Saturday 20 August 2011
Tales From The Water Cooler: Aliens, share your eco-friendly tricks
News broke yesterday of a report by Shawn Domogal-Goldman, a scientist from Nasa's Planetary Science Division, which suggests that aliens from outer space may wipe us all out because they're mad at us about climate change.
"Humanity may just now be entering the period in which its rapid civilisational expansion could be detected by an ETI [extra-terrestrial intelligence]," claims the document, "because our expansion is changing the composition of the Earth's atmosphere, via greenhouse gas emissions." If these ETIs decide our carbon-crazed society is out of control, Domogal-Goldman argues, they may resort to drastic measures to curb it.
It's a compelling notion, but it doesn't stand up to scrutiny. Given that the aforementioned aliens are so concerned for the welfare of our planet's other inhabitants – birds, trees, polar bears – we must assume they're a benign bunch. So surely they're not going to want to wipe out any newly discovered species if they can possibly avoid it, least of all humans. They may kidnap a few of us, put us in cages, and test potentially harmful cosmetics on us. But genocide? We're far too interesting for that. We have opposable thumbs, for heaven's sake!
Even if the aliens' technology is sufficient to a) visit Earth, and b) kill all humans without also killing birds, trees and polar bears, these technological feats must have been achieved without the use of fossil fuels – otherwise how could they assume the moral high ground? Surely the simplest solution, not to mention the cheapest, would be for them to show us how best to harness nuclear, solar, wind and/or wave power – or whatever other eco-friendly tricks they have up their sleeves. (If they have sleeves, which they might not.)
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By Tim Walker
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