A rise in the world’s population is having serious, negative effects on the environment. Some scientists believe that the only way to solve the problem is to set up a colony on the Moon. Others argue that the cost would be far too great and other solutions should be sought.
What is your opinion?
The environment is, of course, under serious threat, but the extent to which population growth is responsible may not be as great as some people claim. In fact there are many other factors such as the growth in big cities, pollution from traffic and manufacturing, and the destruction of rainforest that probably play a bigger role. It is questionable, therefore, how far a colony on the Moon would help solve the problem.
One of the most serious threats to the global ecosystem is the destruction of the rainforests with an area the size of Europe disappearing every year. And this is largely due to large companies in their pursuit of profit. Indeed, whilst international logging companies claim to use on average 10 percent of the species of trees that make up the rainforest, that 10 percent of species constitute about 90 percent of the volume.
Naturally, if the world’s population was not as large, the demand for wood would be considerably reduced, which would support setting up a colony on the Moon. But even if the colony was set up how many people in reality, would relocate? Even if the number ran into tens of thousands the actual effect on the world’s population would be minimal. Indeed, we only need to consider how many people were killed during the two world wars, which ran into millions, to support this claim. Instead, the cost should be transferred into the development of sustainable economies.
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Take, for instance, the growth of big cities that consume land at an enormous rate, and that rely on transport and essential services that devastate the environment. If people were to revert to living in small semi self-contained communities, many of the problems experienced by big cities could be avoided. It would even be beneficial for the economy because it would promote the development of small, family run businesses.
At the end of the day, to claim that setting up a colony on the Moon would help to solve the issue of environmental damage is to close our eyes to the causes of the damage. In short, it could potentially turn out to be a very costly exercise with few real benefits.