Prof. Microbe Classroom

Feb 15th 2014

This will either be humanity’s last century or the century that sets the world on a course towards a spectacular, sustainable future. We live on a small, beautiful and totally isolated planet, as China turns outward and America turns inward. Every year, because of our misuse of the Earth’s resources, we lose 100 million acres of farmland, 24 billion tons of top soil, and we create 15 million acres of new desert. Global warming will bring hurricanes far more severe than Katrina and now Harvey causing natural climate-control mechanisms to go wrong. Prime Minister Tony Blair’s chief science adviser, Sir David King, told Blair that climate change and global aging represent a greater danger than terrorism. No other force is likely to shape the future of economic health, public finances and policy making as the irreversible rate at which the world’s population is aging. (Standard & Poor’s, 2012) In the 20th Century, we created carbon dioxide, nitrous oxide and methane from massive use of carbon-based fuels. Some of the solutions to problems will meet resistance for purely parochial reasons, often because there are large vested interests in maintaining the status quo. Putting the right incentives into place is critical to dealing with our biggest problems and our children have a vital role to play in it; therefore, there is much that we need to teach them about their future.