Stephen Hawking: We Must Find Another Planet to Live On
Theoretical physicist Stephen Hawking is one of the most intelligent individuals on the planet, which is why his assertion that humanity has only 1,000 years left on Earth and must find another place to colonize is incredibly frightening.
"[W]e must ... continue to go into space for the future of humanity," professor Hawking said in a lecture on "The Origins of the Universe" at Britain's Oxford University Union earlier this week.
Human Consumption of Earth's Natural Resources Has Tripled in 40 Years via @EcoWatch https://t.co/fi5IO7hF8P #deforestation #biodiversity— Green Bean (@Green Bean)1470981221.0
"I don't think we will survive another 1,000 years without escaping beyond our fragile planet," Hawking said.
Also in his talk, Hawking discussed creation myths, Einstein's theory of relativity and how "the expansion of the universe was one of the most important discoveries of the 20th, or indeed any, century."
He urged more space travel to advance our quest in understanding ourselves. "We must continue exploring space in order to improve our knowledge of humanity. We must go beyond our humble planet," he said.
Hawking's speech ended on an encouraging note. "Remember to look up at the stars, not at your feet. Try to make sense of the wonder that is around you," he said. "No matter how difficult life may seem, there is always something you can do and be good at."
Stephen Hawking: Remember to look up at the stars, not at your feet. Try to make sense of the wonder that is around you.— Oxford Union (@Oxford Union)1479156669.0
This is not the first time that Hawking has made such dire warnings about the end times. At a January talk with BBC Reith Lectures, he said that nuclear war, climate change, genetically-engineered viruses and the rise of artificial intelligence spell planetary doom.
And in an interview with Larry King in June, Hawking described how an increase in air pollution, emissions of carbon dioxide and overpopulation are major threats to humanity.
"Six years ago I was warning about pollution and overcrowding, they have gotten worse since then," Hawking said. "The population has grown by half a billion since our last meeting with no end in sight. At this rate, it will be 11 billion by 2100. Air pollution has increased by 8 percent over the past five years."
The world-renowned scientist is often asked to explain the universe's most baffling mysteries but he was stumped in May when he was asked to explain the rise of Donald Trump.
“I can't," Hawking replied. "He is a demagogue, who seems to appeal to the lowest common denominator."
However, he added that “a more immediate danger is runaway climate change."
"A rise in ocean temperature would melt the ice-caps and cause a release of large amounts of carbon dioxide from the ocean floor," he continued. "Both effects could make our climate like that of Venus, with a temperature of 250 degrees."
In September, Hawking was one of 375 members of the National Academy of Sciences that signed an open letter that warned that America's withdrawal from the Paris agreement would hurt the nation's international credibility and undermine the climate pact.
Your move, Mr. President-elect.
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By Katherine Kornei
Clear-cutting a forest is relatively easy—just pick a tree and start chopping. But there are benefits to more sophisticated forest management. One technique—which involves repeatedly harvesting smaller trees every 30 or so years but leaving an upper story of larger trees for longer periods (60, 90, or 120 years)—ensures a steady supply of both firewood and construction timber.
A Pattern in the Rings<p>The <a href="https://www.encyclopedia.com/science/dictionaries-thesauruses-pictures-and-press-releases/coppice-standards-0" target="_blank">coppice-with-standards</a> management practice produces a two-story forest, said <a href="https://www.researchgate.net/profile/Bernhard_Muigg" target="_blank">Bernhard Muigg</a>, a dendrochronologist at the University of Freiburg in Germany. "You have an upper story of single trees that are allowed to grow for several understory generations."</p><p>That arrangement imprints a characteristic tree ring pattern in a forest's upper story trees (the "standards"): thick rings indicative of heavy growth, which show up at regular intervals as the surrounding smaller trees are cut down. "The trees are growing faster," said Muigg. "You can really see it with your naked eye."</p><p>Muigg and his collaborators characterized that <a href="https://ltrr.arizona.edu/about/treerings" target="_blank">dendrochronological pattern</a> in 161 oak trees growing in central Germany, one of the few remaining sites in Europe with actively managed coppice-with-standards forests. They found up to nine cycles of heavy growth in the trees, the oldest of which was planted in 1761. The researchers then turned to a historical data set — more than 2,000 oak <a href="https://eos.org/articles/podcast-discovering-europes-history-through-its-timbers" target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer">timbers from buildings and archaeological sites</a> in Germany and France dating from between 300 and 2015 — to look for a similar pattern.</p>
A Gap of 500 Years<p>The team found wood with the characteristic coppice-with-standards tree ring pattern dating to as early as the 6th century. That was a surprise, Muigg and his colleagues concluded, because the first mention of this forest management practice in historical documents occurred only roughly 500 years later, in the 13th century.</p><p>It's probable that forest management practices were not well documented prior to the High Middle Ages (1000–1250), the researchers suggested. "Forests are mainly mentioned in the context of royal hunting interests or donations," said Muigg. Dendrochronological studies are particularly important because they can reveal information not captured by a sparse historical record, he added.</p><p>These results were <a href="https://www.nature.com/articles/s41598-020-78933-8" target="_blank">published in December in <em>Scientific Reports</em></a>.</p><p>"It's nice to see the longevity and the history of coppice-with-standards," said <a href="https://www.teagasc.ie/contact/staff-directory/s/ian-short/" target="_blank">Ian Short</a>, a forestry researcher at Teagasc, the Agriculture and Food Development Authority in Ireland, not involved in the research. This technique is valuable because it promotes conservation and habitat biodiversity, Short said. "In the next 10 or 20 years, I think we'll see more coppice-with-standards coming back into production."</p><p>In the future, Muigg and his collaborators hope to analyze a larger sample of historic timbers to trace how the coppice-with-standards practice spread throughout Europe. It will be interesting to understand where this technique originated and how it propagated, said Muigg, and there are plenty of old pieces of wood waiting to be analyzed. "There [are] tons of dendrochronological data."</p><p><em><a href="mailto:email@example.com" target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer">Katherine Kornei</a> is a freelance science journalist covering Earth and space science. Her bylines frequently appear in Eos, Science, and The New York Times. Katherine holds a Ph.D. in astronomy from the University of California, Los Angeles.</em></p><p><em>This story originally appeared in <a href="https://eos.org/articles/tree-rings-reveal-how-ancient-forests-were-managed" target="_blank">Eos</a></em> <em>and is republished here as part of Covering Climate Now, a global journalism collaboration strengthening coverage of the climate story.</em></p>
Earth's ice is melting 57 percent faster than in the 1990s and the world has lost more than 28 trillion tons of ice since 1994, research published Monday in The Cryosphere shows.
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Noreen Nunez lives in a middle-class neighborhood that rises up a hillside in Trinidad's Tunapuna-Piarco region.