The Future Of Mankind Essays


cultivated land; thus, productivity of farmlands will affect. As humidity traps theheat, therefore, nights will be hotter than the days.Recently, not only the frequency of hurricanes has increased, but also theirintensity has become severe in turmoil. Number of Hurricanes developing in Atlanticoceans has been double. Hurricane Katrina that struck the US in 2005 was one of thedeadliest in the US history. Formed in the Atlantic Ocean, the hurricane hit the US onAugust 23, 2005, killing about 2000 people in New Orleans alone. In October 2004,the deadliest typhoon hit Japan in which at least 70 people were dead.In addition, heavy rainfall, floods, landslides, cyclones have affected at least20 million in South Asia in 2007 monsoon and killed several thousands. All civicservices came to a halt in major cities like Mumbai, Karachi, and Hong Kong. Also, inChina, most of the places braced this century's most catastrophic flooding. At least2.5 million people had to evacuate their homes and the damages surpassed 3 billionsdollars.


As some areas will see heavy downpour and flooding, the others will be facingsevere droughts. The consequence of prolong dry weather will be forest wildfires thatmay damage a vast area of timberland besides other losses. In 2003, Europe sawone of its most catastrophic forest wildfire, which killed 20 people, and destroyedmore than 420,000 hectares of forest and vegetations in Portugal.Global warming at the same pace will devastate 1/3 of the forests of theglobe at the end of 21


century. Attack of pests will be unprecedented because of their early maturation and low resistance of trees and plants. Frequent forestwildfires will throw tons of Carbon dioxide into the atmosphere; hence, loss of treesmeans loss in the absorption capacity of Carbon dioxide. However, Thomas Karl,director of National Climate Change Centre, predicts that initially forests will increasein area because of increase in the concentration of Carbon dioxide that acts asfertilizer; but in the long-term, fire, pests, drought, diseases will reduce the capacityof forests.


A report published by the UN says that global warming will hit hard on poornations already short in their food supply. Droughts will negatively influence theproductivity. The areas in tropics and sub-tropics are more prone to temperaturefluctuation as compared to high latitude regions. However, overall agricultureproduction of the globe will not have any significant change. For instance, someareas will be more productive as Southern regions in Canada, but most regions inAfrica will suffer from drought and famine.Robert Lester, founder of Earth Policy Institute, reported that agriculture yieldof wheat and rice would reduce by 10 percent with a 1 degree Celsius rise intemperature. Furthermore, researchers in Carnegie Institution showed that from1981 to 1998, one degree Centigrade rise in temperature had reduced the yield of soybean and corns by 17 percent.Consequently, low yield of agriculture in most of the regions will be a cause of food inflation. Because of high prices, poor sections of society will not have a properdiet. As a result, malnutrition and various diseases will affect the underprivileged

Russell begins his essay, "The Future of Mankind," with three possible scenarios for the future. Note that Russell wrote this essay after World War II and during the rise of the Cold War. (The Cold War defined the antagonism between the Soviet Union, and their allies, and the United States, and their allies. The Cold War followed World War II - 1947 - and lasted until 1991 with the dissolution of the Soviet Union.) 

Given that a third world war, erupting from the Cold War, was one of Russell's greatest concerns, his prospects for the future dealt with the possibility of such a war (atomic, no less) or some way to avoid such a war. If such a war were to occur, Russell supposed the destruction of human life, and possibly all life, on the planet. Atomic bombs and their after-effects (radiation clouds, disease, etc.) would decimate and/or eliminate all life. 

Russell's second scenario is that the world would revert to a state of barbarism. This too could result from a widespread atomic world war. The only solace is that such outcome leaves open the possibility that humans could return to a civilized state. Russell compares this possibility to the fall of Rome which was followed by a relatively more barbaric time (notably the Dark Ages) but was followed by a Renaissance and eventually a more technological and organized world. 

Russell's third scenario is the unification of the world under one united power. Russell adds that such a united power is the most preferable outcome (a more powerful and all-encompassing authority than, say, the United Nations). Russell notes that as long as there at least two supremely powerful states (Soviet Union and United States), the threat of an atomic world war is always possible. And as technology increases, the destructive power of such a war increases. In other words, the more technologically advanced the world becomes, the more destructive our wars become; therefore, Russell believed that a unified world state becomes more and more necessary in order to avoid such a catastrophic war. 

Russell hoped that a united world state could be achieved by negotiation and/or the threat of force but he feared that force would be necessary. He also clearly preferred an American victory rather than a Russian victory - whether that be the result of diplomatic relations or the result of a war. He even added that if America were communist and Russia were capitalist, he would still prefer an American victory because there was more intellectual and social freedom in America. 

Although a united world state does have problems, Russell believes that under such a state, the threat of war will be lessened or eliminated, leaving humans to put more attention on human happiness. Although Russell presents gloomy potentials for the future, he believes that an immeasurably good outcome can emerge from the third scenario: 

What the world most needs is effective laws to control international relations. The first and most difficult step in the creation of such law is the establishment of adequate sanctions, and this is only possible through the creation of a single armed force in control of the whole world. 


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