researcher Prof Sara Russell explains the origins of Earth's closest companion.

https://www.nhm.ac.uk/discover/how-did-the-moon-form.html#:~:text=What%20is%20most%20widely%20accepted,Earth%20to%20form%20the%20Moon.

If something like that were to occur — again cosmically unlikely — all life on Earth would be eradicated.